New approach to improve services in Scotland

New approach to improve services in Scotland
Scottish Government

Services for people in Aberdeen with learning disabilities will be provided through an enterprising third sector approach, it was announced today.

The move follows talks between the Scottish Government, the City Council, the Wood Family Trust and social enterprise Inspire, aimed at continuing the work of Aye Can, an Aberdeen City Council social work project. Aye Can was scheduled for closure on July 31 but Inspire aim to enhance it into a much more ambitious aluminium and steel recycling business which will make a real contribution to the environment, save upfront 29 jobs for people with learning disabilities, and provide potential for additional jobs.

Under a new partnership, Aye Can will re-open on August 1 operated by Inspire, with funding support from the Scottish Government, the Wood Family Trust and Aberdeen City Council.

Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said:

‘By using the social enterprise business model, the third sector can provide social and environmental benefits in a sustainable way, earning the income that helps them grow and deliver more services.

‘Having already announced a 37 per cent increase in funding for Scotland’s third sector, the Scottish Government is pleased that this new partnership approach will enable these services to continue to serve the people of Aberdeen.

‘The Aye Can project will move to the third sector and we expect there will be others to make that transition once their business plans have been examined.

‘The third sector is often best placed to connect with those individuals the public sector finds hardest to reach, and to bring employment opportunities, and income to individuals where the private sector doesn’t operate.

‘This Government is determined to build on the ambitions of enterprising Scots, to turn around previously lacklustre economic performance and to ensure that more people benefit from an increasingly successful economy.’

Sir Ian Wood, Chairman of the Wood Family Trust, said:

‘We are very happy to be working with the Scottish Government to encourage outsourcing of local authority services to the third sector. Inspire Ventures in Aberdeen has already established itself as a very high quality, successful social enterprise and the proposed £140,000 investment in capital and working capital will transform Aye Can into a much more ambitious aluminium and steel recycling business which will make a real contribution to the environment, save upfront 29 jobs for people with learning disabilities, provide potential for additional jobs, and significantly reduce the ongoing demands on the public purse.

‘It is the intention over the next two or three months to work with the Scottish Government and Inspire Ventures to look at other similar opportunities with Aberdeen City Council which would hopefully provide additional job opportunities for people with learning disabilities. There is the potential for other Councils and Charitable Foundations across Scotland to follow this innovative partnership to produce similar enterprising solutions to conventional service delivery across Scotland.’

Aberdeen Councillors Kate Dean and Kevin Stewart welcomed the move which is in line with the long term strategy set for such services. Councillor Dean said:

‘We welcome this partnership arrangement and are happy to be able to commit Council finance to it for forthcoming years. We believe that this represents a more efficient use of our resources and, more importantly, it secures good provision for the people involved into the future.’

Catriona McPhee-Smith, CEO of Inspire, said:

‘We are delighted that our professional approach and commitment to people with learning disabilities has been recognised by the Scottish Government, Sir Ian Wood and Aberdeen City Council. We support hundreds of people locally and therefore welcome the opportunity to engage in this pioneering partnership which will allow us to take forward this innovative model. We hope it will pave the way for future social enterprise development for Inspire and for third sector organisations across Scotland.’

Aye Can had been due to close on July 31 but, under the new partnership, will re-open on August 1. The start-up and initial running costs of the new Aye Can of £140,000 will be funded 2/3 by the Scottish Government and 1/3 by the Wood Family Trust. The Council has committed to support eight full-time service users at Aye Can over the next three years.

The Wood Family Trust was established in March 2007 and registered as a Scottish Charity by OSCR. The Trust will invest £50 million over the next ten years in the following three investment programmes: Livelihood Development (75 per cent of annual investment), in the UK – Volunteering Overseas (12.5 per cent of annual investment) and Developing Young People in Scotland (12.5 per cent of annual investment).

The Trustees of the Wood Family Trust are Sir Ian Wood (Chairman), Lady Helen Wood, Garreth Wood, Graham Good.

The CEO is Jo Mackie.

Wood Group is an international energy services company with more than $3.5 billion sales, employing more than 22,000 people worldwide and operating in 46 countries. The Group has three businesses-Engineering & Production Facilities, Well Support, and Gas Turbine Services-providing a range of engineering, production support, maintenance management and industrial gas turbine overhaul and repair services to the oil and gas, and power generation industries worldwide.

Inspire has a 20-year track record of providing high quality supportive services to people with learning disabilities. The award-winning charity has recently successfully established other social enterprises including Café Coast and Inspire Conferences which are based at the Beach Boulevard in Aberdeen.