Social Enterprise

Social Enterprises helping people to live a better life

Social Enterprises helping people to live a better life

Could You Play a Part ??

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 Social Enterprises 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 local Social Enterprises:

‘I was able to out of the house for the first time in 20 years’;

‘support is fabulous. I wouldn’t have been able to get through this without you guys’.

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:; or 01382 800589

The Wise Group wins Business Excellence Award!


Image result for the wise group logo

Building on previous success, The Wise Group, a leading social enterprise in Scotland and the north east of England, secured the Scottish Award for Business Excellence 2017. The award from Quality Scotland was based on a rigorous assessment of business practices and achievements using the European Foundation for Quality Management’s (EFQM) business excellence framework. The organisation also won the award in 2015 demonstrating its sustained and continued focus on excellence. In addition to the top award, the Wise Group also won another three awards: EFQM’s Recognised for Excellence 5 star award; a good practice award for Leading with Vision, Inspiration and Integrity; and a good practice award for Managing with Agility.


The Wise Group has been transforming lives through social enterprise since 1983. Supporting over 50,000 people a year we make a positive difference to people, communities and society by helping customers gain new skills and employment, reducing re-offending, regenerating communities and tackling fuel poverty. We have a clear understanding of the type of support our customers need and have a proven track record of providing both innovative and high quality services. The Wise Group delivers results by working closely with stakeholders and partners.

EFQM was established as a European excellence model and is now recognised globally. Businesses regardless of size, industry and sector use the model to plan and deliver excellence, and benchmark results with others. EFQM is launching a new Global Excellence Index which will feature all award winning organisations.

“Achieving these awards demonstrates our commitment to excellence. Through inspirational leadership, our ability to translate vision into service delivery and our passionate and committed team, we are able to manage change in an increasingly challenging environment. Our customers and partners can be confident in our ability to continually improve and develop high quality innovative services which have real impact on society.” (Jacqui Hepburn, Deputy Chief Executive)

EFQM is recognised across the private, public and third sectors. The achievement of these awards by the Wise Group signifies the crucial role the third sector plays in the delivery of high quality services. It will be more important than ever for organisations to change and adapt to provide effective, efficient and valued services aligned to customer needs.


For further information contact Chris Seely on 07710 250 189


The good work continues – Craigowl

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The name may be changing but the good work continues…
After 12 years of improving the lives of people in Dundee, Craigowl Communities is changing the way they operate.  April 1st, Craigowl’s activities transferred to their sister company, Gowrie Care, who will continue to deliver projects in the city aimed at improving people’s circumstances.

Lynn Cunningham, Craigowl’s managing director explained that

“Craigowl joined the Hillcrest Group six years ago, and this is concluding that merger. With an ever shrinking funding pot, Craigowl like many small charities has to deliver value for money, and by aligning our services with Gowrie Care the important work we have been doing will continue.”

Craigowl delivers services to support people to take steps towards finding and keeping a job, to improve their confidence and self-esteem, to manage debts, benefits and budgeting and to provide opportunities to obtain practical skills and qualifications.

Lynn Cunningham continued that

“Over the last 12 years it is estimated that Craigowl has supported over ten thousand people make positive changes to their lives. Craigowl’s money advice team has helped people claim in-work and other benefits, to the tune of £7.5 m over this period.”

The Craigowl projects will continue to be delivered from The Learning Place in the Hilltown, but under the Gowrie Care name. The expertise Craigowl’s Making Money Work team has developed will not be lost either. This valuable service is being mainstreamed, and the team are moving to Dundee City Council, from where they will continue to deliver the service.

Lynn Cunningham added

“I want to say a big thank you to all the staff that have contributed to Craigowl’s success over the years and wish the teams all the best for the future.”





Aspiring Social Enterprise Meeting – Good Governance

Good Governance
 – Vital for the Health and Wellbeing of your Organisation –
Date: 20th April Time: 14:00 – 17:00
Venue: Factory Skatepark
Beth Curzon
Registration and coffee 1.30pm – Session 2pm – 5pm
For all Social Enterprises and those Aspiring to be a Social Enterprise DSEN is holding a short session on:
  • Good Governance” – What is it? – Board, Trustees, Officers
  • How to get the right people? – Where do I find them? What will they do?
  • How to keep them/ replace them? – Strengths/weaknesses/ meeting skills”
Good Governance is key to running your Social Enterprise effectively, efficiently, legally and safely.
Come along and lean more.
Beth Curzon Good Governance Award Development Officer from Dundee Voluntary Action will be leading the session and Jessie Bruce will be on hand to support Beth.

This DSEN Event is open to all Social Enterprises. To book contact: Raymond Chan at email: or telephone: 01382 504848.


