Official Launch

Star Social Firm Quality MarkThe Star Social Firm Quality Standard was launched on 5th February 2008 at Mary Ward House in central London. The building was the home of Mary Ward, the unsung hero of social reform. Many people believe that the modern social welfare system is based on her aspirations.

During the launch we celebrated:

The Star Social Firm awards were presented by Nigel Kershaw, CEO of Big Invest and Chair of the Big Issue in his first engagement as a newly appointed Social Enterprise Ambassador.

Letter Of Support From The Prime Minister

While the Prime Minister is unable to attend the launch on 5 February 2008, he sent the following message of support via his diary secretary, Leeanne Johnston:

"12 November 2007

Dear Ms Reynolds

The Prime Minister has asked me to thank you for your letter of 23 October inviting him to the launch of the Ethical Quality Mark on 5 February 2008.

The Prime Minister was grateful for the invitation to help launch this new standard and its symbol, but very much regrets that existing diary commitments that day mean it is not possible for him to join you. I am sorry to have to send a disappointing reply, but the Prime Minister has asked me to pass on to you and all concerned his good wishes for an enjoyable and successful event.

Yours sincerely

Leeanne Johnston
Diary Secretary
10 Downing Street"

Letter Of Support From Phil Hope, Minister For The Third Sector

Although Phil Hope was also unable to attend, we were able to print his message of support shown below in our souvenir programme:

“As Minister for the Third Sector, and as someone with a real interest in growing a quality social enterprise sector, I am sorry I am unable to be with you today at the launch of the Star Social Firm Quality Standard.

The growth of our social enterprise sector and, in particular that of Social Firms, in the last few years has been very encouraging and it is of no surprise that many nations look to the UK when considering the development of their own social enterprise sectors. I firmly believe that to grow a strong economy the quality of goods, services, approaches and behaviors is vital. This is equally true of the social enterprise sector which is becoming an increasingly important part of our lives. Personally I’m delighted to see that Social Firms UK is leading the way on quality with the launch of the Star Social Firm Quality Standard: the first quality mark in the social enterprise sector.

Today you are honouring the first five Social Firms to achieve Star Social Firm status and no doubt they will be the first of many. Interestingly the values that underpin the Star Social Firm are ones that, I feel sure, the rest of the social enterprise can subscribe too and I hope we will see many Stars among Social Firms in the future.

Our Thanks Also To...

We were delighted that Jonathan Bland CEO Social Enterprise Coalition,
Nigel Kershaw and Nat Hardwick, Managing Director of SFEDI were able to join us on the platform at the launch. Jonathan Bland spoke on Promoting Quality in the Social Enterprise Sector and SFEDI on Working in Partnership to Raise Standards in the Social Enterprise Sector

Our celebration of the new Star Social Firm quality standard was further enhanced by the ‘wow factor’ lunch provided by Scotch Bonnet Catering, an emerging Social Firm