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Budget provides protection for sector

Social enterprises ‘playing a key role in economy’

Alex Neil GrassmarketSocial enterprises are being protected by the Scottish Government via a £24.5 million package of support for the next year.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice Alex Neil highlighted the vital work of the third sector during a visit to the Grassmarket Community Project in Edinburgh.

It operates a community café, woodwork and is now selling its tartan products through third party outlets as well as offering a range of social integration and educational activities for users.

Mr Neil said: “A thriving third sector boosts economic growth and plays a major role in our drive for social justice.

“That is why we are investing in our diverse third sector, and positively encouraging the growth and development of social enterprise. We want the sector to continue to play its important role in delivering quality services, engaging with communities and supporting the vulnerable in society.

“The Grassmarket Community Project is a fantastic example of a third sector social enterprise that is making a real difference to the lives of people in our communities at the same time as creating economic opportunities. Its facilities, classes and social enterprises give vulnerable local people the chance to integrate socially, gain confidence and learn new skills.

“It also demonstrates the difference which Scottish Government support can make to organisations, whether they need help in getting started, or with developing their business in a particular direction.

“We look forward to working closely with community groups, voluntary organisations, charities, social enterprises, co-operatives and individual volunteers over the year ahead to ensure the support we provide continues to be effective, and sets Scotland apart as a world leader in supporting and working with the third sector.”

Jonny Kinross, chief Executive of the Grassmarket Community Project said: “We believe passionately that people should have somewhere to live, something to do and someone who cares about them and many people don’t have this in place and that’s where we come in.

“We achieve this by delivering over 30 activities a week; creative, cultural, educational and development programmes such as art, drama, a community garden, IT classes, hillwalking, table tennis, groupwork and much more.

“Our social enterprise gives us the flexibility to make long term commitments to people to journey with them for as long as takes for them to turn their life around.

“Anyone who wishes to volunteer their time or make a donation should do so and if people want to make a difference to the lives of our members by simply buying social – from our café or hiring our space for their wedding then they should do so. Everything we sell is of the highest quality and has the highest social impact.”

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