11 new social business ideas to be developed in South Carrick

Residents across South Carrick are set to benefit as 11 new business ideas, with the potential to make a difference in the community, have been accepted onto What if…Girvan.

What if…Girvan is a programme delivered by Firstport, Scotland’s social enterprise development agency, supporting people to develop and launch business ideas that make a positive difference in Girvan and South Carrick villages.

The participants will receive one to one support to develop their idea and up to £3000 in funding to test it out, provided by the William Grant Foundation. Each member of the programme will also have access to training, leadership development, mentoring and peer support.

Improving health and wellbeing is a key focus for the group, with a number of participants recognising the potential for additional sporting activity in Girvan. Craig Maxwell wants to improve access to sports such as BMX, skateboarding and scootering in the area.

Craig Maxwell, one of the new participants on What if…Girvan, said: “When I was younger there was very little investment in action sports, particularly in Scotland, and therefore a number of kids at that time struggled to participate in sports that we felt passionately about. I feel I can change this. Girvan has great potential for sport becoming a strong focus in the community with the opening of The Quay Zone and the area becoming a hub for local people to participate in sport.”

Sally Johnston, Programme Manager at What if…Girvan, said: “Many of the business ideas in this latest group are about building on the strengths of Girvan and South Carrick – making use of the scenery and surroundings, as well as existing community assets like The Quay Zone.

“We’re beginning to see earlier ideas, accepted onto the programme almost two years ago, developing into established businesses and have an impact in the community. There’s a lot of potential in this latest group and I’m looking forward to seeing the ideas progress!”

Nick Addington, Chief Executive of the William Grant Foundation, said: “We’re delighted that the William Grant Foundation is able to support so many new ideas, each inspired by their community, which have the potential to make the area an even better place to live, work and grow up.”

The successful participants include:

  • Alice Blocksidge is a qualified complimentary therapist specialising in aromatherapy, reflexology, massage and stress management. She is looking to develop a holistic therapy service in South Ayrshire.
  • Ann Berry is a keen cyclist and wants to encourage more people to get on their bikes. With the help of What if…Girvan, she’s setting up a cycle hire hub in the town.
  • Chris Saunders’ idea is to run an annual health and wellbeing gathering in Girvan, covering a wide range of subjects which come under the ‘mind body spirit’ banner.
  • Connor Watt and his business partner want to increase sporting provision in the area, for all ages and abilities. They plan to kick off their project with two weekly programmes: a children’s gymnastics programme; and a sports programme in care homes and primary schools.
  • Craig Maxwell wants to bring the popular sports of skateboarding, BMX and scootering to Girvan – an area which currently has no facilities for wheeled sports. He’ll provide experienced and highly skilled staff to ensure extreme sports can be experienced by all in a safe and structured environment.
  • Gabriella Baronello is using creative workshops to help teach primary 7 pupils about healthy relationships. The programme she has developed will give pupils the tools to protect themselves and connect to other individuals safely and healthily, while building their confidence, autonomy and resilience.
  • Lindsay Guidi recently joined the What if…Girvan programme, looking to develop her social enterprise Home Cook School in the Girvan area. Lindsay plans to expand her service into the area and pilot a ‘Survival Cookery Course’ for young people about to leave home.
  • Pamela Anderson wants to set up a centre for wellbeing in South Carrick, providing the community with more control over their health and wellbeing. She eventually hopes to develop a retreat where people can come to relax and de-stress from modern day living.
  • Rod Ekern has joined the What if…Girvan programme to develop and pilot his idea, using tidal flow into and out of an estuary to generate electrical power. As well as the obvious environmental benefits, Rod hopes to have an impact and help to reverse the trend of young working families moving to larger cities for jobs.

Read case studies of some of our latest What if…Girvan participants on our website.


For more information, please contact Jess Gray, Communications Officer, Firstport (jess@firstport.org.uk 0131 558 2724)