University of Northampton’s Wray Irwin accepts award from Her Majesty the Queen in ceremony held at Buckingham Palace

Date 16.11.2015

Wray Irwin, Head of the University’s Centre for Employability and Engagement, received the Queen’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Enterprise Promotion during a royal reception held on Monday at Buckingham Palace.

The prestigious Queen’s Awards to Enterprise are given to companies and individuals who are outstanding in their field. The ceremony recognised 8 individuals and 162 corporations; 110 exporting companies won awards for International Trade, 39 for Innovation and 13 for Sustainable Development, benefitting the environment, society and the economy.

Wray, who was joined by Professor Simon Denny at the event, graciously accepted his award – an engraved crystal chalice – from Her Majesty the Queen. The reception was attended by ministers and royalty, including The Duke of Edinburgh who was interested to hear more about the work of the University of Northampton.

Wray received the award in recognition of his work over the last 20 years inspiring people to become more entrepreneurial and to set up sustainable enterprises or cooperatives.  His work with communities has been designed to develop and encourage them to take ownership and run their own community facilities as viable businesses for the benefit of local people, creating a positive social impact.

Since 2000 Wray has directly established and supported over 100 community enterprises designed to address social disadvantage including: homelessness; drug abuse; mental illness; and youth unemployment.

Wray was also instrumental in the establishment of the University of Northampton’s credit union for staff and students.

Speaking about his honour, Wray said: “I am extremely proud to have been awarded Queen’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Enterprise Promotion. I believe that working with people to identify an entrepreneurial way to influence or solve a social issue can have a wide reaching positive impact. Over the years, I have been lucky to have worked with really inspirational people who have developed innovative solutions to social problems. More recently supporting students of the University such as Suzi Rees who has created a social enterprise, iDID Adventure, which supports adults with disabilities to build resilience through adventure sports.”