SOCIAL ENTERPRISE NEWS
Our newest Social Enterprise Spotlight is Sami Poole and Port Edgar Watersports CIC. Port Edgar Watersports is Scotland’s largest watersports and outdoor activity centre. Read and share their Q&A interview below!
You can follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and get in contact with Sami directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is your social and/or environmental mission?We believe that practicing watersports has wide reaching benefits not only physically but that it also promotes social wellness, improves mental health, and increases environmental connectivity. Our mission is to use our watersports centre to provide inclusive access to these benefits for everyone.
How do you do it? We provide watersports year-round with a team of 20 paid instructors and 16 volunteers training to gain instructor qualifications. We teach sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing and stand up paddleboarding ranging from beginners to advanced qualifications.
What’s your personal motivation for being a social entrepreneur?I personally come from a very challenging and impoverished background (a fun story for another time) and ended up trying watersports at college. From that one opportunity, I have travelled the world, met my wife, absorbed different cultures, secured top level industry statuses, and have never lost my passion. So, If I can help even one person on a path to happiness through my work, that’s motivation enough.
What are your current projects?Our biggest project currently is our volunteer scheme run by our volunteer coordinator Roisin Fleming. We aim to give industry experience, provide mentorship and professional qualifications equipping them with tangible workplace tools to either secure employment with us or thrive elsewhere. These volunteers allow us to create a feedback loop where the team will deliver most of our social impact sessions providing vital experience to our volunteers and experiences to groups who would benefit the most.
What exciting things do you have coming up?We have just had a very successful trail working with WetWheels Foundation who offer unique opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged people of all ages – including those with multiple, profound, and complex impairments – to access the water. This is all we can talk about at this point however working with WetWheels really highlighted to us just how much more we can do working collaboratively.
Who do you want to work with more?Tough question as the answer is everyone, however the sailing world has the perception of being quite elitist and only for the affluent. With my background, I want to do more work with people in the most deprived areas highlighted in the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, which will bring us a whole set of new challenges however I feel this will be the most rewarding to overcome.
What’s your biggest challenge?I’m sure this one will be similar to those social enterprises reading this but it’s funding. Not only securing funding but the time it takes to focus on applications and research, especially when you have a full-time job to do. We are often better at delivering the impact on the ground and struggle reflecting that on paper and getting others to see our vision. However, there is a lot of support out there and that is what is especially amazing about being a social enterprise. It is not about building a walled garden around ourselves, it’s about sharing the fruits of our successes with others.
What top tips would you give to other social enterprises?Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and one that others understand. Do what you can with what you have, take notes on what worked and what didn’t, allowing your next iteration of a project to evolve, and stay passionate about what you do as there is always a reason to be positive, even when it feel like it’s not working.
Sami Poole, Waterfront Manager at Port Edgar Watersports CIC
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