A service that supports adults with learning disabilities has been shortlisted for Britain’s best Heart of Gold business.

Nickel Support, in Carshalton, has been chosen as a finalist for the award, which recognises the small businesses that have achieved great things, at this year’s Small Awards.

The Small Awards is a nationwide search for the smallest and greatest firms across the UK.

It is organised annually by Small Business Britain, which champions, inspires and accelerates the nation’s 5.5 million small firms. 

Nickel Support was founded in 2012 by Nick Walsh and Elena Nicola and aims to support adults with learning disabilities to lead fulfilled lives.

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This includes providing training and paid employment opportunities through the company's retail project: Interestingly Different.

It has been selected as one of just ten finalists for the Heart of Gold category, for businesses that have a special impact on their local community.

The Small Awards celebrate the dynamism and resilience exhibited in the UK’s small business sector, across everything from sustainability heroes to digital stars, to long-standing family businesses.  

Michelle Ovens CBE, founder of Small Business Britain, said: “The Small Awards is all about celebrating the inspiring small business owners who are at the heart of the economy and their communities.

“They are an opportunity to recognise and applaud the passion and resilience of the nation’s small firms, particularly amidst such turbulent times.

“Nickel Support is extremely deserving of being shortlisted for this award and we can’t wait to celebrate with them in May.” 

Nickel Support’s Nick Walsh said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted for the Heart of Gold award as we feel so passionately about the work that we do to help adults with learning disabilities.

“We are so proud of our retail project, Interestingly Different, which not only showcases the amazing products our trainees make, but also sells products from other social enterprises working with adults with learning disabilities, or those from other marginalised groups.

“Being able to promote the work of other amazing causes, whilst also offering training and employment opportunities to our trainees is a joy and a privilege.

“We believe we are the right business to win this award because community is at the heart of everything we do, both geographically and within the social enterprise sector.

“We have proudly put purpose over profit.”

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The winner of all categories, including the Small Business of the Year award, will be announced in an award ceremony in London on May 16, 2024.

The ceremony will be held at St Mary’s Church in London, with plans underway for a night of entertainment, inspiration, and celebration for UK’s greatest small businesses.