Social enterprises across Wales have scooped prestigious awards for making a difference to lives and communities over the past 12 months.

The annual 2022 Social Business Wales Awards marked the ninth year of the ceremony, which saw prizes awarded to nine social enterprises and social entrepreneurs from across the country.

Here at Groundwork North Wales, we were awarded the prize for Environmental Social Enterprise, with Karen Balmer CEO scooping the Women in Social Business award for overseeing the organisation’s development into one of the UK’s top-performing social enterprises.

Karen Balmer, CEO said: “We are thrilled to have been recognised for such a prestigious award and I am honoured to have been selected for the Women in Social Business award.  Groundwork North Wales’ strength rests in our people and in our approach. We strive to find joined up solutions to improve the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of our communities.”

Our projects have a strong environmental focus and last year 2,157 people engaged on projects to improve and conserve local green spaces, including tree planting, community clean-ups and up-cycling workshops. Recently we have also launched a new re-use centre in Buckley and a community fridge at Refurbs Flint where organisations and people can share their surplus food with others.

Karen Balmer, CEO, has overseen the organisation’s transformation from a grant-funded charity to a commercially-savvy social enterprise which has secured a top 100 status in the SE100 – an annual listing of the UK’s top 100 social enterprises – for three years running.

Emma Ellis, Group Funding Coordinator, said of Karen: “She has developed and empowered staff both through the example she sets and in the mentoring that she provides.

“Women are strongly represented in our senior team and their increasing passion to deliver and develop is a source of great pride. Karen’s passion about equity and diversity drives an inclusive culture throughout the organisation.”

Other winners included a credit union that managed to lend more money than ever to people during the cost-of-living crisis, an organisation which restores and recycles bicycles to encourage people to travel on two wheels, and a society that rescued a community’s only pub from closure.

The awards are part of the Social Business Wales programme delivered by Cwmpas, a development agency for economic and social change, and funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

Glenn Bowen, Director of Enterprise at Cwmpas, said: “Social enterprises embedded within their communities provide much needed support, services and jobs.”

“We have brilliant examples of businesses doing their bit to reduce the impact of climate change and reaching out to new members of the community through their equality, diversity and inclusion work. Congratulations to all our wonderful winners.”

To find out more about The Social Business Wales Awards and the 2022 winners visit . to find out more about Groundwork North Wales and how you can get involved visit