Greenwich Leisure was named on Thursday as the overall winner of this year's Enterprising Solutions Awards run by the Social Enterprise Coalition at a ceremony at Waterloo's IMAX cinema.
This national award recognises and celebrates the best social and community enterprises – imaginative, entrepreneurial, sustainable businesses that are committed to social and, often, environmental change.
Greenwich Leisure Ltd was the first Leisure Trust, which paved the way for the 100 plus trusts now set up across the country. It is employee led and manages 45 leisure facilities in six boroughs across London with 210,000 members. GLL employs more than 3,000 staff and last year had an annual turnover of £35 million.
It promotes and raises participation levels in some of most deprived areas of the capital and is playing a key role in delivering the Olympics and building a legacy for London.
"This award is very important to us," says GLL managing director Mark Sesnan. "GLL wants to see the influence of social enterprise in the UK economy widen and deepen. The award recognises the hard work we have put into insuring our business growth and development, it marks our commitment to our customers and staff. The GLL model is an excellent example of how we can improve public service delivery using the social enterprise model."
Praising the efforts of all those involved in the awards, rural affairs minister Jim Knight added:
"The Enterprising Solutions Awards are an excellent way of showcasing successful solutions and inspiring others. I am pleased that Defra has been one of the sponsors again this year. I congratulate all the winners and am delighted that three of the five winners have sustainable development at the heart of their objectives."
Greenwich Leisure, which is based at Mezzanine2 at London Bridge, will receive a cash prize of £10,000. The company was recently named as the operator of Coin Street Community Builders' planned new leisure centre on the South Bank's Doon Street site.