DSEN Impact Report

Supporting the DSEN network during the Covid crisis

In mid-March the global Covid pandemic really began to have an impact in the UK and the Government imposed strict lockdown measures.
This impacted almost all areas of life and greatly  restricted the way that most organisations, including our Members, were allowed to operate. Our Members were suddenly unable to carry on their income generating activities such as trading and more traditional fundraising. Most organisations have limited reserves, so faced real and immediate financial difficulties. Read the full report here Coming Together in a Crisis


Senscot SE Reset Week May 2020 

COVID 19 has brought about a new appreciation of what is important and valued in society and the reliance we all have on our local communities. The response to the virus has demonstrated the true value of ‘localism in action’ with community-based social enterprises providing crucial services and a lifeline within their local communities.
As the national focus moves into the next phase of looking towards recovery and developing the road map that can lead us towards a more normal way of life, our sector has also begun to reflect on how best we can support our communities and contribute to what will inevitably be a very difficult journey towards national recovery.
There has never been a more critical time to ensure that the central goal of economic recovery and the various strategies that will deliver it, also delivers collective well-being and greater community resourcefulness which will be essential in order to tackle the deep-rooted inequalities that this crisis has not just laid bare but exacerbated.
The transformed economic climate, new norms and behaviours and, no doubt, increasing service delivery pressures highlight the importance of community-based social enterprises to the economic and social recovery at a neighbourhood level. Our sector has proven to be resilient in crisis and agile in responding to the needs of Scotland’s most vulnerable groups and communities. Read the full report here SE reset report


The Rank Foundation provided £200,000 in funding between July 2015 and September 2018 to Dundee Social Enterprise Network to the provision of start up support for new and young social enterprises in Dundee.

Read the full report below.

Impact Report,  Dundee Futures Fund,  September 2018

The Rank Foundation provided £200 000 in funding between July 2015 and September 2018 to Dundee Social Enterprise Network (DSEN) for the provision of start up support for new and young social enterprises in Dundee.
Support has been given to new enquiries interested in starting up a Social Enterprise (SE) in a variety of ways including one to one meetings, email and telephone support, legal surgeries, training events, branding and pricing days, Social Enterprise Academy 6 day courses (5 courses ran) and follow on support and learning materials.
Feasibility Grants were set in the first year of funding at £300, increased to £1000 later in the year and then up to £1500 in December 2016. The Feasibility Grants were for new social enterprises who wanted to test their ideas, assess the viability for successful trading and consider an appropriate legal incorporation.
Main Grants were available up to £5000 for those who wanted to start their new social enterprises with a formal legal structure or for those within 2 years of starting up who need to overcome a barrier to growth and development.
The grants were branded as Dundee Futures Fund.

Training events were held regularly and opportunities for networking provided so that peer support could be easily accessed. Legal surgeries were run every two months – or more frequently if required -for those needing assistance in setting up and selecting their type of organisation. A comprehensive 6 day SE Academy Training was designed and delivered to all receiving a Dundee Futures Fund Grant. Mentoring and specific assistance was accessed as required through corporate and associate DSEN Members. New start-ups were offered continued one-to-one support as required.
There was a significant increase in Grant Applications in 2017/18 for both Feasibility (£1500) and Main grants (£5000). This was due in part to the increase of Feasibility Grant, and partly in SE organisations now having had time to carry out their Feasibilities and test their ideas before progressing to a Main Application as incorporated organisations.
Consistent, experienced and qualified support staff were provided for the new start-ups and this also helped with the ongoing progress and growth of the social enterprises.

Annual grants awarded are shown below.
Feasibility grants awarded in 2016/17 – 6 Main grants awarded in 2016/17 – 3
Feasibility grants awarded in 2017/18 – 18 Main grants awarded in 2017/18 – 13

The Social Impacts delivered cover a wide spectrum as shown below and have improved people’s lives in significant ways as also illustrated by the case studies following.
Approximately 885 people have been helped each month through the creation of new social enterprises resulting from the Grants provided from the Dundee Futures Fund.

Economic Development
The creation of 38 new social enterprises over two years has enabled the employment of 43 people in a mix of full-time / part–time and sessional workers. Funds to the value of £462,400 have been attracted into Dundee from national trusts and foundations and through working in partnership with other national social enterprise agencies. Local charitable organisations have also provided grants and trading within the Enterprises has increased to an average of 44%.

