Sara’s Blog: A special honour for the Chamber in the first King’s Awards

Sara Williams Headshot

It is a well-known adage that a society should be judged not by how it treats the most advantaged but by how it treats the least advantaged. And I think it is fair to say that the Chamber community makes every effort to look after, and provide opportunities for, those with least advantage.

So, you can imagine how delighted and incredibly excited I am to announce that we have received The King’s Award for Promoting Opportunity.

This prestigious award specifically recognises social mobility programmes that help people from disadvantaged backgrounds, into successful working lives.

Those of you who know me, and Staffordshire Chambers well, will know that our focus is on community and the belief that business is the bedrock of that community.

And so, I must thank the whole Chamber community, members, patrons, board, council and forum members, our team, stakeholders, and partners. You have all won this award!

Our businesses employ people, empower people, educate people and work within the community to ensure opportunity for everyone, especially the most disadvantaged and vulnerable and I am proud that Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce is at the heart of this.

This direction comes from our Board of Directors based on their own forward looking and inclusive business cultures within their organisations.

And I think most, if not all our members, give of their time and resources to support the community in some way through volunteering, fundraising, mentoring, providing opportunities to the disadvantaged and countless other ways.

And of course, the fantastic team at the Chamber have always embraced this culture of inclusivity and gone above and beyond what is expected to ensure we deliver on inclusivity.

We were the first Chamber nationally to establish a Social Value Forum as a place to develop and extend the impact of the social value agenda across Staffordshire. The forum is made up of partners from across public, private and third sector who are looking to promote social value and corporate social responsibility and it has been key to influencing and developing initiatives aimed at the more vulnerable communities due to partners knowledge of, and the support they can offer to, those who are most in need.

Our Boosting Women in Business programme, which empowers women to take back control of their lives through self-employment and the Positive Pathways scheme, which helps refugees into employment and self-employment, are just two examples of targeted tailored support to groups that we feel need that extra support in building confidence and obtaining the skills to be able to start a business which will then provide for them whilst fitting around their lifestyle needs.

Both schemes have helped create dozens of new businesses and the support does not stop there. We then encourage and nurture theses businesses by bringing them into the membership at a subsidised rate to enable them to build their networks and take advantage of all the membership benefits aimed at making business simpler.

If you would like to get involved with our Social Value Forum or find out more about what they get up to, perhaps by attending the next meeting please contact Sarah Colclough:

And once again – well done and thank you to you all!

If you want to talk to us about any business issues, including funding, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or email:

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