Forth Valley and South Ayrshire formally recognised as places where social enterprises can thrive 

Posted: 06 April 2023, in Press Release

Forth Valley and South Ayrshire have been formally recognised this week as hotspots of social enterprise activity in the latest round of the Social Enterprise Places programme run by Social Enterprise Scotland. They join Uist, Lewis and Govan that were recognised in 2021. 

Scotland is home to over 6,000 social enterprises and is internationally renowned for the impact of its social enterprise community. Forth Valley and South Ayrshire both demonstrate thriving and innovative social enterprise eco-systems that are contributing to the regeneration of high streets, supporting communities, and investing in their local areas. 

Over 180 social enterprises operate in Forth Valley, including Grace Chocolates in Bridge of Allan, who provide training and work experience opportunities for women who have experienced the criminal justice system; Dial-a-Journey who provide accessible and affordable transport to residents of Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire areas; Alloa Community Enterprises (ACE), who provide volunteering and work placements for people with barriers to work through furniture reuse and upcycling; Pause and Breathe in Falkirk who provide wellbeing sessions across the region; Sustainable Thinking Scotland, who work to address a wide range of social and environmental issues within the Falkirk District; and Resilience Learning Partnership, an education and training provider specialising in psychological trauma and lived experience. 

South Ayrshire is home to a community of more than 70 social enterprises, such as Ayr Gaiety Partnership, a community based professional theatre, increasing individual and community wellbeing through performing arts; Narture, an artist collective and creative hive, making participatory cultural activities available to everyone; Community Gift Exchange, a reuse shop which helps people experiencing barriers to work access sustainable employment; South Ayrshire Community Transport, that is working to improve transport needs across the region; and North Carrick 2030, developing community led economic development and regeneration projects, transforming lives of local people. 

From villages and towns to islands and regions, social enterprises are revitalising communities and making an impact throughout their local area. The Social Enterprise Places Scotland programme promotes, raises awareness and builds markets for social enterprises at both a local and national level.   

Anthea Coulter, representing Forth Valley says: 

“Social Enterprises have always been part of the fabric of our local authority areas in Forth Valley – especially in more rural communities. The Forth Valley Social Enterprise Network (FVSEN) and its online directory is bringing these wide-ranging social enterprises together. Through that process we have seen more peer networking, increased awareness of other social enterprises, and a steady growth of newly established social enterprises. We hope that this award will encourage more people to get involved in using social enterprises and thinking about it as a business model for the future.”   

Jeremy Wyatt, Chair of South Ayrshire Social Enterprise Network says: 

“On behalf of the South Ayrshire Social Enterprise Network, I am delighted that we’ve been chosen to be a Social Enterprise Place. This award highlights all the fantastic and necessary work that is carried out by Social Enterprise’s across the South Ayrshire area. I hope that by being recognised as a Social Enterprise Place that it raises awareness of the sector and provides many more opportunities for enterprise and development as a result.” 

Douglas Westwater, Chair of Social Enterprise Scotland says:  

“We have heard the difference this has made in previous rounds of Social Enterprise Places and are delighted to welcome these new areas, where the spotlight will be shone on the vibrant and innovative work being done to transform communities.”