Business Community Impact Award Finalists 2024

An award to honour an individual or group of individuals who have started and are still running a business, charity or social enterprise that has a made a significant positive impact on the lives of people within the Armed Forces community.

In partnership with Cisco.

Introducing the Finalists...

Brendan Williams, Founder and CEO of Building Heroes

Brendan has shown profound insight into the Armed Forces community’s ethos and the construction industry’s demands, merging the two environments in his successful development of the Building Heroes Education Foundation. With an emphasis on teamwork, problem-solving, and strategic planning, Brendan demonstrates how sectors can overlap to provide recruitment solutions.  

Building Heroes adheres to a ‘Recruit, Reskill, Redeploy’ mission, resonating deeply with the military community. He has effectively harnessed the transferable skills of military personnel and applied them to a critical skills gap in the construction industry. His approach in developing awareness across the military family and the consequent growth of a positive reputation for Building Heroes has ensured widespread access to the programme. 

Brendan’s commitment to providing barrier-free training leading to civilian qualifications mirrors the military’s standard of high-quality training and progression. Moreover, he has been instrumental in forging corporate partnerships to facilitate seamless transitions into civilian careers, proving the efficacy of his redeployment strategy.

During the last three years the network of provision has expanded to 13 regional centres. 
Couple this with the charity’s impact, evidenced by a 99% pass rate and 73% of graduates transitioning into employment or further training, alongside a significant social value of £21,000 per graduate, speaks volumes of Brendan’s dedication. 

e50K CIC

e50K is dedicated to reducing discrepancies between civilian and military life for Defence family members. Often these families face relocations, isolation, and inadequate communication, resulting in challenges in their life decisions. e50K strives to bridge this gap and empower communities by creating a network of projects that provide opportunities and further the government’s promise to ”ensure that all Armed Forces personnel and their families are treated equally”. 

The projects provide essential employability skills training and wellbeing programmes for the Defence community, delivered by a team with lived experience as military spouses, veterans, or both. This offers an in-depth understanding of the unique experiences faced by the community, and passion to make real change. 

Responding to a shortage in funding, e50K developed a practical business model, the e50K Strategic Advisory (SA). Through the Advisory business profits are channelled to Defence communities to sustain and enhance projects in the organisation, fostering a sense of genuine community ownership and delivering tangible benefits. 

In the last three years the e50K SA has grown from servicing one client to 19 employing five full-time staff and two part-time team members from the spouse community. In the last two years from this small team e50K SA has contributed approximately 10% of its turnover to Defence community projects.  

Veteran Retreat Club CIC

Founded by former Royal Engineer Bomb Disposal Corporal Karl Turner and his wife Lyndsay, Veteran Retreat Club CIC harnesses the invaluable lessons and skills acquired through military service to create resources of support and healing for veterans, with a deeply emotional connection inherent in their work. The retreats are not ‘nice-to do’ events; they’re profound journeys of healing, camaraderie, and reset. 
Karl and Lyndsay understand the struggles and sacrifices of military life first hand. They channel personal experiences into a space where veterans can find solace, understanding, and purpose by leaving rank at the door, talking openly, and engaging in holistic activities. Through outdoor events, therapeutic sessions, and peer support, veterans are empowered to reclaim their sense of agency and belonging as well as encouraged to step out of their comfort zone to acquire a new set of wellbeing tools. This has required fostering an environment of deep trust. 

Beyond the activities lies the heart of the mission: a commitment to fostering a community where no veteran feels alone or forgotten, and a celebration of the enduring strength of human spirit in harmony with the unbreakable bonds forged in service. Their struggles are understood, and they are never alone in their journey towards healing; living with purpose and passion. 

Congratulate the finalists and join in with our celebrations on social media: #SoldieringOnAwards

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