It was standing room only as Rinova celebrated its fifth anniversary during the evening of the 3rd September at the House of St Barnabas in Soho Square, London.

The event marked a dual celebration, since as well as celebrating Rinova’s 5th anniversary of its formation in September 2010, it was also an opportunity for guests to join Rinova’s founder, Rick Parkes, in celebrating his personal milestone of 21 years in business.

More than 130 partners and colleagues enjoyed an evening of networking, ‘mingling’, music and merriment.  The guest list joining Rinova’s staff team included the company’s current network of associates and partners in London, as well as former colleagues who had worked for Rick during his ownership of his previous company (Prevista). We were also delighted to welcome guests from Rinova’s European partnerships, including colleagues from Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Croatia, Slovakia, Greece, Estonia, Poland, Slovenia, Portugal, Cyprus and Denmark.

Speakers, including Vincenzo Pellegrini from Mulab in Italy, George Petrou from Dimitra in Greece and Manoj Ambasna from Collage Arts in London – which is also celebrating its own 30-year anniversary – shared their stories of having worked with Rinova since its establishment and with its founder for some years before.

From Rinova, Rick Parkes (pictured speaking, right) talked about his belief in the critical role of partnerships, both locally and globally, to foster socal, cultural and economic development and to create opportunities for those who often miss out.

He announced that the company was now an affiliate of the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), and was in the process of establishing a new Employee Benefit Trust for all of its staff at Rinova.  He said “After building and ulitmately selling my previous company, creating Rinova as a social enterprise became a new passion; one where all of those who worked for it had a personal stake in the way we work with partners – a la John Lewis.  We have been working with the EOA in recent months to make this a reality and I’m delighted we are now ready to create the Trust for all our staff to join.”

He also annouced that, from October, he would be starting a full-time PhD, reflecting on the practice and experience of his business years – but that he would continue to take a keen interest in the company’s partners’ needs and to support the Rinova staff team. He said: “It doesn’t seem like 5 minutes ago, let alone 5 years, since we started our new social enterprise in Hammersmith.  So much has happened and has been achieved in that time – it has been a bit of a whirlwind!”

He added: “We started Rinova in the most unfriendly of business conditions – at a time of financial crisis, fierce austerity and massive public expenditure reductions in our field – but we also had a real passion to work to tackle the emerging scandal of youth unemployment, and to make new and innovative contributions in social, economic and cultural development.  It is a real testimony to the staff team at Rinova that despite this climate, we have been able to build so many new partnerships and create so many new programmes of work and continue the best of the practice that was built up over the years.

We had a great night – it was such a privelege to host everyone at our celebration and get together with so many of our partners and colleagues – there was a real feeling of connectivity between so many of the people there – from times gone by through to our current times.”

We have produced an album of photographs from the evening, which you can view via the Facebook tab on our website home page.