Scottish social enterprises benefit from Firstport funding

March 20, 2015

Over £80,000 has been awarded to social entrepreneurs today by Firstport, Scotland’s development agency for start-up social enterprise.

Alex Papanikolaou and the Freedom One Power Wheelchair Alex Papanikolaou and the Freedom One Power Wheelchair

From an enterprise providing specialist support for children impacted by trauma, to a newly designed power wheelchair that will allow wheelchair users to become more independent, 14 entrepreneurs benefitted from Start It and Build It awards distributed from Firstport’s Social Entrepreneur’s Fund.

Karen McGregor, Chief Executive of Firstport said: “Social enterprises play such an important role in supporting Scotland’s communities by tackling social, environmental and community issues and creating employment opportunities. And we are delighted to give these entrepreneurs the support they need to carry on this work.

“The enthusiasm for social entrepreneurship in Scotland keeps on growing. All over Scotland, we have uncovered talented and committed individuals working at grassroots level to improve the lives of their communities.”

Start It awards are for people who have an innovative business idea that tackles a range of different social issues within their communities. Budding entrepreneurs can apply for up to £5,000 of start-up costs to pilot their idea. 

Build It awards are for people who have already piloted their idea. Candidates can apply for up to £25,000 of funding and must demonstrate that their enterprise can generate income and deliver strong social outcomes. 

The successful social entrepreneurs are, by area:


Daryl Campbell - DC Records received £2,520 (Start It award)

DC records will provide a music recording service and opportunities for young musicians to create and sell music. It will also provide a platform for young people to showcase their talents through gigs and offer opportunities to perform live. The enterprise will support young people in the east and north of Glasgow to build their confidence and experience in order to break into the music industry. 

Andrene Cox - Active Memories received £2,300 (Start It award)

Active Memories works with people with dementia or frail elderly people. Activities use proven stimulus techniques to help improve quality of life for the client group. The workshops include an hour of reminiscence therapy, incorporating pre-organised topics of the client’s choice. Workshops can be carried out in large groups or on a one to one basis. In addition, workshops will be offered to young people and family members to teach them how to engage and interact with people with dementia. 

Alison Urie – Vox Liminis received £16,000 (Build It award)

Vox Liminis uses the power of music-making to help offenders and their families develop new ways to think differently about themselves, their relationships with others and their future place in society. By making rich and meaningful connections between the arts and prison life, Vox Liminis cuts through tired perceptions of rehabilitation. Often for the first time, people connect emotionally with themselves then others as they discover their own voice.


Claire Murray - Emotion Works received £20,000 (Build It award)

Emotion Works develops and provides educational resources and training to adults who work with and care for children. They help to identify what children require from adults at different ages and stages of development to help them acquire emotional understanding and competencies that contribute to their emotional wellbeing. 


Bruce Alexander – Garrapat received £3,500 (Start It award)

Garrapat is an easy to use device for the removal of ticks and early detection and successful treatment of Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a growing public health problem in the UK. Many people don't realise they have the illness until it has reached its chronic/untreatable stage which can lead to a lifetime of debilitating symptoms. This device will allow someone bitten by a tick to quickly find out if they've been infected and then begin treatment which can cure the illness. 

James Mackale - Care at Home Support Group received £3,250 (Start It award)

Care at Home Support Group provides home care services for people with additional support needs and mental health issues. The business will operate in Midlothian and Edinburgh and services will include personal care, financial and social support and practical help around the home. Clients will range from 18 years of age through to the elderly. 

Alasdair Taylor - Earth for Life received £15,000 (Build It award)

Earth for Life aims to help people gain the many health & lifestyle benefits of exploring, caring for and playing in the natural environment through educational workshops, courses and special events for children, adults, families, schools and communities. They aim to bring people closer to nature, themselves and each other through environmental education. 


Barbara Godden - CairnsMoir Connections received £2,590 (Start It award)

CairnsMoir Connections will provide specialist books, resources and peer support to families living and working with children impacted by trauma. This includes adoptive, foster and kinship carers and the professionals working with these families. This idea will offer a one stop shop for information and resources. They will also signpost people to one on one support and will facilitate the creation of peer support groups for families.


Shelley Booth - Lifestyle Intervention received £2,200 (Start It award)

Lifestyle Intervention is a health and wellbeing social enterprise that will address Dundee's health inequalities through a range of physical and educational activities. They will work with some of the most disadvantaged individuals and families in Dundee to help them tackle long- term health conditions and address unhealthy lifestyle choices. 


Nicole Heidtke - Digital Work Floor received £1,886 (Start It award)

The Digital Work Floor will provide a community resource for training and making traditional arts crafts with digital technology. The enterprise will target elderly people and offer free workshops to help address loneliness and isolation. Young people will be encouraged to use the service and will be given information on setting up their own business. 


Stephen McDougal - Community Music & Media received £3,587 (Start It award)

Community Music & Media is a social enterprise targeting young people aged 18 to 25 who want to be involved in the entertainment and music industry. Emerging and unsigned artists will be given the opportunity to perform alongside internationally recognised artists in order for them to gain experience and get their music heard. The enterprise will also offer community based music lessons and radio workshops. Additionally, opportunities will be offered to young people who want to develop skills involved in organising and staging live performances. 


Linda McLachlan - Soul Soup received £2,500 (Start It award)

Soul Soup is a social enterprise counselling service operating in Dumfries for young people aged 12 to 25. The service will include a drop in centre, referrals, self referrals or a telephone and text service and will target young people experiencing problems such as eating disorders, LGBT issues and self-harm. The need for the service was identified through conversations with schools, the youth enquiry service and Young Carers service.


Alex Papanikolaou - The Freedom One Power Wheelchair received £5,000 (Start It award)

The Freedom One Wheelchair is a newly designed power wheelchair that better meets the needs of disabled people who would like to be more independent. The enterprise will manufacture and sell power wheelchairs. The main target group is 18 to 35 year olds who are exploring life, ambitious, want to work, travel, socialise and have fun.

Dotto Nalukala - Pamoja Events and Entertainments received £2,500 (Start It award)

Pamoja Events and Entertainments, is a social enterprise that offers training and employment to women from the black, minority and ethnic community (BME). A city wide programme of events will offer volunteering and work opportunities and the enterprise will also offer social activities and entertainment to BME families who are often isolated and experiencing stress and mental health issues.