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Best in the West: Bramley Baths and Seagulls Paint scoop top social enterprise awards

Two West Leeds social enterprises have scooped well-deserved Social Enterprise Yorkshire & Humber awards at a glittering ceremony in Halifax. Community reporter Josie Armitage was there to report on the successes of both Bramley Baths and Seagulls Paint.

I attended the annual SEYH Awards (Social Enterprise Yorkshire and Humber) evening of celebration on Thursday, 22 September as a trustee of nominated Bramley Baths.  

150 people attended the awards dinner and ceremony at The Shay Stadium in Halifax to celebrate the achievements of social enterprises over the past year. It was great to see so many great social enterprises sharing their amazing work and coming together to celebrate this.

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The awards are organised by SEYH who support existing and developing social enterprises in the Yorkshire and Humberside area, who are driven to tackle important social and environmental issues. The awards recognise and celebrate these organisations and showcase the breadth of work being done in the social enterprise sector in the region.  

Ali Ward, SEYH manager, said: “Social enterprises are a major force for good in our communities and throughout the pandemic they have gone above and beyond to support their communities.  

“We have been blown away by what some of the nominees have achieved in very difficult circumstances. The awards recognise organisations and individual entrepreneurs who play an important in tackling issues such as employment, reuse, health, wellbeing, and food poverty locally.”

The two nominated West Leeds social enterprises – Bramley Baths and Seagulls Paint – both won their awards.

Seagulls Paint, off Kirkstall Road, was nominated for the Environmental Award sponsored by Utility Aid. The judges commented that they “have a huge impact on the environment and their commitment, tenacity, innovation, creativity and dedication is what has enabled them to succeed.”

Cat Hyde, co-founder of Seagulls, welcomed the award. She said: “We are thrilled. It means a lot to us as it’s recognition for all our and our team’s hard work.

“Kate and I first thought of the idea of Seagulls over 20 years ago and wrote our first business plan around Kate’s kitchen table. It’s amazing to think we are still here and still collecting paint, having faced many challenges over the years, most recently Covid.

“Our belief that ‘one man’s rubbish is another’s gold’ is as true today as it was all those years ago. Seagulls provides valuable services to Leeds and we are very proud of all that we have achieved.”

Bramley Baths CEO David Wilford picks up the award at the ceremony in Halifax.

Bramley Baths was nominated for the Social Enterprise of the Year Award sponsored by Wrigleys. The judges commented that “there is clear evidence of senior leadership and the board working well together, particularly on strategic issues, and excellent links and working relationships with local and national organisations.”

David Wilford, Chief Executive of Bramley Baths said: “I want to thank everyone for this truly team effort. We value our staff and management team and our trustee board, who we work closely with. 70% of our team are under 24 which presents some challenges but gives us the opportunity to support them with professional development to further their careers. 

“We have worked tirelessly to get the Baths moving forwards and the future is looking bright. Financial stability has allowed us to concentrate on our work in the community and to increase our working with partners and vulnerable people.

“2023 will mark the tenth anniversary of the Baths being saved from closure and becoming independent from the council. We are looking to organise a number of community events to celebrate the landmark.”

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