• Category: Social Enterprise Alliance Midlothian

    Midlothian’s Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund is NOW OPEN

    A new fund to support mental health and wellbeing is being launched in Midlothian today with £241,000 to be distributed to local third sector organisations and community groups. Social enterprises will also be able to benefit from the Fund, which aims to promote initiatives that will benefit adults aged 16+.

    The money will help to address the impact of social isolation and loneliness caused by the pandemic, as well as health inequalities that have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The funding has been provided by the Scottish Government as part of a wider £15 million programme for Covid-19 recovery and renewal.

    In Midlothian, the Fund will be overseen by representatives from the TSI, Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership, Midlothian Council, Health in Mind, Penumbra, CAPS Collective Advocacy and people with lived experience. There will be £241,000 across three separate grant streams consisting of micro-grants up to the value of £2000, small grants up to £10,000 and a limited number of larger grants in the region of £30,000 each. Money will also be available for capital spend on land or building projects, to compliment the small and larger grant streams.

    Lesley Kelly, Chief Officer of Midlothian TSI, which includes Midlothian Voluntary Action and Volunteer Midlothian, said of the Fund, ‘We are really excited to have been given this money to distribute locally, whilst working together with our partners over the next few months. We know that there is a huge amount already going on in Midlothian’s communities to support mental wellbeing. The Fund will help local groups and organisations to build capacity, enabling more people to make social connections and access opportunities that promote mental wellbeing.’

    It is hoped that a similar amount of money will also be available in the next financial year (2022-23) and that creative proposals will be received for a wide range of activities with a focus on wellbeing in the community. Priority areas include recovery from addiction, social isolation and loneliness, suicide prevention, dementia community supports, access to physical activity, support for carers and anything else to promote mental wellbeing for adults aged 16+ at a grassroots, local level.

    To find out more, go to the Funding page on MVA’s website, where you can read the Partnership Plan and Fund Guidance. Application forms can be downloaded from there. Please also share this article and spread the word about the Fund with others in Midlothian.

    Image: metin.gul

    Social Enterprise in the Spotlight: Penicuik Carbon Challenge

    With the UN Climate Change conference (Cop26) happening in Glasgow from Sunday 31 October to the 12th of November, Fraser Waugh caught up with Rene O’Reilly at the Penicuik Carbon Challenge (PCC) to talk about all things eco-friendly, sustainable, and how this project aims to educate residents on how to lead more eco-conscious and less wasteful lives.  

    How did PCC get started?

    The Storehouse Penicuik sells goods that are good for people, the community and for the planet, always ethically sourced and local as possible. Everything we sell uses small-scale suppliers and short supply chains to ensure sustainability and traceability. Through this, and our customers shopping with us, we aim to be a pivot point in enabling people to live a more sustainable life.

    What are some of the responsibilities you have at the PCC?

    I deal with the zero waste lifestyles portion of Penicuik Carbon Challenge i.e. bicycles re-makery, the tool library, eco art classes, fixing and repairing normal everyday household objects, use surplus food to supply to Food Facts Friends and am involved in a variety of other community projects as well

    Crochet crafts at PCC!

    How does someone go about volunteering at the PCC? What roles could they get involved in?

    They can come to us directly at our premises in Penicuik town centre where they can share their ideas and what they are most interested in, so that they can share their skills and expertise with others who come in asking about getting help with that specific service that PCC offer.

    It’s all own the volunteer’s own terms- if they want to do something we don’t currently offer we can facilitate this. And we are very open to suggestions- we have a space for this on sticky notes at the front our place on John street.

    Tell us how you seek to be a hub for the community?

    We see our location in the town centre as a marketing tool because it is essential for people to know more about what we do at PCC. By engaging with the community in this way at our premises we talk to a wide range of people that we wouldn’t usually, therefore widening our audience and opportunities for promotion.

    What can people get involved in?

    This is our autumn programme of activities which will be updated with new events taking place in the future, here’s what you could expect:

    PCC’s Autumn Programme of Events- more to follow in the future!

    When people come into PCC they often ask if we would take…?

