A publishing house targeting youth unemployment, an initiative offering support and activities for carers, a fitness service targeting vulnerable and disadvantaged people, an online literacy and learning resource, a creative arts organisation operating within the criminal justice system, a business challenge competition targeted at secondary school pupils, and a project to enable young people and the over-50s to create jobs for themselves within the music industry are some of the latest ideas to have secured a share of the awards made to Scotland-based social entrepreneurs.

Firstport, the leading development agency for start up social enterprises in Scotland, works in partnership with Scotland Unltd to distribute funds from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund and the Millennium Awards Trust.
Nathan Brown of Clackmannanshire has been awarded ££3,000 from the Millennium Awards Trust to set up Crooked Neck Publishing.  The project will create a training and employment hub based in Falkirk and work to combat youth disengagement by encouraging young people to become involved in social and creative activities.  Nathan aims to build on Scotland’s brilliant worldwide reputation in the comic book industry to target the lack of employment prospects for 16-30 year-olds in the area. 

In Edinburgh, Joshua Barton has received £3,500 from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund to form Core Productions.  This initiative has been inspired by Josh’s work with individuals with learning disabilities, and focuses on the needs of their carers – many of whom suffer from isolation and a lack of social and creative opportunities.  Core Productions will provide a range of support, including respite in the form of creative and meaningful activities, and the opportunity to meet with other carers.

The Millennium Awards Trust has also awarded £3,000 to Angela Craigie in Aberdeen for her project, Sweet Science.  Angela aims to provide a unique fitness and exercise service to the community, with a particular focus on disadvantaged and socially excluded groups who might otherwise feel overwhelmed or intimidated by mainstream health clubs and fitness classes.

In Stirlingshire, Douglas Blaine has received £3,350 from the Millennium Awards Trust to pilot Three Minute Learning, an online literacy and learning resource.  The project uses a number of simple activities known to improve understanding to assist children and adult learners with reading, and with grasping cutting-edge scientific concepts.

A further award of £2,400 has also been made by the Millennium Awards Trust to Alison Urie of Glasgow, to set up Vox Liminis.  Alison’s project aims to develop creative arts-based practices for use within the criminal justice system, to support individuals to lead more positive and fulfilling lives. The organisation will also work towards informing public debate on crime and punishment, promoting rehabilitation and integration, and reducing re-offending.

In Aberdeen, Robert Totok is celebrating the news that he has received £2,650 from the Millennium Awards Trust to set up Youth Lab. The organisation will shortly launch its first project, entitled Virtual Firms – Business Challenge. The project will target thousands of high school students with the aim of helping them develop the skills and confidence to set up a business or find employment.

Joseph Meade has also received £3,080 from the Millennium Awards Trust to take forward The Music Foundry.  Based in Falkirk, the project will address unemployment, particularly among young people and the over-50s, by providing opportunities for individuals to create jobs for themselves within the music industry.  It will offer paid performing work, as well as other opportunities in areas such as sound and lighting, transport and set design.

Karen McGregor, Chief Executive of Firstport, said: “We are delighted to see that the enthusiasm for social entrepreneurship in Scotland keeps on growing and this is evidenced by the quality of our latest round of awards. From Aberdeen to Dumfries, we have uncovered talented and committed individuals working at grassroots level to improve the lives of communities across Scotland. These individuals are setting up 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. We are proud to play a part in getting these new ventures off the ground”.

Other individuals to benefit from the most recent round of awards from the Millennium Awards Trust  include Finella Annand in Highland, who received £4,300 to set up a sporting programme to inspire children and young people to participate in sport and offer training and jobs to young coaches; Karen Thomson from Angus who was awarded £3,000 to provide services to those living in the community who require short or long term support, as well as providing a range of learning services for supported individuals and their carers/families; Robert Wilmott in Aberdeenshire, who received £3,450 to deliver sports education to vulnerable young people and people with disabilities; and Barbara Young who received £3,000 to provide domiciliary physiotherapy services to individuals on a low income in the Scottish Borders. 

The Social Entrepreneurs Fund also provided further awards to Christopher Lamotte in East Lothian who was awarded £5,000 to run an online marketplace for accessible holiday properties, customised to the needs of disabled tourists, their friends and families; and Donna Westbrook of Dumfries and Galloway who received £3,332 to run a centre in Stranraer offering accommodation and support to people leaving prison.

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 Entrepreneurs Fund and the Millennium Awards Trust.
For further information please contact Maria Ashley, Marketing & Communications Manager on 0131 220 0511

Editor’s Notes

1. A social enterprise is a trading concern that operates in the business place, but places social or environmental aims at the core of its ethos.  For example it could work with disadvantaged volunteers on placement, collect materials for recycling or aim to improve the health of the community.  Profits are typically reinvested back into the business to grow the social or environmental aims.

2. Firstport is supported by the Scottish Government and in Scotland works together with Scotland Unltd to provide advice and funding opportunities for new start social entrepreneurs. They operate a joint awards programme and have two main funds (Millennium Awards Trust and the Social Entrepreneurs Fund) available to individuals who have great ideas and the vision, passion, drive and commitment to develop them. Advice on a variety of areas including marketing and cashflow is available through the Business Support team.

3. Since March 2009 Firstport has managed funds of more than £2.7 million, allocated 494 awards, and in doing so supported 429 aspiring social entrepreneurs from a variety of backgrounds.

4. Scotland Unltd’s Millennium Awards is part of Unltd’s UK wide programme and makes awards to social entrepreneurs who want to change the world for the better.

5. Firstport was set up specifically to provide advice and funding opportunities for new start social entrepreneurs.  Chief Executive Karen McGregor said: “Firstport aims to release the potential of social entrepreneurship in Scotland to benefit communities and individuals and to promote social change. Our research has shown that the awards programme has generated a range of positive personal, economic, and social impacts, so we would encourage any individuals harbouring an idea they’d like to get off the ground to take a look at our website or give us a call – we can help you move your idea from vision to reality!”