Digital showcase demonstrates social enterprise resilience

Posted: 04 November 2020, in News

Social enterprises show “enormous resilience and adaptability” to challenges of Covid-19 pandemic

Scotland’s social enterprise community has shown “enormous resilience and adaptability” in its response to the social and economic pressures brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amid the uncertainty and difficulties of the past nine months, members of the social enterprise community gathered to take part in a Digital Showcase yesterday to highlight the success stories of social enterprises. 

The Showcase, which attracted around 100 participants and speakers, including Aileen Campbell MSP, The Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, was organised by Social Enterprise Scotland. 

Speaking at the event she said: “The sector response to the crisis has shone a light on what can be achieved when we collectively push in the same direction. The mission driven nature of social enterprise means that they were ideally suited to react to the crisis. We can use this moment to rethink and reimagine what our future could and should be like – a future that delivers economic, social and environmental wellbeing.”

Alongside Aileen Campbell, the event’s speakers also included Michelle Carruthers from The Food Train, Elaine Brown, CEO of The Remakery, and Shona Sinclair, Chair of Social Enterprise Scotland.

Social Enterprise Scotland chief executive Chris Martin said: “The social enterprise sector has faced and continues to face many challenges and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of this, we have seen many examples of individuals and organisations demonstrating enormous resilience and adaptability as they stepped up to offer support, often changing their business model with speeds never envisaged before.”

The Digital Showcase focused on 19 social enterprises from across Scotland that received a £350 bursary to enable them to communicate the impact they had had upon various communities during the pandemic. Of those, three social enterprises – the Food Train, the Edinburgh Remakery and the Point and Sandwich Trust – also had short films made in which they gave further insight into their experiences of supporting local needs.   

The 19 bursary-winning enterprises that took part in the Digital Showcase included: 

Edinburgh Remakery, Lanark Community Development Trust, Locavore, The Furniture Project, Findhorn Bay Arts, The Haven in Stonehaven, Food Train, Tsukure Hub CIC, Projekt 42, Space & Broomhouse Hub, Isle Develop CIC, FareShare Glasgow and the West of Scotland, Cyrenians, The Bike Station, Community Food Initiatives North East, Point and Sandwick Trust, Thorn Athletic Community Trust, The Libertie Project, and the ALICE Theatre Project. 

The 19 social enterprises were selected from a long list of 64 applicants.

Spanning the length and breadth of the country, the participating social enterprises demonstrated the resilience and adaptability of the sector as they pivoted business models and adjusted service offerings to support local needs. Examples included supplying refurbished laptops to enable better access to online support, using volunteer networks and community partnerships to distribute food, the manufacture of PPE, and providing social and emotional care and support to try to address the hardships people faced as the country went into lockdown and the subsequent prolonged restrictions. 

An accompanying digital brochure gives further insight into the interventions and positive contributions made by social enterprises across Scotland.

The Digital Showcase, which was sponsored by Firstport, South of Scotland Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Social Enterprise Academy and Keegan & Pennykid, was also an opportunity for those within the social enterprise community to gather and meet, as well as discuss ways to support a sustained economic recovery.

Mr Martin added: “Life has become very difficult for many people. People’s mental and physical health is at increased risk, while anxiety over money, job security, relationships, and many other issues has exploded since the country went into lockdown.” 

He added: “Of course social enterprise hasn’t magically solved these major issues, but it has made a profound difference to many people’s lives. We’ve seen the creation of support networks that have proved to be a lifeline for many. The support the social enterprise sector has provided to communities all across the country, from distributing food parcels to running online fitness classes, cannot be underestimated. 

“Social enterprise has shown it is agile and resilient, with superb leadership and a can-do attitude from staff, volunteers, mentors and other supporters. I’m incredibly proud to be a part of the movement and impressed by what has been achieved in these extremely difficult circumstances.” 

END

NOTES:

To watch our film from the event and see the impact these 19 social enterprises are having, visit: https://vimeo.com/475037886 

Download a copy of the brochure that details the contributions and impacts made by social enterprise: https://socialenterprise.scot/cms/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Adapting-to-Change-Showing-resilience-and-agility-to-support-communities-during-a-pandemic-Social-Enterprise-Scotland-Covid19-Response-Brochure.pdf 

Watch the video from The Edinburgh Remakery here: https://vimeo.com/475034035