Winners of the Social Enterprise Awards Scotland 2023 revealed
The annual Social Enterprise Awards Scotland saw nine social enterprises and social entrepreneurs from across the country presented as the best of the best at an Awards Reception at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 26th October.
The Awards recognise the unique economic and social contribution made by the sector across Scotland.
The top prize, Social Enterprise of the Year 2023, was awarded to the Isle of Skye Ferry, a social enterprise from the Scottish islands. The Isle of Skye Ferry Community Interest Company owns and operates the last manually operated turntable ferry in existence, from Glenelg on the mainland to Kylerhea on the Isle of Skye, across an ancient drover’s route from the Hebrides. All profits are reinvested into preserving the historic vessel, ensuring the sustainability of the ferry service, and supporting other local community groups and events.
Chris Martin, CEO, Social Enterprise Scotland said:
“From tackling the climate emergency to reducing homelessness, social enterprises are taking on some of the biggest challenges we face, using trade to change lives and protect the planet.”
“The quality, variety, and mix of social enterprises who applied for this year’s Awards were of a high standard making it a very difficult judging process. Thank you to all the previous winners and sponsors who methodically looked at every application. We were delighted by the volume of applications which were almost back to pre-pandemic levels, showing that social enterprises are weathering the storms of Covid and a Cost-of-Living Crisis to deliver impact in their local communities.”
The winners were:
Social Enterprise of the Year Award
Supported by Gold Sponsor Keegan and Pennykid
This award is for a social enterprise that has demonstrated a clear vision, excellence in impact, customer service, and management, plus that little something extra in terms of creativity and innovation.
A social enterprise which owns and operates the last manually operated turntable ferry in existence, from Glenelg on the mainland to Kylerhea on the Isle of Skye, across an ancient drover’s route from the Hebrides. All profits are reinvested into preserving the historic vessel, ensuring the sustainability of the ferry service, and supporting other local community groups and events.
Isle of Skye Ferry – winners of Social Enterprise of the Year
One to Watch Award
Supported by Bold Studio
A social enterprise which provides innovative and adventurous learning experiences in schools and communities in Inverness. They help get the community out on positive adventures right on their doorstep meaning every penny raised goes to support their local charitable work.
Environmental Social Enterprise Award
Supported by Circular Communities Scotland
The Social Enterprise Environmental Award is for a social enterprise that is making strides towards creating a better world for people and the planet with their social and environmental sustainability credentials and has demonstrated a clear, evidenced environmental impact.
A one stop shop and the first choice for families in Glasgow shopping second-hand. In 2022-2023 they rehomed 19 tonnes of goods, supporting 16,502 families to make sustainable choices. The shop is also a thriving and nurturing community hub for families to meet, learn, exchange ideas, and be supported. Last year 3,400 people attended 560 events. They run wellbeing and support events as well as discussion groups, a sling library (promoting rental over new), nappucino’s (communicating benefits of reusable nappies), and more. They are partnered with 175 agencies in Glasgow to provide an average of 100 free packs of essential items per month to those facing hardships.
Building Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, & Justice Award
Supported by Social Investment Scotland
This new award recognises that social justice is fundamental to the social enterprise movement. This category considers those social enterprises that are addressing issues around diversity, inclusion, and equity.
An Education and Training provider with a dual purpose, they support the health, social care, education, housing & criminal justice sectors in Trauma Informed Practice. They inform learning and development through their work, ensuring that lived experience is considered in service design and public policy decision making areas in an authentic and meaningful way. As a lived experience led organisation, they influence positive changes across Scotland enabling services to better engage and support people with lived experience.
Health and Social Care Award
Supported by Gold sponsor The ALLIANCE: The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland
This award recognises organisations that deliver excellent support to their users and customers around a health and social care mission, including physical and mental health as well as wellbeing.
Located on Macaulay Farm just outside Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. Macaulay College provides people with additional social and educational requirements with a programme of activities that encourages them to have meaningful and fulfilling working and social lives.
