Over £100k awarded to Scottish Social Enterprises in last five months of 2014

December 18, 2014

Firstport awarded over £100,000 to new-start social enterprises in the last five months of 2014. From the Scottish Borders to the Highlands, 29 entrepreneurs benefitted from Start It awards distributed from Firstport’s Social Entrepreneur’s Fund.

The Start It awards are for people who have innovative business ideas that tackle a range of different social issues within their communities, from providing social care for vulnerable young people to promoting healthier lifestyles.

Karen McGregor, Chief Executive of Firstport said: “We are delighted that the enthusiasm for social entrepreneurship in Scotland keeps on growing. From the Scottish Borders to the Highlands, we have uncovered talented and committed individuals working at grassroots level to improve the lives of communities across Scotland. 

“These budding social entrepreneurs are setting up projects and ventures that tackle pressing social issues and we are proud to play a part in getting these new ventures off the ground”.

The successful social entrepreneurs are, by area:


Amanda MacTaggert – Wig Bank (Glasgow) received £3,05O
The Wig Bank provides wigs to women who have been diagnosed with cancer. A key aim of the idea is to provide emotional support for women struggling with breast cancer through setting up supportive networks. 

Sarah Bolland – Coffee and Craic (Glasgow) received £5,000
A community cafe based in Finnieston, Glasgow, which aims to promote Gaelic culture through running workshops and classes.  Sarah’s main social aim is to promote Gaelic language and culture in Glasgow, and she plans to build the cafe into a thriving creative and educational hub. As a functioning community cafe, the enterprise will have further benefits in reducing social isolation for parents with young families, and for older Gaelic speakers who will benefit from specialised coffee mornings.

Julia Martin – In Bloom (Glasgow) received £3,900
A Glasgow based contemporary, creative magazine showing a snapshot of youth culture and capturing the freshest talent in music, fashion, art, literature and photography. The business aims to target similar people who have talent but lack financial backing to break into the industry through the standard route of unpaid internships. The majority of content will be created with assistance from young people, enabling them to build portfolios and obtain vital experience. 

Eilidh McKay – The Project Cafe (Glasgow) received £3,600
The cafe is a community hub and platform for creative exchange with workshops, events and training opportunities.  

Sophie Steele – Treemendus (Glasgow) received £3,750
Treemendus specialises in upcycling furniture, delivering classes, and providing training/employment opportunities for long-term unemployed young people.

Gillian Orr - The Factory Cafe (Glasgow) received £3,750
A community cafe based in WASPs artist studios in Dennistoun, catering to artists and visitors, and providing arts workshops, volunteering and employment opportunities, with a focus on assisting people with a history of mental health difficulties. 

David Ball - Clyde Electronics (Glasgow) received £4,800
An electronics manufacturing business which also acts as a training, research and development centre. The primary aim is to open up opportunities within engineering and to give young people the chance to get into the industry at entry level, and learn practical, useful skills which will encourage confidence, creativity and innovation. 

Sarah Longfield – See Think Make (Glasgow) received £2,500
Accredited arts award that inspires young people to grow their arts and leadership talents. Many young people from challenging backgrounds aren’t encouraged or don’t have the opportunity to participate in art based, creative learning. See Think Make aims to tackle that issue and will offer the programme in schools. 


Danielle Trudeau – Tribe Porty (Edinburgh) received £3,400
A community hub in Portobello that will offer access to space, technology and other tools and equipment to support people to learn, connect and get involved in community activity.

Sandra Feather – CATCH (Edinburgh) received £2,670
A community based art psychotherapy service for children and young people in Edinburgh with mental health needs. Art psychotherapy has proved to be really effective in helping young people deal with a range of challenges. CATCH will compliment what is currently offered by the NHS CAMS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). 

Graeme Allison – Photobility (Edinburgh) received £3,694
Photobility aims to work with disabled members of the community who find it hard to gain and/or maintain employment. Graeme hopes initially to provide placements and mentoring, with the possibility of leading to employment, but believes that the key outcome will be improving skills and confidence and reducing isolation. 

Rona McBrierty – Realising Resourcefulness and Possibilities (Edinburgh) received £3,000
The social enterprise delivers Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) training.  WRAP is a self management tool initially devised to empower people with mental illness but which is now used with a range of vulnerable groups. WRAP is an evidence based tool that was devised in the US.  A small number of facilitators operate in Scotland in the mental health support sector. Rona and her partners will deliver the programme to a wide range of vulnerable groups including young people. 


Gary Cornelius – Rapport (Stirlingshire) received £4,940
An innovative new product using a range of home sensors to assist vulnerable people, especially those suffering from dementia. The system will help both those with dementia as well as alerting carers or family members.

Andrew Japp - Future Soccer Stars (Stirlingshire) received £4,099
A structured, fun, educational and physical activity programme for children aged 2-7 based on football coaching.  The sessions also use tried and tested coaching methods to teach children (and parents) about a range of subjects, including healthy lifestyles, communication, word association etc.  Targeting such a young age group also increases the likelihood of successfully instilling positive messages.

