Social Enterprise Spotlight – Latest Q&A Interviews With Social Enterprise Members

Posted: 12 August 2014, in Press Release

In the spotlight for two weeks (30 June – 13 July 2014) is Gabriel Ritchie and The Base Kilmarnock CIC, a social enterprise with a multi function centre that offers a design and print service and hall/venue hire. Get in touch with Gabriel Ritchie on info@thebasekilmarnock.com / 01563 591288. www.thebasekilmarnock.com

Each fortnight we focus on a randomly selected social enterprise member for intense marketing support and promotion. The Base Kilmarnock CIC will feature in all e-bulletins, on our website homepage and on all our social media, alongside other support, reaching thousands of people across Scotland and beyond.
 
What’s your social and/or environmental mission? Our mission is to provide a centre for the community which meets the needs of many and helps enhance the lives of all who use the facility. We aim to offer employment and training opportunities throughout our organisation. Cost effective venue hire for all and a high quality design and print service.

How do you do it? We offer a highly competitive and professional design and print service to private, public and third sector organisations, everything from business cards through to conference packs and banner stands. Our main hall is let to a variety of groups and organisations including fitness classes, charities and community groups and local businesses.

What’s your personal motivation for being a social entrepreneur? I think the ability to help contribute to the social and economical growth of your community and help enhance the lives of people around you is more than enough motivation, but if you can do this and be profitable, that means you can hopefully have more of a social impact on your community.

What are your current projects? In our design and print department we are working on a conference pack for a social enterprise organisation and a number of new start company logo designs which the clients are very happy with, we hope to grow our business in this area. Although we are based in Kilmarnock we work with clients throughout the country.

What exciting things do you have coming up? We are constantly trying to find ways to add to our portfolio of services. At present we hire our hall more to outside organisations, but we would like to develop more in-house services and activities so that we are more in control of our own destiny. We would like to add more print services and offer workshops for people within the community who would like to start their own small business or social enterprise.

Who do you want to work with more? Since we have become members of Social Enterprise Scotland it has really opened our eyes to the number of organisations that are out there and making an impact. We would love to work with more social enterprise organisations, as I feel we share the same vision. It is always better working with people who can share similar goals and aspirations.

What’s your biggest challenge? Raising awareness of our organisation within the local community and beyond. We would like to work more with our local authority, private business and third sector organisations. The challenge is to try and get noticed. Many organisations are slow to welcome new players into an area and are sometimes wary of how this will affect them. But I feel what social enterprise offers can help these organisations and the communities they serve.

What top tip would you give to other social enterprises? I think you have to take a chance on an idea. Yes do the research and get as much feedback as possible – but if you think it’s a great idea then do it. If we had thought too much about what we wanted to do we would never had done it, because there is always a reason not to do something. So go for it.

In the spotlight for two weeks (14 July – 27 July 2014) is Peter Lavelle and Glasgow Wood Recycling, a social enterprise based in Glasgow that makes great garden products from reclaimed timber. Get in touch with Peter on 0141 237 8566 or peter@glasgowwoodrecycling.org.uk / www.glasgowwoodrecycling.org.uk

Each fortnight we focus on a randomly selected social enterprise member for intense marketing support and promotion. Glasgow Wood Recycling will feature in all e-bulletins, on our website homepage and on all our social media, alongside other support, reaching thousands of people across Scotland and beyond.
 
What’s your social and/or environmental mission? Glasgow Wood Recycling aims to support people who may have some difficulty in dealing with health issues, unemployment or the lack of a decent income. Providing volunteering opportunities and support in a real work setting is how we aim to meet our social mission.

How do you do it? We have a very open door policy to volunteering and anyone can join and gain more skills and experience in recycling and woodworking skills, while manufacturing garden and indoor furniture. Through this we’ve had loads of success in employing people within GWR but also into employment elsewhere.

What’s your personal motivation for being a social entrepreneur? Wood recycling for me is a great vehicle for working alongside and supporting people. We all have some difficulties and barriers to overcome throughout our lives and I believe social enterprise can play a significant part in supporting people in our communities.

What are your current projects? We’re delighted to be building a new community garden in the north of the city where loads more people will be able to grow their own veggies. We’ve also been successful recently in supplying benches, tables and seating for a few local bars, cafes and restaurants.

What exciting things do you have coming up? Glasgow Wood Recycling continues to grow and is currently securing lots more space to help increase capacity. We’re also looking forward with great enthusiasm to the new co-operative we’ve joined and created with four other forward-looking enterprises

Who do you want to work with more? We believe we are a very useful and valuable resource to communities who are developing green spaces. While producing a wide range of garden furniture we are always open to new ideas and partnerships across all sectors of our wider community.

What’s your biggest challenge? Our biggest challenge is in continuing to improve the quality and range of our products to meet our customers’ needs and balancing this with our aim of helping to meet the wide range of needs that our volunteers have. It’s this challenge that we relish as a social enterprise!

What top tip would you give to other social enterprises? Find a really good way to make your systems and procedures work well, so that you can spend the maximum amount of time in developing relationships and finding and growing the business.