The Long Road To Mandalay (via Hong Kong) Part 4

Angus Greenshields - Development Officer

Angus Greenshields – Development Officer

The Long Road To Mandalay (via Hong Kong) Part 4

Tues 27th Sep 2016

Flight to Myanmar was thankfully uneventful after the excitement at Hong Kong Airport, other than witnessing the most spectacular lightning storm further north over Cambodia – which we fortunately kept well away from.

Although the drive from the airport to the hotel in Yangon (formerly called Rangoon) was at night  we could see that it was quite different from the highly developed metropolis that we had experienced in Hong Kong, with areas of trees, greenery, and ‘normal’ scale buildings.

Wednesday 28th Sept 2016

Yangon's waterfront-area

Yangon’s waterfront area

The following morning looked out of the hotel window to see a quite different city scape, still busy with some modern developments but also with dilapidated buildings, overgrown areas and a general run down appearance.

We had a welcome meeting at the British Embassy, which was hosted by the British Council.  Tristan gave us a really helpful run through of the turbulent history that the country had experienced in the last 70 years.  It had just come out of some 50 odd years of military rule, appointing its first democratic government since the 2nd World War.  During this time it had largely been cut off from the rest of the world and in fact Western countries had imposed trade embargoes which had had further hampered Myanmar’s development.  This was now changing and western countries were becoming more actively involved in the country.

Myanmar sits in a pivotal location, between China and India, both of whom have had long associations with the country.  The Chinese in particular have been investing huge sums of money in the country, including funding large scale infrastructure and transport projects – whilst encouraging growth within Myanmar this of course also meets Chinese needs and will allow them to open up the western inland area of China, which has thus far lagged well behind the economic development of their eastern coast.  India has also looked to develop in underdeveloped east by investing in Myanmar and it will be fascinating to watch how these two rising giant powers vie for supremacy in the area.

We also got a really informative insight into the local economic and political landscape and how this offers advantages, but also barriers to the development of social enterprise.  The British Council has been supporting the development of social enterprises by running a specific development programme in Myanmar and other Asian countries.

We then visited a number of social enterprises in Yangon.

Beautifully produced items at Flame Tree Sewing

Beautifully produced items at Flame Tree Sewing

Flame Tree Sewing and Helping Hands  operate on the same site. Flame Tree Sewing trains disadvantaged women in embroidery and sewing, making beautifully ornate cushion covers, bags, purses, children’s clothing and jewellery. The women are trained centrally, but can then be given a machine so that they can work at home and look after their families for much of the time, coming together with others regularly to check quality etc. Helping Hands (top image) restores old teak furniture. Skilled craftsmen work alongside children who were previously living on the streets to train them to work with the wood, restoring furniture and making new kitchen equipment such as bread-boards, spoons and salad servers. The children are also given a basic education.

We had lunch at LinkAge, which is a small restaurant on the first floor. LinkAge trains street children to be waiters and chefs and the children sleep on a mezzanine floor within the restaurant. The food was really tasty and the enthusiasm and friendliness of the young staff was just a delight.  As we entered the building I looked just above my head to see the fuse box, which was an absolute jumble of wires – this seemed to be a common feature of Yangon, with elements that looked modern and of decent quality, mixed with the most rudimentary and basic amenities and services.

In the afternoon, we took a heritage walk around some of the sights of Yangon with the Yangon Heritage Trust. Yangon still boasts some of the best examples of colonial architecture in the world, but most are in urgent need of major renovation.  The fear is that much of that heritage may be lost with the drive to modernise and upgrade the city.

There were very real signs of poverty, e.g. small wooden shacks selling single cigarettes or street food, which also served as people’s homes.  There was also examples of real ingenuity, where people overcame the lack of affordable office space and were running their offices from the back of a car – using old typewriters rather than lap tops.

Stunning Swe Dagon Pagoda

Stunning Swe Dagon Pagoda

In the evening, we visited the Shwe Dagon Pagoda, which is one the country’s most important Buddhist sites.  Buddhism plays a huge part in daily life, with over 85% of the country being active followers. At one time the main ornate pagoda structure, was said to incorporate more gold leaf and plate than was housed in the vaults of the Bank of England.

Selfie Twins

Selfie Twins

I stopped and gave a small offering to one of the monks and he asked if I wanted to take a ‘selfie’ with him.  He worked in a rural health centre and raised funds for the centre by giving organisational lectures and workshops. He was obviously skilled in promoting his work and offered me a coloured flyer detailing his services, including associated costs – social enterprise with a spiritual slant.

A lovely meal in the Swhe Sa Bwe restaurant

A lovely meal in the Swhe Sa Bwe restaurant

We rounded off a really full day with a visit to another restaurant, Shwe Sa Bwe, restaurant.  They take young people from rural areas and train them to be chefs and waiters in the expanding 5* tourism market. There is a significant skills shortage in these industries and huge opportunities for young people.  Once again we received high quality food and very friendly service.

Till the next blog!

See part five, The Finale HERE!

Important: Opinions expressed by bloggers are their own and don’t represent those of the Dundee Social Enterprise Network organisation,