Clarion Housing is inviting applications from social enterprises and entrepreneurs for the second year of its William Sutton Prize. Emma Hale, Grants Manager at Clarion explains the role William Sutton played in establishing Clarion Housing and the aims of the prize to celebrate his legacy.

Clarion Housing Group would not exist today without William Sutton, a 19th century entrepreneur who bequeathed his fortune to provide much-needed housing for the working poor in towns and cities across England. We launched The William Sutton Prize to celebrate his legacy and the spirit of innovation and philanthropy which have sat at the heart of our organisation for over a century.

As a business with a social purpose it has been exciting for Clarion to open up a new avenue to engage with the social enterprise sector outside of our traditional commissioning, grant or procurement routes. The Prize has seen a range of new relationships established with organisations who share our social mission and who’s forward thinking ambitions can help shape the services we deliver to residents.

2018 saw the inaugural round of the William Sutton Prize with 85 applications received across our two categories. The standout social mission and entrepreneurial spirit of our winners was clear and we were delighted to award £20,000 to Micro Rainbow and VeloCity.

Micro Rainbow for their proposal to expand the number of safe homes available to vulnerable LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees. And VeloCity whose vision is to redesign villages for the 21st century with higher density housing and a design that promotes an end to car dependency.

Both winners demonstrated how a social mission can drive innovative service delivery and design, a notion shared by Clarion and the wider Housing Association sector. With our roots steeped in Victorian entrepreneurial endeavours we are always looking for ways to support and invest in the change makers and entrepreneurs of the future.

The world is changing and we need to keep pace with the way communities are evolving and how our residents live their lives. The William Sutton Prize not only allows us to support some inspiring projects, it is a celebration of how innovation can be used for social good.

Following the success of the inaugural William Sutton Prize, we are delighted to be running the competition for a second year. For 2019 we are seeking applications from individuals or organisations presenting an innovative concept, product or service that will have a positive social impact on a community.

There is a prize fund of up to £20,000 on offer for each of the two categories, with the funding provided by Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group. The winning entries will be determined by a panel of industry experts led by Clare Miller, Group Chief Executive of Clarion.

The prize is a true celebration of our founding mission and the legacy of William Sutton. We look forward to receiving applications by 31 July 2019 and supporting a new generation of entrepreneurs to transform the lives and communities we serve.