Thousands in Scotland are doing it and that’s growing all the time. Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant, the Big Issue, Social Bite are just a few that you might know. There’s probably a shop, cafe or even a gym near you that is doing it.
What are they doing? They are making a real difference; the impact they make is driven by social ambition and not just financial gain. These amazing social enterprises are driving a thriving social economy in Scotland and other countries across the world are looking to us for inspiration. Oh, and there’s probably a few near you!
As part of Third Force News Social Enterprise summer campaign I have been investigating ways to spend £100 on social enterprise. Check out my pick of the bunch and don’t forget to sign up to the Third Force News e-bulletin for your chance to win £100.
- Be a superhero
Superman wore his on the outside for a reason. The right pants have the power to make you feel unstoppable. Buy a pair of empowerment pants and you will feel like you have transformed into a superhero!
Bag a pair at £8.99 or even better buy them for 10 friends. Social Enterprise MsMissMrs invests all profit from sales of these super charged undies into a self-empowerment programme to help women rebuild their lives from the bottom (ahem) up. So wear them with pride. You are a force to be reckoned with!
- Cycle on water
Ever tried cycling on water? You can travel along the Canal on a water bike at Bridge 8 Hub, Scotland’s first canal based outdoor activity centre. The Sports hub in South West Edinburgh offers canal based outdoor activities like raft building, kayaking, paddle boarding and cycling on water, known as akwakating. A fun way to explore the canal and you don’t need to be a cyclist! Profits fund educational programmes including 1-2-1 family work, team building and youth work. Akwakating is £50 for a 90-minute session for 2 people. Make a day of it and book for you and family. Be prepared for people stopping to chat to you along the way!
- Try bushcraft
Get into a team building experience at the edge of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, bushcraft style! Green Aspirations is a woodlands based social enterprise with a mission to inspire outdoor learning. For £450 up to 10 people can unleash their wild side on a team building day. Toast marshmallows round the fire that you built, try your hand at woodland activities like tug of war and log lifting. You might even get to play with an axe! You can also book birthday parties, stag and hen dos or holiday clubs and parties for kids. Profits help children and young people to engage with the environment. And there are shelters to hide from the elements on those dreich Scottish days.
- Revamp old furniture
Get in touch with your creative side and in on the growing upcycling movement! Book an upcycling workshop with Upcycled World and you learn creative reuse techniques to help you create vintage on- trend furniture, clothing or jewellery. And you are doing your bit for the environment! You are helping cut waste. And Upcycled World puts profits into education to promote reuse. Check out their free video library of tutorials for inspiration. Start with a furniture painting workshops from £65 – £85 and you still have money left to buy materials like their furniture painting kits from £25.
- Relaxing retreat
Need a bit of a boost? The Dhanakosa Buddhist Retreat Centre offers yoga, hillwalking, Tai Chi, arts and alternative health retreats, with introductory meditation. The Centre is set in southern Scottish Highlands in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park with views over the Loch. An ideal spot to relax. On the week-long retreat, hill-walking and mediation sessions are sure to help you find your Zen. Retreats help fund talks, discussion groups and mediation. So while rebalancing your chakras you are also helping others on their transcendental mission. For a week-long retreat the suggested donation is around £315 with a £75 booking fee
Dhanakosa Buddhist Retreat Centre 01877 384213 dhanakosa.com
- Festival time
It has been dubbed the hippest joint in Glasgow! The award winning Glad Café has an eclectic programme of events, from up and coming local bands to a monthly film club, comedy nights to small theatre productions and an Academy that has featured speakers like Nicola Sturgeon. Through their charity the Glad Foundation they also provide free and affordable music lessons to people in the Southside of Glasgow. Grab two tickets to the Glad weekender festival in August at £35 each and you will have spending money leftover for their selection of amazing craft beers.
- Save a life
Get hands on and learn first aid. After 2 weekends with St Andrews First Aid you will know how to save a life. The social enterprise provides basic first aid courses as well as courses in emergency first aid, baby and child first aid and sports injury courses. Profits support training and support to young people, voluntary work to care for the sick and injured and teaching First Aid skills around Scotland. For £180 you can get a basic first aid certificate.
It’s hard to think of a more rewarding way to spend your £100 than contributing to learning life saving skills.
- Make your own curry
Learn how to cook a Punjabi Curry in less then 2 hours. Inside a train! Take a step back in time at Punjabi Junction on Leith Walk. The social enterprise community café has recreated the atmosphere of an old Indian train and it’s stations. The café offers traditional home cooked cuisine, outside catering and cookery classes. Profits from the café provide Minority Ethnic women with training and employment opportunities. You can feel virtuous while eating your culinary creation. Learn how to make a variety of dishes from starters to different curries with prices for cookery classes from £20. Or just take your loved ones out for a slap up meal. Chapattis or rice anyone?
9. Build leadership skills
The Scottish Social Enterprise Academy is training for leaders who learn by doing. Programmes help social entrepreneurs to make an impact in their communities by learning from each other and above all, developing their strengths. It’s a unique approach to learning and gaining a qualification with courses in enterprise, leadership and social impact from introductory to advanced level. Funded places are available. Go on. Invest the £100 in yourself and see the benefits for your enterprise and for you personally.
10. Rock on with your kids!
Unleash your music mojo and show your kids you are still cool at Dad’s Rock Academy. The perfect way to show support for Year of the Dad!
Learn bass guitar, drums, guitar, keyboard and vocals with your kid. You both get individual tuition, learn in small groups and perform in a band at the end of term show. Dads Rock Academy low cost lessons make music lessons accessible to children and parents. Classes are £7.50 a session so you could fund a whole term. Term starts in September. And it’s not just for Dads. Mums or grandparents can get their rock on too!