Networks1st Update: 26th June 2009

On Wednesday, Senscot attended the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition’s 5th AGM. During the day, it became clear there is an increasing desire for the Coalition to work more closely with the LSENs over the coming year. Outside the formal business, there were three policy debates. These included how the sector and the Scottish Government communicate the value of social enterprise; clarifying how social enterprise could/should engage with the Third Sector Interfaces; and finally the Social Enterprise Mark. Next week we`ll publish a report on our findings re a series of events Senscot has held on the Social Enterprise Mark..

The Aspire to Enterprise Programme has had great success in providing free business support services to developing social enterprise in lowland Scotland since it began as a pilot 18 months ago. Many LSEN members have benefitted from consultancy support from Aspire; Bethany Christmas Trees in Edinburgh received help with a Marketing Plan; Dundee International Women’s Centre analysed the cost of their services through a Business Review; and Printability in Aberdeen has re-branded to Send-It in order to accurately reflect what they do. It is now in its second year and is still open for applications – only Forth Valley has not submitted an application. If you`re interested, see – or if you would like someone from Aspire to give a presentation to your Network, contact

Every vote counts for Aberdeen SEN member, the Breadmaker. They contacted us this week to say that they have been shortlisted for the semi-finals of the National Lottery Good Causes Award and need public votes to get them through to the finals. Voting started on 22nd June and goes through to 10th July. You can vote on line – – or by phone on 0844 686 2809 (it only costs 5p).They`d really appreciate your support. Last year, in a similar public vote, Fife SEN member, The Ecology Centre, won £318 000 from the Lottery`s Primetime Programme.

Case Study

Fife Social Enterprise Network was the first LSEN to start up. The first meeting took place in 2004 at Furniture Plus in Dysart. FSEN is still one of the most active Networks, with around 18 members and is a formal member of the Local Social Economy Partnership. At start up, FSEN had financial support from the Social Enterprise Development Partnership, which funded a part-time Administrator which helped enormously to establish FSEN.

Network Notices

The Enterprise Fund has recently awarded its first investments for applications over £70,000. The Enterprise Fund is probably the best opportunity for LSEN members to get valuable investment before this window of opportunity closes. The fund stresses the importance of organisational development. It does NOT provide grant funding for projects. This means the Fund is much more appropriate for organisations that aim to maximise income generation through trade as opposed to a more traditional grant dependent culture.

A Highland-based social enterprise has won a major UK renewable energy industry award for its support to communities developing green energy projects. The British Renewable Energy Association Award 2009 was presented to Community Energy Scotland (CES) at a packed award ceremony in London. CES were awarded the Region Award 2009 for their success in encouraging take-up of renewable energy in communities across Scotland, as well as the dedication and exceptional efforts ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ of the staff team. CES has supported over 500 community energy projects across Scotland.

Dates for the Diary

Tues 30th June, Coalfields
Thurs 9th July, East Lothian
Fri 31st July, Glasgow