“Lots of contacts and similar minded individuals to discuss tourism and SE”
“Valuable & Inspiring Information!”
“Great Networking with passionate people”
Just a few of the positive comments from our Making Connections to Realise Opportunities tourism event at Dundee and Angus College yesterday. Thank you to everyone that came along. Below if the full report from our findings. Click Tourism Sector Final Report
Social Enterprises (SEs) are organisations that work in the heart of communities looking to support people to have a better quality of life and improve the environment in which they live. Often they are founded by local people themselves and look to address issues or inequalities that exist within their own communities.
One particular area that SEs are really successful with, is supporting people with their health and social care needs. This may be supporting someone within their own home with daily tasks such as bathing or dressing, enabling them to access the wider community, or simply anything that allows them to live as full a life as possible.
Here are a few quotes from people that have been supported by Social Enterprises: ‘A great, unique and imaginative social enterprise covering the very important topic of mental health’; ‘Anne has been a great support and help, she has also given me a lot of encouragement, being there when I needed her and when I wasn’t well’. ‘I love coming here. It means freedom for me and I get support”
Dundee Social Enterprise Network is an organisation that exists to support individuals or groups to start up and develop their enterprise. This can include support with business planning, start up funding, legal set up advice and linking with other local and national organisations that can also help.
So if you have an idea for an initiative that could support people with their health or social care needs please, get in touch:
firstname.lastname@example.org; or 01382 504848.
Dundee Social Enterprise Network (DSEN) recently celebrated its 10th anniversary by taking a stall at the Festive Market, which ran over a Friday and Saturday. Six DSEN members endured freezing temperatures to showcase their products, in the Slessor Gardens which is located beside the new V&A Museum.
This was the first time that DSEN had supported its members to take part in a city centre market. This was largely because the Social Enterprise Network in Dundee had been predominantly service based, with relatively few organisations producing or selling goods. There was also a view that some of the SE goods might not be of the same standard as those of experienced commercial organisations.
So it was with a wee bit of apprehension that we took our place on the stall as dusk fell on the Friday evening. We had no need to worry however, as the members had put a great deal of thought and effort into ensuring that their products were well produced and professionally branded and packaged. The SEs were also without doubt the most engaging stall holders, chatting with customers and letting them know about what their organisations were all about and the added value that their products offered.
We had a varied range of members present:
The Special Candles Trust design and make bespoke remembrance candles, which are given free to people who are experiencing loss or bereavement. They are produced by ex-service personnel who are facing a range of challenges, and being involved in this work has played a really important part in their recovery journey. SCT were however facing real challenges in terms of funding their work and so have embarked on creating a new commercialised arm, which will produce individualised candles for special occasions, such as retirements and christenings. This has involved working with DSEN to create new branding and packaging as well as creating a more engaging online presence.
Rock Solid is a youth club for young people in Douglas, some of whom are facing a range of challenges. RS run an entrepreneurial scheme, with the young people involved at every stage – from designing the products, to deciding how to distribute the profits. The young folk loved being involved in the market and were demon sales people.
How it Felt is a young social enterprise providing puppet building, drama and film making workshops, focusing mostly on mental and emotional well-being. This can include group workshops, one to one sessions and commissions. Debz and her puppet Little Debz proved really popular with young and old alike.
Dundee & Angus Wood Recycling take old pallets and other unused materials and turn them into a range of fantastic garden furniture, shop fittings and also offer a bespoke design service. They offer everyone the chance to learn new skills, but particularly for those with additional support needs. Richard and his colleagues have faced a lengthy development journey, but now have suitable premises, become incorporated (CIC), a burgeoning order book and an ever increasing range of volunteers wanting to take part. They have just been awarded a development grant from DSEN, which will enable them to buy a van and their next step is looking to finance their first paid member of staff.
Tin Roof is an organisation set up and run by artists in Dundee. They aim to support artists and the wider creative community by providing resources and a collaborative atmosphere. They have just overcome a major barrier this year when they lost their premises, but have co-located with other art initiatives and are back running fantastic pottery and ceramic sessions for the local community.
Uppertunity is a recently formed CIC that offers a skills development and self-determination service to people who might be considered vulnerable. Uppertunity looks at the individual’s strengths and possibilities, and then work with them to create long-term independence. DSEN has supported them with a feasibility grant that allowed them to run a series of trial sessions. Two of the people that take part in the Uppertunity programmes, were part of their sales team and clearly loved the experience.
DSEN has come along way since its inception in 2007, growing from a handful of enterprises, to a dynamic network with 76 members and offering a wide range of goods and services. This Festive Market felt like another step for the Network and it certainly was a success, with a collective sales total of over £1000, with additional orders still coming in. It also helped to spread the message and demonstrate to others what SE is all about.
My role is to support the DSEN team, engage with current and new members to promote their business.
Kirsty Scott, DSEN’s Operations Manager, visited Link up Whitfield Community Service Complex, 101 Whitfield Drive, Dundee, (Inspiring Scotland project hosted by DSEN member, Volunteer Dundee) to meet Sandra Stewart, Community Development Worker for Volunteer Dundee as part of the TSI Outreach programme. Sandra is on hand to provide information and support activities and groups in the Whtifield area every Wednesday 12-2pm and met at the Link Up Lunch Club which provides fresh home made food as part of the Dundee Healthy Living Initiative.
