Spotlight on You Can Cook and Luma-IT

Posted: 28 March 2014, in Member Spotlight

In the spotlight this time (10 Feb – 23 Mar 2014) is Bosco Santimano and You Can Cook, a Training Provider in Food & Health social enterprise based in Peebles, Scottish Borders. Get in touch with Bosco on 0845 224 0896 or

What’s your social and/or environmental mission? Encouraging and empowering local communities to make informed choices about their food and health while allowing them to make these changes at their own pace. Enabling people to engage in a social and educational activity through learning basic techniques and skills in cookery. We use environmentally friendly cleaning products and recycled/compostable crockery in all our sessions and we actively minimise our carbon footprint.

How do you do it? We organise cookery classes, demonstrations and workshops on nutrition and food related issues all over Scotland. We customise all our services to suit our clients needs. Our clients range from the private, public, NHS, schools, community groups and the third sector. All programmes delivered  are bespoke hence we have a very high rate of satisfaction among our clients and participants.

What’s your personal motivation for being a social entrepreneur? To raise awareness about food and the impact it has on our health and to remove barriers and inequalities due to this factor in communities across Scotland.

What are your current projects? We’re currently running a few projects like “Food for Thought” a 12 week programme aimed at Primary 6 and 7’s in the local schools in Peebles; 2nd year of the “Youth Can Cook” project aimed at young people in Innerleithen and Walkerburn and a 1 year project with Kingsland Primary School in Peebles called “Kingsland Chefs”, this is a 5 week programme for Primary 6 and 7’s.

What exciting things do you have coming up? We’re also in the process of starting a 1 year pilot with Sacro, an organisation that works with ex-offenders in Scotland. The pilot will look to work with women who have recently been released from prison.

Who do you want to work with more? We would like to work with organisations and individuals that really want to see positive change in themselves and their communities at large with regards to food and health.

What’s your biggest challenge? Making public bodies, local authorities and the NHS look at food and health from a holistic perspective. The one glove fits all scenario is holding back positive change from happening in our communities. The lack of transparency and accountability in the above mentioned sectors is also a major barrier for small organisations like You Can Cook.

What top tip would you give to other social enterprises? Believe in your project – and most of all live and breath what you preach! The rest will fall in place with minimal effort.

In the spotlight this time (24 Mar – 6 Apr 2014) is Paul Rankin and Luma-IT, a social enterprise specialising in IT services, based in Glasgow. Get in touch with Paul Rankin on 07766 336881 /

What’s your social and/or environmental mission? We enable other social enterprises to do more with less. We couple this with an employment policy to get skilled people back into work that have struggled with traditional IT companies and we encourage the recycle and reuse of IT equipment.

How do you do it? We provide a different approach to providing IT services coupling a unique understanding of the sector we look to reduce cost, increase functionality, and give a completely fresh attitude to our customers and their IT systems. Our employment policy is also unique. First we identify skilled IT people and develop a role around them. Anything from type of skills, hours they need to work or any specific support we can offer.

What’s your personal motivation for being a social entrepreneur? I love technology and have worked for over 20 years within IT, most of which for one of the world’s largest IT companies. Fed up with the corporate culture I wanted to do something that makes a real difference. Unfortunately I would be rubbish at running a charity or other social enterprise but by enabling others through the use of IT to do more with less we can make a real difference. We also have an employment policy to get unemployed or under employed people back working in the areas for which they have been trained, namely IT. By shaping jobs around individuals we’re attracting some of the highest qualified individuals back into employment and are giving some talented graduates their first opportunities.

What are your current projects? We’re working with a number of clients. Art Village, a new CIC who setup temporary art shops to help regenerate run down shopping areas, are getting serious with their IT, so website, email, and file storage is being implemented. Some very exciting work with DNDP, a Social Enterprise employing disabled drivers as couriers.  Having got them up and running we’re now rolling out CRM and Cloud based courier software to all their drivers. One of our regular customers, Spruce Carpets, has us doing IT training  for their staff and volunteers. For us this is very rewarding as we’re making a real difference to these users, some being introduced to computers for the first time.   
What exciting things do you have coming up? It’s the most exciting time for technology. The enterprise, cloud based software now available is driving real change within small to medium companies. DNDP is a great example where using cloud technology can integrate the customer, logistics and finance. When complete DNDP will have one of the most integrated, customer focused system in the industry.

Who do you want to work with more? We work purely within the 3rd sector. For us it’s the most enjoyable sector to be in and the most rewarding. We are keen to work more with start-up organisations. Getting in early in the cycle can make it so much easier. We also need to work more with the larger social enterprises in order to continue to be sustainable and to allow us to re-invest so we can do more.

What’s your biggest challenge? Getting companies to value their IT systems. Using IT wisely can enable so much from within an organisation. We usually get called late; only when problems are starting to creep in. Every customer we deal with can do more for less. 

What top tip would you give to other social enterprises? Get your systems correct from the start. You will save so much time, energy and money by having robust, scalable and integrated systems. You will be surprised how little this actually costs and how much more it empowers and fuels your business. If you have a good IT supplier, keep them and tell them they do a great job and tell your friends about them but ask them – what can we do better? You may be surprised by their answer.