The driving force behind Selnet – the Social Enterprise Lancashire Network – has been awarded one of the first Honorary Fellowships of the national body, Social Enterprise UK.
The Honorary Fellowships were awarded to 15 outstanding sector leaders who have taken their own organisations from strength to strength but also play a large part in shaping, guiding and championing the social enterprise movement as a whole. Recognising those who have contributed to creating a diverse, thriving and truly impactful community of businesses, the Fellowships celebrate key individuals who are making great strides to drive the sector forwards now.
Selnet Chief Executive Liz Tapner was named along with the leaders in the social enterprise world alongside the founder of the Big Issue magazine, Lord John Bird, and Sophi Tranchell MBE of pioneering Fairtrade company Divine Chocolate.
Since joining Selnet over 10 years ago, Liz has grown the organisation from a small project to a major body which represents and supports the social enterprises that operate across Lancashire.
Liz led Selnet in securing a £9.2m project called Building Better Opportunities, funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund where a partnership of 64 organisations are helping the most vulnerable in society to be more resilient and closer to the world of work.
Social Enterprise UK is a national body which regularly has the ear of government to advise them on issues within the sector and, as it has been running for 15 years, has appointed 15 honorary fellows.
Speaking of her appointment, Liz said: “It is a huge honour for me personally and a great testament to the work that we achieve here in Lancashire. My job is to secure and manage contracts, but I get my satisfaction from seeing the work being undertaken by the social enterprises that we represent who are helping people when they need it most.
“I am supported by a fantastic board of directors drawn from social enterprises across Lancashire and have an amazing team working with me.
“And we don’t work in isolation – our projects are often delivered in partnership, particularly with Lancashire County Council, the LEP, local authorities and funding bodies nationally and across Europe.”
It’s a view echoed by the chair of the board, Graham Jones from Bootstrap Enterprises, based in Blackburn. He said: “When you think of social enterprise in Lancashire, you think of Liz Tapner. She has put her heart and her soul into the job and the board is delighted that she has been recognised on the national stage by Social Enterprise UK.
“Liz is undoubtedly one of the main reasons why Selnet has been so successful over the last 10 years and we’re delighted to have her at the helm.”