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Leading Lives Scoops Employee Owner of the Year

Leading Lives Scoops Employee Owner of the Year

Social care provider, Leading Lives, has beaten off stiff competition from employee owned businesses around the UK in the annual Employee Ownership Awards held in Birmingham.  Lucy Humphrey, Chair of the organisation’s 100% employee owned Board, received the Employee Owner of the Year award for her personal contribution to developing a culture of employee ownership.

The Employee Owner of the Year award celebrates an individual who has done the most to promote and develop employee ownership inside an employee owned organisation.

The awards are made by the Employee Ownership Association, the body that represents businesses owned totally or significantly by staff, in a ceremony attended by over 600 delegates that takes place during a gala dinner at their annual conference.  The employee owned sector is growing at 10% per annum and the economic contribution of employee ownership in the UK is significant and is growing with employee owned businesses delivering £30bn equating to 4% of UK GDP annually.

Leading Lives is a 100% employee owned social enterprise that provides social care support in the home and in the community for 1500 people across Suffolk. Mrs Humphrey is a Locality Manager for Leading Lives in Ipswich, managing a range of services and also an elected member and Chair of the employee board. 

The award recognised how she has driven a culture of employee ownership, encouraging colleagues to engage with governance through the Board and newly created staff forum, Team Links.  She has instigated and lead a review of governance amongst employees which has resulted in the Board being more representative and also more resilient to respond to the challenges the business faces and also changes to the election process to make it easy for people across a multi-site business to participate.

Receiving the award, Lucy Humphrey said: “I am proud to win this award, it’s a privilege to work for an employee owned co-operative business and social enterprise like Leading Lives.  To have the chance to develop the membership engagement has been a great opportunity for me personally and developing employee ownership is something I feel passionate about. Without the support and mentoring I have received within Leading Lives this award would have been out of reach, so thank you to Leading Lives for making this possible.”

Leading Lives Managing Director, Tony Carr said: “We are all extremely proud of Lucy receiving national recognition through the UK Employee Ownership Awards and it is to her great credit that she has received this award. Employee ownership was selected, by our staff as the most appropriate governance structure as it brings front line colleagues, who are in turn closest to our customers, into the strategic running of the business.  It also gives employees a greater personal and collective responsibility for how the business performs. It was felt that our own employees were best placed to take the important strategic decisions to drive the business forward.”

Last year, Leading Lives won Heath and Social Care Social Enterprise of the Year in the Social Enterprise UK Awards.  The organisation employees over 500 people across Suffolk providing social care to people with complex needs.

For more information, please contact Brigit Parker, Marketing & Communications Manager on 01473 406777 or by email on

About Leading Lives

Leading Lives is an employee owned co-operative, owned by its staff ‘members’.  It is also a social enterprise which means that profits from the business are re-invested in the development of the enterprise and services for customers.  It provides social care for over 1,500 adults with learning disabilities, and other complex needs, in the home and in the community.

About Employee Ownership Association

The Employee Ownership Association (EOA) represents organisations which are employee owned or transitioning to employee ownership across the UK.

Most businesses that are moving into employee ownership or want to maximise the success of their employee owned business are Members of the EOA.  Membership levels have increased significantly in recent years.

The EOA is a not for profit and politically independent organisation that works in close partnership with its members to champion, promote and provide insight into the business case for employee ownership. Members benefit from unique learning, networking and trading opportunities across the network of diverse companies of all sizes and sectors.

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Leading Lives is an employee owned social enterprise providing a range of social care supports to adults with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, mental health issues and family carers across Suffolk and beyond.