    And the answer usually is yes! We do even if we haven’t taken anything in like that before! We take everything and anything, we’ll find a way to reuse/recycle it to be as useful as possible- to give it a second life. It is all about learning to repurpose seemingly useless items.  These could be donations of bikes, tools, electronic goods that we have a specialist that PAT tests for us, materials for art classes etc.

    *****

    As Rene has mentioned the PCC’s mission is to enable people to live more sustainable lifestyles within Penicuik and the surrounding areas. This is in parallel to two of Cop26’s goals- adapt to protect communities and natural habitat and working together to deliver climate change targets. Penicuik Carbon Challenge achieve this by adjusting people’s habits, working together and getting them active in the natural environment- all reducing their carbon footprint and taking steps closer to net zero targets.

    Social Enterprise in the Spotlight: Mayfield and Easthouses Development Trust

    The green shoots of community-led regeneration are bearing fruit in Mayfield. Mayfield and Easthouses Development Trust (MAEDT for short), is showing how local communities can address social issues such as poverty and loneliness while also helping to combat climate change. MAEDT used the lockdown period to incubate two social enterprise projects that are already bringing benefits to local residents. First, they have transformed the old pavilion and bowling green in Mayfield Park into a beautiful café, meeting space and community garden. With the help of a new staff team including Phil (pictured below) and local volunteers, the garden is now bearing its first crops of fruit and vegetables. These are available to customers for a small donation.

    The Pavilion café is open for lunches as well as teas and coffees. It also has meeting rooms and an outdoor shelter that can be hired for all sorts of community events. People interested in volunteering are encouraged to drop into the garden and have a chat with Phil. The project will also be part of Midlothian’s first Green Prescribing programme, through which local GPs and other NHS health practitioners can informally ‘prescribe’ some clients to get active in their community in order to support recovery and improved health. 

    MAEDT has also opened Midlothian’s first community Food Pantry. The Pantry, which aims to help members make their money go further and support local households out of food poverty, is open to people who live in Mayfield and Easthouses. Since opening, it has already gained more than 200 members who can shop once a week.  Each shop costs £3.50 and members can purchase food, toiletries and other household essentials, typically worth up to £15.00. Warris (pictured below) and his team of volunteers are keeping the pantry well stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables from the

    garden, donated from the local Tesco at Hardengreen and through a partnership with Mark Murphy Total Produce Group   As well as non-perishable goods second-hand school uniforms and winter coats for children are also available. The Pantry is located at MAEDT’s office in Bogwood Court and is open Tuesdays and Thursdays 10-2 and Wednesdays 1-6.

    To launch these projects, MAEDT has secured grants from Midlothian Council, National Lottery Community Fund, the Supporting Communities Fund and the DTAS Pockets and Prospects Fund, as well as smaller amounts from Foundation Scotland, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Greenspace Scotland, and the Mushroom Trust. There have also been donations from the Co-op, Scotmid and the Jafaria Foundation in Easthouses. Income through trading activities will help sustain the projects as they grow. 

    Sharon Hill, Trust Manager, is looking forward to what the future will bring for MAEDT and the community: 

    We have plans to move and develop as our customers feedback to us.  We can already see how the Pantry can grow and change with time and member involvement, and the possibilities for growth in the garden and pavilion are almost endless.  It’s an exciting time for us and we are grateful for the support of our volunteers, members, customers, funders and partners.” 

    Social Enterprise in the Spotlight: The Storehouse, Penicuik

    Fraser Waugh recently caught up with Aglaia Kempinski, the Community Development Manager at the Storehouse in Penicuik to talk about all things eco-friendly, organic, and how this store aims to take its customers on a sustainability journey. Let’s get our teeth (pun intended) into finding out all about The Storehouse:

    Tell us about your mission
    The Storehouse Penicuik sells goods that are good for people, the community and for the planet, always ethically sourced and local as possible. Everything we sell uses small-scale suppliers and short supply chains to ensure sustainability and traceability. Through this, and our customers shopping with us, we aim to be a pivot point in enabling people to live a more sustainable life.

