Photographing Social Enterprises

Posted: 02 March 2011, in Press Release

2 March 2011

In Pictures: Scotland’s Social Enterprises in Action

An exhibition, called ‘Photographing the best of Scotland’s social enterprises’ has been launched by Unity Trust Bank and the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition and will be unveiled tonight at a parliamentary reception hosted by John Park MSP.

Beating off stiff competition from across the country, photographer Aly Wight, (29) from Edinburgh, was awarded an £1,800 bursary, sponsored by Unity Trust Bank, to visit social enterprises across Scotland and capture their work. 

In the six months since his award, Aly has visited social enterprises across Scotland to portray the body of work that will go on show at the Parliament tonight.  His work covers 14 organisations*, and depicts how social enterprises are changing the lives of communities and individuals around them. 

Gordon Allan, Development Manager for Scotland at Unity Trust Bank said: “We were delighted to sponsor this bursary for the second year running. As a bank with a long and proud history of working with social enterprises in Scotland, it’s great to see this bursary turn an idea from the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition into this spectacular and striking photographic exhibition by Aly.”

Antonia Swinson, chief executive of the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition said: “We’re thrilled with Aly’s work in capturing the essence of social enterprise in Scotland.  His images really get to the heart of what make social enterprise work – the people.  With social enterprise increasingly being required to deliver public services, the faces behind the social enterprise movement are making a great contribution to society, and we are delighted to celebrate them in this exhibition.” 

Aly has an honours degree in Fine Art and Sculpture from Gray’s School of Art and also an HNC in Photography from the Glasgow College of Building and Printing. He has worked on a diverse range of commissions across the UK, for clients including The Traverse Theatre, WECAN (Working for Environmental Community Action Now) and The Manhattan Loft Corporation. His aim is to create original and exciting imagery in a simple and contemporary style. 

Social enterprises – businesses with a social or environmental purpose – now add an estimated £2 billion to the Scottish economy every year and employ an estimated 30,000 people.

Following the exhibition at the Scottish Parliament, ‘Photographing the best of Scotland’s social enterprises’ will be displayed at S2S 2011 – the annual social enterprise trade fair on 20 April at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh.

* The social enterprises Aly captured for the exhibition are:

Bookdonors (Selkirk) – trading in Used Books to Help People, Charities and the Environment

The Breadmaker (Aberdeen) – charity, providing employment and training opportunities for adults with learning disabilities.

Calman Trust (Inverness) – providing support to young people who are, or at risk of becoming, homeless

Centre Stage (Kilmarnock) – leadership through the performing arts

Clean Close (Dundee) – community janitorial services and close cleaning

Community Energy Scotland (Dingwall) – dedicated to supporting community-based organisations to benefit from renewable energy

Dundee International Women’s Centre (Dundee) –  providing a safe, friendly, comfortable environment for the personal development of all women

The Engine Shed (Edinburgh) – Employment for people with learning disabilities

Factory Skate Park (Dundee) – community facilities for young people

Gallery on the Corner (Edinburgh) – offering apprenticeship opportunities to artists with autism

Loch Arthur (nr Dumfries) – a working Community in South West Scotland which includes men and women with learning disabilities

McSence (Mayfield, Midlothian) – establishing ongoing business ventures which will create sustainable long term employment opportunities

Stepping Stones for Families (Glasgow) – connecting families and young people in Scotland for over 21 years

Ends                                                                                                                                                                                                   02 March 2010

Issued by Weber Shandwick on behalf of the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition. For more information or images, please contact: Lesley Clark on 0131 556 6649 / 07770 886 901 or email

Notes to editors:

Social Enterprise

Social enterprises trade specifically to deliver a social purpose. This is a distinct business movement, with roots in the voluntary sector which is increasingly recognised for its power to transform communities and the lives of individuals. Key models include housing associations, co-ops, credit unions, community interest companies, development trusts and social firms operating across a range of sectors including renewable energy, social care, social housing, tourism and cultural services and recycling.

Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition

The Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition is the collective membership-led policy and campaigning voice for social enterprise in Scotland. It represents the needs of social enterprise to politicians, policy makers and opinion formers. Members and associates include national and regional intermediary organisations, individual social enterprises and key supporters of the sector. Its aim is to add value to its members’ work and achieve maximum impact for the sector, ensuring it is widely represented in policy development.

About Unity Trust Bank

Unity Trust Bank (“Unity”) is the leading provider of banking services to the civil society, social enterprise, trades unions and small to medium sized enterprises.

Established in 1984, Unity has a deserved reputation for its knowledge of the particular requirements of its customers and the delivery of a first class portfolio of services.  It has won awards for its banking services and has topped the Charity Finance survey for banking services for the last six years running. 

Unity was the first UK bank to abolish penalty charges on unauthorized overdrafts.

Unity has an impressive track record of working in partnership with many organisations that campaign for progressive social change and develop new and innovative ways of improving civil society.  It also works in partnership with statutory bodies.

For further information about Unity Trust Bank please visit