Local residents help run the Lunch Club led by Joe Thomson, Lunch Club Development Officer every Wednesday from 12pm – 1.30pm and it is proving very popular! They are looking for volunteers to help with their new community allotment project where they will be a gardening venture growing vegetables that they can use in the kitchen. If you don’t have green fingers there are other activities going on Monday to Friday that include Camera Club, Baking Group, Dance Group, Arts & Craft and a Cinema Club. They are looking for people to participate in these to get together and meet new people. If you live in the area, pop over and see whats on and if you have a group idea of your own, get in touch with Sandra – email@example.com
For information on the Whitfield Community Service visit www.volunteerdundee.org.uk/community/link-up-whitfield/ and the Outreach programme visit VG Outreach Programme Jan to Mar
The Long Road To Mandalay (via Hong Kong) Part 5
Thursday 29th Sep
It was an early trip on the Thursday morning to visit a rural social enterprise situated on the Ayeyawaddy River Delta. This was an area that was particularly devastated by Cyclone Nargis in 2008, which killed some 140,000 people and left almost 2.5 million homeless. This disaster was compounded by the fact that Myanmar’s isolation meant that initially no foreign aid or support could access the country. Local people and organisations tried valiantly to help, but undoubtedly this was still the worst natural disaster in the countries’ history.
Our bus driver was obviously experienced and skilled, but I eventually had to stop looking out the front window, as the road contained a diverse range of hazards – cows, cyclists teetering along carrying huge bundles, people walking and oncoming vehicles playing chicken on our side of the road.
We were being hosted by a SE, Proximity Designs who support rural communities; providing microfinance, providing farm advisory services and designing and selling farm equipment to improve growing conditions.
We were based in a township called Kyungyangone. It is mainly bamboo huts, surrounded by paddy fields. We spoke to one farmer who has seven acres of paddy, and who has received microfinance from Proximity to develop these fields. The microfinance is offered on a ‘group’ basis, where several smallholders come together to form a group. Although they borrow individual amounts, the group work together to ‘guarantee’ one another’s repayments. They have to attend regular meetings with Proximity, which teach them about farming methods and opportunities for development.
One of the particular farming innovations that people had adopted was to add salt to the water in the rice fields. This helped to kill pests and eliminate unproductive rice shoots. The salinity level was checked by placing an egg on the water – if it just floated, it was perfect.
Temperatures were soaring into the upper 30s, with high humidity and as we toured the paddy fields under the midday sun, I was sure I was about to keel over at any moment.
Villagers were so friendly and hospitable and welcomed us into their homes. I was struck in one of the houses by a picture of young boy in monk’s robes. Over 60% of all males will spend some time as a monk. I could tell that his parents were honoured that their son had taken up this calling, but also that they missed him so much. I could however see the benefits of sending my son to a monastery – occasionally.
This was in truth the closest I did actually get on my ‘Road to Mandalay’ – but maybe closer than Robbie Williams got? The return bus journey to Yangon was again ‘interesting’ – made even more so with a torrential downpour thrown in.
Friday 30th Sep
On the morning, we visited Phandeeyar in down town Yangon. It is an innovation lab who are trying to use technology to benefit society.
Technology is a nascent sector in Myanmar and most developers are self-taught. A smart phone costs on average $23, and data is 1kyat per MB (1,700 Kyats is £1). The result of this is that, even in the rural areas, mobile technology is advancing quickly, and while people don’t have a computer (so don’t use websites), they are more and more frequently using ‘apps’.
Phandeeyar have hosted a number of hackathons, including a highly successful ‘let’s vote’ hack challenge. 30 teams competed over two weeks, and the winning app, which was designed to provide unbiased information in the lead up to the general election had 200k downloads in 5 weeks – and it could be argued played a significant part in ensuring the countries first successful and fair election.
Phandeeyar have core funding from a number of sources but fundraise for individual projects. A recent accelerator programme attracted 80 applicants, and six successful candidates are working in the Phandeeyar office. They also provide co-working space for 30,000 kyat per month and have about 60 users of the space.
In the afternoon we participated in a SE Symposium that attracted delegates from the government and a wide range of national and international stakeholder organisations. This again gave fascinating insights into some of the challenges that SE faces, but also how it is so positively impacting in the redevelopment of Myanmar. There was a somewhat abrupt end to proceedings as we had overrun our time slot and wedding guests led by the very vocal and agitated groom, ‘invaded’ our conference room.
Saturday was our last day in Yangon and we had a tour around the famous Scott Market which is an incredible warren of stalls selling every product under the sun. Once again the temperature and humidity were oppressive and we decided to have a break at a small café. I ordered what was titled a ‘Strawberry Sherbet’ and was eagerly anticipating a long ice cold fruit drink to quench my thirst. A steaming bowl of hot sago soup, with spring onion and a large slice of submerged bread arrived. The owner hovered over me like a mother hen to ensure I finished every drop. Lost in Translation came to mind.
We then set off that evening on another marathon 24hr journey, back to Dundee.
It had been a wonderful, informative, emotional, tiring and inspirational trip and a few special mentions and thank yous: to Gerry, Johnny and Jo from CEIS who had organised it so wonderfully well. DSEN for giving me this fantastic opportunity. Those who organised and delivered the inspiring World Forum. All those who were involved in the life changing enterprises that we visited and to Tristan, Mae and Mimi and all their colleagues from the British Council who so expertly hosted and guided us in Myanmar. And of course to my fellow tour party colleagues from across the globe. A pleasure and a privilege to spend time with you all.
Next World Social Enterprise Forum is in Christchurch in 2017.
Thank You 谢谢 多謝
ကျေးဇူးတင်ပါတယ် Tapadh leat