Social Enterprise Volunteer Champion Spotlight: Janie Conlon, Grassmarket Community Project

Posted: 04 June 2024, in Awards-News

Volunteers make up a huge part of the social enterprise sector, from supporting with day-to-day operations to overseeing strategic direction. We were delighted to formally introduce the Social Enterprise Volunteer Champion award at the 2023 Social Enterprise Awards Scotland to honour and celebrate the contributions volunteers make to our sector.

We caught up with Janie Conlon, who won Social Enterprise Volunteer Champion at the 2023 Social Enterprise Awards Scotland and Helene van der Ploeg, Chief Executive Officer at Grassmarket Community Project who nominated Janie.

Our decision to nominate Janie Conlon as Volunteer Champion for the Social Enterprise Awards Scotland is because she epitomises everything that we love about our volunteers; she is an inspiration to our staff, members, and volunteers, through her drive and commitment to build what is now our successful, profit-making Tartan Social Enterprise.

If it were not for Janie being so committed to the project, we would not have been able to open our Tartan Shop and Workshop which, after 10 months is now a profitable social enterprise. She works tirelessly to create new designs, teaches other volunteers and members to make these lovely products, and is an inspiring role model.

Considering the Tartan Shop is entirely volunteer led this win was amazing as it not only applauded the fantastic achievements of Janie but was important in highlighting just how much we value all our volunteers. I was so proud to nominate Janie as she truly is an amazing Ambassador for the Grassmarket Community Project values of kindness, support, and empowerment.

Taking the time to nominate her and then winning the award, sends a powerful message to our staff, members, and volunteers that we will always want to celebrate the brilliant people in the GCP family. She has been with us for many years having started in the Café, and then moved into being the creative brains behind the Tartan Shop when we didn’t even know she was a seamstress! She is constantly developing new products for our range, and we now have our beautiful Greyfriars Tartan items on sale at Edinburgh Castle and Visit Scotland. Janie was delighted to win the award, although she is so very humble, she doesn’t realise how amazing she is! Thank you for celebrating our Volunteer Champion and an inspiring role model for others to follow.

To find out more about Grassmarket Community Project, please visit their website or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.

Social Enterprise Scotland Awards are open

The awards are a real opportunity to showcase the very best of the sector, highlighting the agility, ability and active role that social enterprises play in building places, supporting communities and making a positive impact on our environment and wellbeing.

We have 9 categories available. This is your chance to spotlight the incredible work of your organisation, celebrate your achievements, demonstrate social impact and be recognised as best in sector. All Social Enterprises that operate in Scotland or individuals that work or volunteer in Scotland are eligible to enter. Find out more and start your application