    Tell us more about what is on offer at the Storehouse
    • A refillery within the shop for essential and organic produce, so customers only buy what they need and refill when they need to, vastly reducing plastic waste. This includes household supplies such as washing up liquid and shampoos/conditioners
    • We now have our café area back up and running serving freshly made cakes, toasties, sandwiches and hot drinks amongst other tasty treats to takeaway as well
    • Many shelves filled with fresh, organic fruit and vegetables, drinks, fresh meat and dairy, dried goods, and household supplies
    • A fruit and veg box scheme that can do deliveries within the local area
    • Locally- crafted gifts such as knitted goods, cards, jewellery and accessories
    • We now have a second-hand bookshop in store, catering to all genres and readers of any age.

    Penicuik Storehouse

    Tell us how you seek to be a hub for the community?
    We are a community-owned and led social enterprise with close relationships with our local customers and volunteers. We want the Storehouse to be a focal point not just for shopping but for community activities and learning.

    Volunteering is really important to us. It is all about volunteers building skills and providing an experience that customers will want to continue to be a part of and come back to. It’s a great place to develop skills that can be used in any retail capacity.

    The store is also all about giving back to nature as we take away from it. We have a gardening section within the store, where left-over seedlings can be donated, and ‘wonky’ fruit and vegetables are sold instead of going to waste.

    How does someone go about volunteering at the storehouse? What roles could they get involved in?
    This is mainly a volunteer lead shop so volunteers could be doing a variety of different roles within the store- what you put in is what you get out of it! To get involved or if anyone requires more information, please contact hello@penicuikstorehouse.org

    The Penicuik Storehouse is open seven days a week, Monday to Saturday: 9:30am – 5:30pm and Sundays 10:30am – 3:00pm in Penicuik town centre. Make a small change to make a big difference!

    Third Sector Growth Fund: One to Watch Out For

    The Scottish Government’s Third Sector Growth Fund will provide loan funding of £30 million to social enterprises and charities in Scotland. The fund aims to help the sector access new forms of investment in order to grow. It also seeks to support our sector to recover from the pandemic and become more sustainable.

    Further details about the Third Sector Growth Fund, including what types of social enterprises and charities will be eligible for the funding, and details of how to apply, will be published later this spring. Check here for more.

    Make a change in your community

    The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the best in Midlothian communities. We’ve seen people banding together to look after neighbours and the environment. Now is time to think about the next steps and keep that energy going. Do you want to make change in your community?

    Midlothian Council’s Communities and Lifelong Learning Service and Midlothian Voluntary Action have created a free four-week introductory course to community changemaking which starts on 1 June 2021. The course will be led by Daniel Baigrie (Midlothian Council) and Rebecca McKinney (MVA), both with many years’ experience in community development and changemaking.

    Find out more about the course.

    Covid can’t stop Randori Judo!

    Randori’s new judo centre in Dalkeith

    Just a couple of years ago, Mark Taylor walked into our office in Dalkeith with a dream: to start a social enterprise that would share the physical, emotional and social benefits of judo with children, young people and adults across Midlothian. He founded Randori Social Enterprises in 2018, running clubs and classes in schools around Midlothian.

    In the spring of 2020, facing all of the uncertainty that the pandemic brought, Mark took the brave decision to sign the lease on an industrial unit at Hardengreen Business Park. During the lockdown period, the Randori team worked relentlessly, galvanising the support of their members, local businesses and the wider community to fully refurbish and kit out their brand new dojo, complete with sprung floors, mats, mirrors and much more.

    SEAM worked alongside Firstport and Midlothian Business Gateway to ensure that Randori had the business support they needed and were able to make the most of available funding opportunities. The new Randori dojo is now up and running. It is an amazing space and an inspiring example of social entrepreneurship in Midlothian. Locate in Midlothian recently featured this article about Randori. You can also follow what Randori is up to on Facebook.

    SEAM and MVA are having a clear out

    A lot has changed since the pandemic happened, and it’s certainly been a very challenging time for many organisations, especially not being able to get into our work places very easily.

    This picture of Rebecca was taken before lockdown, but we are actually still in the process of sorting out our office and meeting room on White Hart Street in Dalkeith. We are hoping that when life can return to ‘normal’, the TSI premises will be a safe, warm and supportive space for local third sector organisations to come for a one to one session, some training, or even just a general catch up to say hello and tell us how it’s been during lockdown.

    We look forward to seeing you once our space is sorted out and the regulations allow it. In the meantime – see you on Teams or Zoom!