Award-winning UK social enterprise rescued from the brink of collapse
24 February 2020 at 3:16 pm
The social enterprise has helped visually-impaired people work since 1854
One of the UK’s oldest social enterprises has been saved from collapse after a deal was struck to protect the charity’s 85 employees.
Clarity – Employment for Blind People, has been acquired out of administration by Clarity Products Limited, a company specifically formed to buy the charity. This company is part of the South African engineering group MEWA.
The social enterprise – which makes cleaning products – was founded in 1854 to give visually impaired people an opportunity in the workplace.
But despite a loyal customer base, Clarity has struggled with financial pressures in recent years, leading it to enter administration at the end of January.
This new deal will allow it to maintain its current staff – around 80 per cent of whom have a disability – and continue to operate as a social enterprise.
Philip Reynolds, partner at administrators FRP, said it was great Clarity could continue to offer employment security for visually impaired people and other people with disability.
“Importantly this deal secures that community by saving jobs and guaranteeing future employment for a significant number of people, while also enabling the trustees to meet their obligation to maximise returns for creditors,” Reynolds said.
In a statement, Clarity’s board of trustees said they were pleased that a new and committed owner has been found for the charity.
“We are delighted that Clarity has a future and that both 166 years of history and innovation can be continued in a new entity, for the benefit of our beneficiaries, our customers and the wider market,” the board said.
Based in London, Clarity manufactures everyday household and cleaning products in an eco-friendly way. In 2017, Clarity received a PwC Social Entrepreneurs Club Award.
Clarity Products Limited’s sole director, Nicholas Marks, said he was excited to see what the future held for the social enterprise.
“We are pleased to have acquired a business that has a great history of providing social enterprise support to the community and look forward to working closely with the team as we work together to take Clarity onto the next stage of its journey,” Marks said.