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Enterprising communities

Published: 19 Mar 2016 11:00

Funding for groups to build their own enterprises.

A charity that helps to develop and support entrepreneurs in some of Scotland's poorest communities will be expanded into four new local authority areas thanks to a £225,000 funding boost.

WEvolution currently works with 26 groups in Glasgow, Paisley, Inverclyde, Edinburgh and Dundee bringing people together to develop enterprising ideas and learn new skills.

This funding will help WEvolution establish an extra 30 groups including in the new areas of East Ayrshire, West Dunbartonshire, Fife and East Renfrewshire and to look at how they can develop retail outlets in city centres to help sell the products.

WEvolution creates self-reliant groups where people come together regularly to learn a new skill like knitting, cooking or sewing, at the same time as saving £1 every time they meet into a common fund. They can then use their savings to start a small business, producing crafts or baking to sell and then earn an income to support themselves and their families.

Existing groups include the Provanmill Self-Reliant Group whose eight members raised finance to set up a lunch club, which then generated enough income for a community laundry. Other enterprises include the Rainbow Creations Self-Reliant Group with members creating colourful tie-dyed baby clothes, muslins and totes as well as crochet blankets to sell.

Mr Biagi announced increased Scottish Government support for the project on a visit to WEvolution's new offices in Glasgow where he met women who have set up micro-businesses.

He said:

"WEvolution is giving people in some of the most disadvantaged communities in Scotland the skills and confidence to become entrepreneurs with some members going onto find employment.

"From setting up lunch clubs to creating baby clothes the self-reliant groups are tackling loneliness and isolation and giving members the determination and creativity to generate their own incomes. This in turn is helping to bring themselves and their local areas out of poverty.

"I hope this new Scottish Government funding will help communities in East Ayrshire, West Dunbartonshire, Fife and East Ayrshire access hands on business support and come up with entrepreneurial ideas.

"The Scottish Government recognises the talent that exists in our communities that suffer disadvantage. Giving people a chance to participate in self-reliant groups helps unlock that and shows everybody what people can achieve when they work together. To truly tackle inequalities we need to empower the disempowered."

WEvolution was created through a Church of Scotland initiative. The church's Ministries Council has made £200,000 available to WEvolution which has gone towards 'WeeChange', a microfinance initiative which offers interest free loans of up to £2,000 to the groups.

Rev Neil Glover, Convener of the Ministries Council said:

"It is hugely encouraging that the Scottish Government has recognised the contribution made through WEvolution to the transforming of people's lives in some of Scotland's poorest communities.

"Many of the SRGs are located in Church premises and this government funding will double the support already available from church funds to enable this incredible work to expand."

Jim Spowart, Chair of WEvolution said:

"WEvolution are very grateful for the continued support from the Scottish Government. This substantial funding allows Wevolution to continue with its efforts in areas of the community where individuals would be denied the opportunity to develop their business ideas and skills.

"Since WEvolution launched some 200 individuals have benefited and this funding allows this good work to continue."

Notes to editors

The model takes its inspiration from the self-help group (SHG) model in India which is currently empowering some 100 million women economically and socially.

More information is available at: http://www.wevolution.org.uk