KEIGHLEY is bidding to win social enterprise town status.

Achieving the recognition could provide a massive boost to the town, generating investment and creating jobs.

Currently, there are fewer than three dozen communities across the whole of the UK with the so-called Social Enterprise Place accreditation.

As a step to earning the status, from Social Enterprise UK, towns have to demonstrate "significant" activity already and have a steering group in place.

If a bid is successful, support is provided to develop markets locally and nationally – involving councils, businesses, charities, consumers and budding social entrepreneurs.

A major campaign is now under way in the town.

Keighley Big Local, on the back of supporting 13 social enterprises and new businesses, is promoting the push for accreditation.

And the drive is gaining momentum – with Keighley College, the town council, Keighley Healthy Living, Keighley Creative and MP Robbie Moore among those on board.

Also giving its backing is Participate, which provides a range of support to help people start and develop social ventures.

Shaun O'Hare, of Keighley Big Local, said: "Social enterprises in the town are doing things ranging from reclaiming wood to sending satellites into space – but they all share the belief of working to make Keighley the best place it can be.

"They are finding solutions to social and environmental issues.

"The campaign is growing and becoming stronger."

Mr Moore said he was proud to be supporting the bid.

He added: "We have a thriving social enterprise movement happening already.

"Securing this status will cement that legacy and help us to build on the many social enterprises that Keighley has to offer.

"Praise must be given to Rachel Rickards of Participate and Shaun O’Hare, amongst many other people, for being the driving force behind this bid."

Town mayor, Councillor Julie Adams, said: "The town council is pleased to be supporting the application for Keighley to become a social enterprise town.

"Keighley has over 30 social enterprises working right across the community.

"And the town council, through our Town Plan, will support expansion of social enterprises wherever possible."

A special video outlining the campaign has been produced – it can be viewed at

Keighley College principal Steve Kelly says: "Social enterprise status helps promote organisations and companies, gaining funding so they can provide investment and jobs for the future.

"It also promotes working in partnership between the private, public and volunteer sectors and community groups to make a positive difference in the lives of the people that they serve and work with."

Rachael Rickards adds: "Becoming a social enterprise town will make Keighley the kind of place where all these people with ideas can get together. They can share, collaborate and come-up with new exciting ways of working."

Lisa Holmes, of Keighley Photo Hub, is also supportive. She says: "Becoming a social enterprise town would help create an ethos about what we want to focus on in Keighley – which is community and bringing everyone together, embracing the diversity and culture we have here."