Meg Amasi – Trendy Tribes (Stirlingshire) received £1,950
Trendy Tribes will provide training, employment and social activities for isolated women in the Forth Valley (initially Falkirk).  Through the creation and sale of authentic ethnic crafts and fashion items, Trendy Tribes will encourage women, particularly those from minority groups, to improve their life chances, learn about self employment, make new friends and gain new transferrable skills.  

Sally Shaw – All Ears (Stirlingshire) received £2,050
A social venture that promotes and advises on assistive technologies for people with hearing loss. The first aim is to make it easier for people affected by hearing loss to find solutions that help them to listen and participate. The second aim is to help services and businesses interact better with their customers/service users/employees who are hard of hearing.


Paul Parmenter – The Workshop (Perth & Kinross) received £4,000
Workshop to train young people in technical and practical manufacturing skills in an area where there is a lack of employment and training opportunities.  Paul is also keen to involve skilled retired people to help with the training, who might otherwise become isolated.


Becky Little – RebEARTH (Fife) received £4,578
RebEARTH is devoted to promoting and developing earth building in Scotland by reviving traditional skills and encouraging sustainable construction. Raising awareness of sustainable earth-build construction techniques has environmental benefits. Projects completed to date have strengthened communities and provided low-cost community resources. 

Jane Saunders – Community Cafe (Fife) received £4,100
A community cafe that provides a welcoming social space for both parents and children where they can interact together in positive ways.  There are innovative plans to provide play schemes where children will be entertained, but parents must stay on site.  This allows parents to work, catch up on emails, or have some quiet time.  

Michelle Ratcliffe - Krabbie Patties IntraCaf (Fife) received £4,800
A community internet cafe providing a much needed space for the Buckhaven Community, with a particular focus on young people.  The cafe will also provide computer facilities as well as recreational equipment – e.g. table football, pool table and provide a safe, welcoming space.  Inclusion and building intergenerational relationships will be an important part of the cafe.


James Swann – Perceptive Action (Peebles) received £3,500
An activity based after school childcare provision in Peebles, aimed at 5-15 year olds.  Social benefits are high as the rural area of Peebles has no after school childcare provision other than private nurseries (that only cater for younger children). This service will bridge the gap when schools close at midday on Friday.

Lisa MacLeod – Lee Marcey Events (Scottish Borders) received £2,966
This entertainment and events social enterprise will offer training and volunteering to people who are excluded from employment.  It will also give residents in the Borders access to music and entertainment that is normally only available in Glasgow and Edinburgh.


Lynn Bell - Love Learning Scotland (North Lanarkshire) received £5,000
This is an innovative programme combining the social care of vulnerable young people with delivery of education, leading to accredited qualifications. The project-based approach enables participants to deal with issues that they have been referred for by other bodies e.g. managing tenancy, reducing anti-social behaviour. 

Donna Barrowman - Recovery in Practise (South Lanarkshire) received £3,700
Recovery in Practice seeks to facilitate recovery from mental ill health by providing good quality, inclusive opportunities to engage in activities proven to support and maintain positive mental health and well-being.


Jonas Marcius - Health and Wellbeing Education (Aberdeen) received £3,000
An enterprise providing free health and well-being workshops to school children and young people throughout Aberdeen. The main focus is on instilling positive messages in children, working on the principle that early intervention is key to adopting good patterns of behaviours. 


Lesley Compston - KLAS Care (Renfrewshire) received £4,800
KLAS Care will provide affordable, flexible childcare in an area with very little provision, with the aim of improving employment/training opportunities for parents. The flexibility of the service allows low-income parents to attend interviews/ad hoc events/maintain permanent paid employment.  They also plan to offer a range of innovative activities aimed at providing positive experiences for children.


Heather Royan - Babes in the Wood pre-loved boutique received £5,000
A pre-loved children’s boutique in Bishopbriggs recycling high quality but affordable baby and children’s goods rather than going to landfill. As well as reducing waste and benefitting the environment, this project will support low-income families in the area by enabling them to buy high-quality goods at a fraction of the retail price.


Grant Richmond - Dundee MakerSpace (Dundee) received £5,000
Dundee MakerSpace is a community workshop providing space and equipment to help nurture creative ideas and projects, particularly in technical areas, such as electronics and IT, and help guide them into successful businesses.


Callum Train – CamelTrain Ltd (Argyll and Bute) received £3,216
A social enterprise taxi service serving the Highlands and Islands (initially Argyll and Bute); specialising in long distance transfers for remote communities.  CamelTrain will serve the community in general. However, there will be a focus on providing transport to particularly isolated groups like older people and social groups who need to travel to take part in outdoor and other activities.


For further information please contact Fiona Holmes, Communications Officer, Firstport on 0131 220 0511 or Fiona@firstport.org.uk or Carol Stewart, Head of Communications on 0131 220 0511 or carol@firstport.org.uk