Posted: 30 April 2010, in Press Release

Firstport, the support organisation working to identify and seed social enterprises in Scotland, works in partnership with Scotland Unltd to distribute funds from the Social Entrepreneur’s Fund and the Millennium Awards Trust.

Local Oban entrepreneurs Helen and Ian Crawford received £5000 from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund to take forward plans to start up a new training hotel in Oban. Once up and running the hotel will offer much needed training and accreditation in all aspects of hotel operations as well as new accommodation and conference facilities. Helen hopes to tackle local unemployment by attracting more young people into the hospitality industry and providing them with the right training. These skills are much needed given the area survives on tourism and is heavily reliant on the hotel trade.  

Geoff Tunstall benefited from £4310 from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund to establish Scallops Direct – a scallops processing plant in Annan, Dumfries and Galloway. Geoff wants to use the new business to create new jobs for the region and work based training opportunities for unemployed people and people who face barriers to getting a job. Being deaf Geoff understands some of the difficulties people can face in the job market which is why he is keen to help others overcome these.

Graham Hunter is delighted with the news that he has received £4985 from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund to take his basketball programme – Reach for the Sky – into communities across Lanarkshire. Graham, who played professionally in Scotland and USA, wants to use his experience to work with young people and provide diversionary activities from anti social behaviour, drugs and alcohol. In some areas he’s already began tackling issues like territorialism and has worked with young people from more difficult backgrounds who are at risk of exclusion from school.  

Tommy McGrory received £4890  from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund to set up a new music hub in Renfrew that will focus on getting young people into employment or training. This latest venture will establish a creative hub in Westway Industrial Estate that provides office space and rehearsal studios. Tommy will work with young people through a programme of services that develops their business skills as well as nurturing their creative talent.

Paisley based Scott Duncan benefited from £4400 from the Millennium Awards Trust to set up a new business that will sell a range of eco cleaning products. Scott will use the enterprise to provide young people furthest from the labour market with real work training and employment opportunities. He will pilot the scheme with four young people who will be trained in inbound and outbound sales to develop interpersonal and communication skills. Young people will have the chance to learn new practical skills and gain the necessary experience to move into the labour market. 

Rodger Alexander received £4050 from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund for Ayrshire Community Wheel – a network that will link up local groups and sell fresh locally grown produce. Rodger will use the funding to work with garden and allotment groups across Ayrshire so they can pull together to supply locally grown produce to the community. Once the network is up and running he plans to develop further services such as community cookery classes to encourage healthier eating.

A £5000 award from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund will help Inverness based Carys Petrie  to roll out Wee Walks  – fun educational walks for families – across Scotland’s major cities. Taking a stroll down Strawberry Street, climbing Monkey Mountain or meeting some buccaneers on Blueberry Ridge are just some of the things that Wee Walks will be bringing to Scotland’s major cities. In a bid to tackle rising levels of obesity and encourage children to keep active and eat healthy, Carys has devised a number of fun filled activities that are educational and promote a healthier lifestyle.


Naomi Johnson, Executive Director of Firstport, said: These latest awards are a flavour of some of the new exciting enterprises being kick started across Scotland through the Social Entrepreneurs Fund and the Millennium Awards Trust. Last year Firstport distributed more than £500,000 to over 100 social entrepreneurs with demand for funding remaining high.”