Scottish communities benefit from the latest round of awards for social entrepreneurs

September 5, 2012

Find out the recipients of our latest round of awards for social entrepreneurs.

An art gallery and workshop space for people with physical and learning disabilities, a retail outlet promoting new creative entrepreneurs and employing young people, a community resource centre for vulnerable individuals, an eco-craft employment and training project and a PR and employment agency for young unemployed people have secured a share of the latest awards made to Scotland based entrepreneurs.

Firstport, the support organisation working to identify, encourage and seed social enterprises in Scotland, works in partnership with Scotland Unltd to distribute funds from the Social Entrepreneur’s Fund and the Millennium Awards Trust.

In East Ayrshire, Cumnock based Jim Withers is celebrating the news that he has received £3,500 from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund to set up Respite Now, an organisation providing a range of services to people with physical and learning disabilities that are in receipt of direct payments. It will be an online one stop shop for everything from trained support workers to holidays at accessible venues. Jim is an engaging personality who has a genuine empathy for people with disabilities. With a strong commercial head and a track record working with people with disabilities and the organisations that support them, Jim has the potential to greatly improve the life of disabled people in the area.

Graham Wishart in Rosyth benefited from £3,700 from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund to help setup Eco-craft, a social enterprise which aims to direct wood from landfill into reuse whilst offering employment, training and volunteering opportunities.  Activities include waste wood collections, recycling, up-cycling, & reuse and community based workshops. After running a family business for eight years, Graham is now motivated to create jobs and volunteering opportunities for disadvantaged people.

Young entrepreneur James Wilkinson from Edinburgh is delighted to receive an award of £2,685 from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund to start Dynamo Promotions - Professional PR Outsourcing.  After experiencing a period of unemployment a couple of years ago, James decided to set up Dynamo so he can run his own business and help other young people who are struggling to find work. He aims to recruit young people currently unemployed, with a view to train them to a high standard and place them in a range of promotional jobs including promotions work for restaurants, nightclubs and product brands.

Thanks to an award of £2,980 from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund, Patrick McManus from Rutherglen will setup a Development Trust to tackle local issues and improve the quality of life in Kingspark and Bankhead.  The Level 1 award will be used to set up a horticulture / community garden initiative and to gather community support for the Development Trust which will encourage and sustain a sense of community, growing produce, recycling and networking.

Lauren McCormick from Greenock is celebrating receiving an award of £2,649 from the Millennium Awards Trust to help her pilot The Gorbals Youth Brass Band with 20 young people from the Gorbals, some of whom will have behavioural or learning support needs. The social benefit is not just about musical development but also about the development of social and life skills targeting kids in areas of high deprivation.

Edinburgh based Roger Horam is also celebrating the news that he has been awarded £2,600 from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund to set up a retail outlet selling the work of new start, creative entrepreneurs and employing young people facing barriers to employment.  Having run Job Centre Plus programmes in the past and undertaken significant research, Roger is well equipped to move this idea forward. The shop, which will be based in the St. James’ Centre, will sell high quality art and craft items produced by young creative entrepreneurs who are starting out in business whilst training young unemployed people in retail and customer service.

Karen McGregor, Chief Executive of Firstport, said:

“Over the last few years, the joint awards programme has uncovered the high level of demand for such a fund and a growing number of Scottish based social entrepreneurs. We are delighted to see that the funds are being used to bring forward a diversity of projects and ventures that tackle pressing social issues; through establishing new services, tackling needs in new ways, and creating a wider ‘ripple effect’ in local communities”.

Other individuals to benefit from a share of the latest awards made include Lesley Robertson in South Lanarkshire, who received £3,400 to set up a project providing support, events and training for one parent families in Lanarkshire and Sarah Galliers in Edinburgh, who was awarded £3,000 to set up an art gallery and workshop space for people with physical and learning disabilities and mental health problems. Both awards come from the Millennium Awards Trust.

Firstport offers free support and advice to start up social entrepreneurs with funding from the Scottish Government, in addition to providing start up awards in conjunction with Scotland Unltd through the Social Entrepreneur’s Fund and the Millennium Awards Trust.

For further information please contact Maria Ashley, Communications Officer on 0131 220 0511