A SOCIAL enterprise which helps children, young people and adults with additional needs has picked up a prestigious award in its first year of operation.

Mahé Gladdon’s business, Jack in the Box, was a finalist in the Champions of Change Recognition Awards which are organised by UnLtd, a support charity for social entrepreneurs.

Jack in the Box is based in an incubation unit at Teesside University’s Victoria Building in Victoria Road, Middlesbrough.

It provides activities for children and adults with additional needs including physical disabilities, learning difficulties and autism.

Mahé was supported with a £4,000 award to help build and grow her business, after applying to the University’s £30,000 social entrepreneurship fund, made possible by a £25,000 grant from UnLtd.

The business has expanded and now employs 12 people and with 150 families on its books.

Its success was recognised at the Champions of Change Awards where Jack in the Box was named the first runner-up in the Outstanding Social Entrepreneur (Student or Recent Graduate) category.

Mahé, who studied BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise at Teesside University, said: “We’ve always tried to do things to the best of our ability and we’ve had some fantastic feedback from the families we work with, but to win an award on a national level is excellent.

“It’s lovely to be able to get that recognition.”

*Jack in the Box is organising a family fun day on Monday 26 August at the Noah’s Ark Family Centre at Thornaby Methodist Church from 11.00am to 3.00pm.

Activities include soft play, face painting, bouncy castle, raffle, tombola and stalls. Admission is £4.95 per family.