The chief executive of Coventry University’s first research social enterprise Hope For The Community CIC has been named among the 100 most inspirational women leaders in social enterprise who are standing up to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gabriela Matouskova was named among the Natwest WISE 100 for 2020 for her exceptional leadership of Hope For The Community in supporting people with long-term health conditions during the national lockdown in 2020.
The NatWest WISE100 (Women in Social Enterprise 100) is a platform connecting women in social enterprise, enabling them to learn from and inspire each other, discover collaboration opportunities and ultimately increase their social impact.
Gabriela’s nomination made it a double celebration for Hope For The Community, which was recognised on the UK Social Enterprise Roll of Honour for its work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company received the recognition in November at Social Enterprise Futures, an event that was organised by Social Enterprise UK and addressed by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
The Roll of Honour acknowledges individuals and businesses that have demonstrated the strength, passion, and resilience which exemplifies the social enterprise sector over the course of an extremely challenging year.
Since March, Hope For The Community has supported 1,500 people living with physical or mental conditions and their carers across the UK and abroad. The company has been working with around a dozen partners including Macmillan Cancer Support, Carers Trust, Coventry University, and NHS England, as well as volunteers to improve the mental well-being of people.
Hope For The Community was co-founded in 2015 by Coventry University professor of Health and Life Sciences, Andy Turner, and four community members. It was launched with support from CU Social Enterprise, a Coventry University spin-out which provides a range of services to start-ups including training, mentoring, and direct funding opportunities.
Gabriela Matouskova, CEO of Hope For The Community, said: ‘I am very grateful and proud to have made it on this year’s WISE 100 list alongside many inspirational women. Growing Hope For The Community CIC has been a difficult but rewarding challenge and I am excited that we have been named on the Roll of Honour in recognition of our work in the pandemic. But there is still more to do; 2021 and the third lockdown increased the need to provide meaningful digital mental health and well-being even further. Collaboration will be key this year to support more people with our Hope Programme. We are grateful to our partners, funders, and volunteers.’
Natalie Smith, Coventry University’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, said: ‘We are delighted that Gabriela and Hope For The Community CIC have been recognised for the amazing work during the COVID-19 outbreak and that we are able to use our research expertise to support and strengthen the Hope Programme as Hope For The Community CIC continues to grow.’