Alice Ritch and Laura Whittall founded their social enterprise, Bigton Collective, to provide a supportive and inspirational hub for arts and health on Shetland, promoting wellbeing and creative confidence for all.
They applied to the sixth round of LaunchMe after exploring the opportunity to acquire their local Kirk through a community ownership model. Their vision: to turn the building into a versatile and sustainable community hub that would include hostel accommodation, café facilities with flexible working, and community spaces.
Taking over a building and turning it into a space that works for the whole community is not an easy task. Alice and Laura realised early on that they would need to learn new skills, access expertise, and funding to achieve their ambitions, which led them to apply to LaunchMe.
When Bigton Collective was selected as a participant in the Round 6 cohort, Alice told us:
This is such an opportunity because we will be able to learn from these experienced mentors. We are going to have this expertise to help us build a sustainable model, so we can grow as an organisation and hopefully maximise the impact that we can make.
Over the last six months, Bigton Collective has come a long way, setting up and improving internal processes, engaging with the local community, and recently reaching their crowdfunding target. This is a great boost to their wider funding strategy and puts them one step closer to achieving their vision.
On her experience of the programme, Alice said:
Being part of the [LaunchMe] cohort has given me validation and increased my confidence. It has been like a university degree’s worth of learning. In tandem with the Scottish Land Fund process, it has completely changed the sense of who I am in the community.
Follow their progress at the Bigton Collective website.