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Woodside Arran, a community-supported organic farm and delivery business, has been awarded a £25,000 grant, which will allow it to hire its first member of staff.
It is the second funding boost for the Kildonan-based social enterprise in the past six months, after director Jennifer MacDonald was voted a young social innovator for 2017 and won £5,000 in the national competition organised by Firstport, Scotland’s social enterprise development agency.
The latest grant, from Firstport’s Build It programme, was announced to coincide with the launch of the social innovation competition 2018.
This year’s competition is celebrating Scotland’s Year of Young People by looking for innovative and enterprising new ideas for working with and for Scotland’s young people. It offers three £5,000 awards, combined with tailored support from Firstport to refine and develop these ideas. The winners, including one young social innovator aged under 30, will be announced in the autumn.
Firstport chief executive Josiah Lockhart said: ‘We are delighted to see the progress of our 2017 social innovation winners, including Woodside Arran, which has just received a £25,000 grant from our Build It programme to expand further.
‘This year we are marking Year of Young People 2018 by asking people to come up with innovative ideas and solutions to social issues or challenges affecting young people aged between eight and 26. This could be through giving them access to new opportunities, helping them to overcome barriers and inequalities, or improving their quality of life.
Jennifer said: ‘Winning the social innovation competition gave us a huge boost of confidence, but also allowed us to support more people to access our services a lot quicker than we would have been able to on our own.
‘It has fast tracked our business by about six months and allowed us to carry out a lot of the activities we didn’t think we would be able to do, at a very challenging time for farming.
‘Winning allowed us to look ahead to the 2018 season and prepare for where we want to be by the end of the year, rather than having to make do with where we are now.
‘Being awarded the Build It grant is incredible news – not only does it guarantee that we will be self-sufficient within one year, but it means we can take on a member of staff straight away to help us with both the busy growing season and getting more people involved with our local food network.
‘This will allow us to build on the momentum we have created so far and reach the many people who live on Arran and who will visit this year.’
For more information on how to enter the social innovation competition details can be found at www.firstport.org.uk/socialinnovation