Areas of Social Impact have included
Health – Autism; Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); Mental Health; Physical fitness; Body Positivity; Pre and post maternity Support; Healthy eating; Stroke support; Parkinson’s; Bereavement; Social Isolation; Anxiety, Depression
Education and learning – Cultural understanding; Language Translation; Musical Instrument tuition; Life and social skills; Confidence and self-esteem; Independent living; Employment skills; Physical Activities – sport; dance; drama; Parenting; Weaning: Heritage; Yoga; Nature and Environment; Art recycling; Woodworking; Theory Driving Test; British Citizenship Test
Environment – Recycling of plastic and glass; Upcycling of excess goods and materials; Understanding of local nature; Organic and local food supply;
Community Creative Industries – Ceramics; Spoken word; Dance – Ballet; hip-hop; Dance for tots; Burlesque; Arts hub; Puppetry; Candle Design; Wooden products – garden furniture and accessories; Art for community inclusion, ADHD, older people etc.; Work Choirs; Inclusive Pipe Band
Disadvantage and Disability – Children and Young people – Mental, physical and emotional wellbeing; Additional Support Learning needs; Older people – health and economic poverty; Social and community inclusion – alcoholism, drug addiction; Advocacy for individuals, families.

Case Studies
Spoken Word / Movement / Dance/ Stroke victims – Artifact Dance Company
“In our work with stroke survivors, participants felt comfortable enough to challenge themselves to learn some Hip Hop dance moves. They took it upon themselves to practice these movements at home. We talked about the ethos of Hip Hop dance in that every move should be adapted to fit our own bodies. One participant revealed that he used to Jive, but that had stopped when he had his stroke. He is now practising in the mirror at home; adapting his Jive movements to fit the way that his body now moves, as a direct result of our programme.”

Health and Environment
Nature walk / Yoga / Mindfulness – Wildcat Sakti
“I would highly recommend a WildCat Sakti adventure. The collaboration between mother and daughter, nature and yoga and forest and beach was endearing and inspiring. A real passion for nature was evident and was infectious. The group exercises were mindful and thought provoking and facilitated wider connect to the environment. I would highly recommend and can’t wait for the next adventure”.

Health / Disability / Disadvantage
ADHD/ Confidence building/Employability
“X suffers from ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and was brought along to the group by his mother. X did not want to participate or join with others at all. The Sports Worker worked closely on a one to one basis and managed to have X help with getting equipment out for games etc. Eventually X started to join in and now volunteers with the group and is also learning how to do PAT testing and help out in the Charity Shop to learn new skills. X’s confidence and ability to communicate with others has improved so well and x now believes he has abilities which will help him get a job.”

Health / Education
Independent living / Upskilling / Mental Health
“Uppertunity has given X a real big purpose during the week which is great. X looks forward to it, which is good for X’s mental health and X is busy and learning. I mean I would never have imagined X at an Allotment ever, but Danielle just has a magic touch to encourage them to do things that they would never imagine doing. Even the sewing I would never have imagined that Then there is the Meal makers too”.

Health / Mental Health
Parenting / Post-natal / Depression – Nurture Parents
“One woman came along to Nurture Parent’s pop up for the first time 2 weeks after taking an overdose.
She had been struggling with her mental health for months since the birth of her son and had sought help from her HV and GP only to be told that her condition was “not bad enough.” She had looked for support and could find nothing in Dundee until she spotted our Facebook page. She was very brave to walk into the cafe that first day, she has attended every week since and has grown in confidence to such an extent that she has recently become a Trustee. Together we will be working to develop Nurture Parents into an organisation that can offer a helping hand to the many parents who need information and an extra bit of support.”

Significant Changes

Some of the significant changes that occurred within the new social enterprises as a result of the initial Dundee Futures Funds support and grant awards are shown below:

• Increased community relationships
• More contracts
• Change in types of volunteers
• New Board – greater commitment
• Expansion of activity
• Increased Trading Activity
• Leverage of investment from Creative Scotland
• Sustained activity
• Attracted more interest
• Greater community engagement
• Critical step to start
• Sustainability at critical time
• More support and referrals
• Clearer Strategic Vision
• Able to critically evaluate

The grants provided by the Dundee Futures Fund and the continued and relevant support by DSEN development staff have enabled real differences to be made within people’s lives whilst improving the economic viability of social enterprises.