Macaulay College helps people to reach their potential by supporting them at the earliest possible stage. The students mostly come through Social Work/Education department referrals. Education strategies are developed with students to achieve their full potential and reach person specific targets that aim to enrich their working and social life. They support people with a range of additional support needs including Autism, Down’s syndrome, and mental health issues.
Tech for Good
Supported by Breeze Digital (a Community Enterprise Group social enterprise)
This new award recognises a social enterprise that is using technology to achieve its social impact. This could be through developing a new product or service or enhancing their service delivery.
A social enterprise which focuses on digital inclusion services across the Highlands. They aim to improve Digital Inclusion, and overall wellbeing and reduce isolation for vulnerable individuals including older adults, those on benefits, those recently released from prison, those suffering from substance misuse, refugees, and those experiencing homelessness. By distributing devices and offering support, they hope to improve people’s online access and strengthen their abilities. Their work is proudly underpinned by a sustainable ethos, contributing to the circular economy by utilising refurbished devices.
Market Builder Award
Supported by Social Enterprise Academy
This Award is for a social enterprise, public sector body, or private sector organisation that has demonstrably made efforts to create opportunities for social enterprises to grow their revenues and impact by tapping into supply chains and larger networks purchasing power.
The Consortium offers local authorities, housing associations, and other public sector organisations easy access to a range of quality assured reuse furniture and white goods from local social enterprises, removing the need to go through a tendering process. Reuse Consortium members are circular charities and social enterprises that save quality furniture from landfill and create a more circular economy in Scotland. They provide social and environmental benefits through their work and make a difference in their local communities. By buying from the Reuse Consortium, customers support a fairer, more circular, and sustainable Scotland. The Consortium’s vision is for reuse to be at the heart of procurement decisions across Scotland.
Social Enterprise Champion
This Award celebrates an individual working in a social enterprise who goes above and beyond to make a difference, support the mission of the organisation and deliver impact.
Lisa Gemmell, Community and Relationship Mentor, Be-inn Unity CIC
Lisa joined Be-inn Unity as an employee in June 2022 to grow a new initiative with a new partner, Labert High School, as a Community and Relationship Mentor. Lisa works with several groups of children and young people from the most deprived and challenging backgrounds.
Lisa has embodied the values of the organisation of curiosity, authenticity, respect, and empathy, meeting young people she works with consistently with these values, at their developmental stages and offering complete safety in a relationship. Lisa quickly identified that the young people need more than just one relationship in the school community and quickly established other meaningful connections in their community, building a wider network that also offered the young people a deeper sense of purpose, connection, and belonging.
Lisa has now created a space within the school for young people and staff to connect called The Bothy. A social space for teachers and pupils to learn about and support their mental health.
Social Enterprise Volunteer Champion
Supported by Volunteer Scotland
This new Award celebrates an individual volunteering in a social enterprise who goes above and beyond to make a difference, support the mission of the organisation and deliver impact.
Janie Conlon, Tartan Volunteer, Grassmarket Community Project
Janie is an incredible young woman who works so hard at Grassmarket Community Project (GCP), becoming an inspiration to their staff, members, and volunteers, through her drive and commitment to build what is now their successful, profit-making Tartan Social Enterprise.
Working with their Members and other volunteers, many of whom are vulnerable adults who have no previous experience of sewing, she teaches, encourages, and supports them to craft the range of quality items that are now in demand through their shop, online, Visit Scotland and Edinburgh Castle.
If it were not for Janie being so committed to the project, the Grassmarket Community Project would not have been able to open the Tartan Shop and Workshop which, after 10 months is now a profitable social enterprise.
More information can be found at www.socialenterprise.scot/awards
Isle of Skye Ferry CIC, Àban, Circular Communities Scotland Resuse Consortium, Merry-go-round and Resilience Learning Partnership, and Red Chair Highland Ltd have now been added to the shortlist for their respective categories at the UK Social Enterprise Awards which will take place in London on the evening of 30 November.