Uist was congratulated yesterday by Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government Aileen Campbell on its recognition as a Social Enterprise Place.
Alongside Lewis and Govan, Uist received the award at an event that was hosted by Social Enterprise Scotland on January 21st and attended by over 60 people from across the country. A presentation on the importance of social enterprise to the island was made on behalf of Uist by Thomas Fisher and can be seen here.
Scotland has long had a reputation for social enterprise activity and on the 21st January Social Enterprise Scotland are thrilled to recognise the impact of social enterprise as part of our Social Enterprise Places scheme. Uist and Lewis will be formally announced on Thursday 21 at an online event, attended by Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary, Aileen Campbell MSP. In addition, Govan will be highlighted as ‘one to watch’ in 2021.
Social Enterprise Places are local areas where social enterprise activity is thriving, from neighbourhoods, to villages, towns, islands and both urban and rural communities. Social Enterprise Scotland has been encouraging local areas to recognise themselves as Social Enterprise Places committed to developing and investing in their local areas. The programme aims to promote, raise awareness, and build markets for social enterprises. While 2021 remains a challenging time for many areas the pandemic has also highlighted the role that social enterprise plays in supporting their community and Social Enterprise Scotland want to make sure their work is highlighted.
Thomas Fisher, Director at CoDeL, representing Uist adds “In Scotland islands have the highest density of social enterprise per head of population. In Uist there are over 50 social and community enterprises, from large to very small, that are existential to the resilience, and thriving, of our island communities made up of 5000 people, including during Covid. We are delighted that Social Enterprise Scotland is recognising the role social and community enterprises have been playing on Uist for four decades in delivering to community needs, building community wealth, and developing our islands as attractive places to live and work. They also generate 10% of all jobs for people under 40 on the islands, enabling young people to return, stay or settle and contribute so much to our island communities.
Alasdair Nicolson, speaking for Lewis notes that “As an advocate of social enterprise and on behalf of Point and Sandwick Trust (PST), I welcome the recognition of Lewis as a Social Enterprise Place. This reflects the past and current development, leadership and entrepreneurship shown not only by Point and Sandwick Trust, but also of the other social enterprise actors, in Uig, Bragor, Carloway, Pairc, Galston and Tolsta, to name a few. As we look beyond the horizon we aim to create stronger communities, through further community led opportunities, and by creating employment and improving infrastructure at local levels. There are now many good examples which other communities can see and Point and Sandwick Trust, for our part, are happy to share as we share from others”.
The recognition of these communities has also been welcomed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Margaret McSporran, Head of Social Enterprise Development at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said:
“Social enterprises are a vital part of our community and economy in the Highlands and Islands and bring far reaching economic and community benefits across the region. They help create employment and skills opportunities, improve public services and support some of our hardest to reach individuals. We congratulate Uist and Lewis on becoming ‘Social Enterprise Places’ and welcome the recognition of these hotspots of social enterprise activity.”
Chris Martin, CEO at Social Enterprise Scotland said: “Congratulations to the new Social Enterprise Places, all brilliant areas full of thriving social enterprise activity. Our local community groups and social enterprises have really stepped up to lead during the pandemic lockdown period and this scheme is a great way to share this learning and best practice. We know that across Scotland there are many other places waiting to be recognised as exemplars and we look forward to highlighting them as we build on the Places programme. We were also pleased to welcome Govan as ‘one to watch’ noting, that while shining a light on our island communities, the scheme has also seen the impact of social enterprise in our largest city by population too”.
Ian Mitchell, CEO at CEISnotes “We are delighted that the huge potential of Govan has been recognised as a prospective Social Enterprise Place. Social enterprises already play a key role in the economic, social and cultural life of Govan securing jobs and delivering vital services across the community. The importance of Place will be even greater as we recover from the effects of the pandemic. We look forward to even deeper collaboration between enterprises and with the Council to truly make Govan a Social Enterprise Place”
The Social Enterprise Places Programme for Scotland was launched by Social Enterprise Scotland in November 2019 but delayed by the Covid-19 lockdown period. It builds on the programme originally developed by Social Enterprise UK, that recognised Callander as Scotland’s first ever Social Enterprise Place.
The programme is sponsored by The Scottish Government and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Benefits of the programme will vary from place to place but we know from the experiences of SEUK that collaboration, shared learning and collective voices have all strengthened social enterprise places over time. We plan to build on this working with other partners who have an interest in Placemaking, community development and regeneration.
Social Enterprise Scotland is a membership organisation that represents social enterprise organisations across Scotland. There are over 6,000 social enterprises in Scotland, all organisations committed to supporting social/environmental outcomes. Scotland and many social enterprise organisations have played a pivotal role in supporting people and communities during the pandemic, something they were well placed to deliver and have a continued commitment for.
To learn more about Social Enterprise Places please contact Naomi Johnson: firstname.lastname@example.org