From real nappies to good-quality preowned toys and kids activities, central Scotland is packed full of social enterprises making family life better
1. Kidzeco, West Lothian
Kidzeco sells preowned children’s clothes, toys, and equipment from its online shop as well as its stores in Bathgate and Livingston. This is great for the environment as well as mums and dads. The shops also have family areas – facilities which offer baby essentials like nappies, highchairs, and bottles, as well as space for breastfeeding – all free of charge. There is a room available for hire for children’s parties that is also rented out for free for community events. Kidzeco runs a fun with fabric project, where donated fabrics are given a new lease of life as quilts, cushions, and other items, renovated by volunteers. Annually it also runs a bumpathon, where pregnant women’s bumps are painted to raise funds for charity, so far its pulled in £10,000 for worthy causes in just four years.
2. Dads Rock, Edinburgh
Dads Rock aims to provide fun activities and support for all fathers and male care givers. It offers three free playgroups on Saturdays and one on a Sunday for dads and their kids aged 0-5. Dads Rock also provides free weekly counselling sessions to dads, mums, and all other care givers in Edinburgh, as well as its Growing Dads project where young dads and their kids can grow and learn about veg. It also runs Dads Rock Academy, which helps parents connect with their kids by rocking out together. The academy offers weekly music tuition for all skill levels throughout the school term, and works towards making music accessible for all children while creating a passion for music for kids and adults alike.
3. The Village Storytelling Centre, Glasgow
The Village Storytelling Centre in Glasgow believes in the importance of storytelling as a form of expression and a way of building a strong sense of identity. It has classes for children of all ages that mix drama, music, and art, and where kids can meet new friends, build their confidence and creativity, and have fun. The centre celebrated its 15th anniversary this year with The Village Storytelling Festival, which brought together storytellers form across the UK as well as performances from community groups across Glasgow. The centre also runs projects such as Creative Sparks, which works with young carers to give them a fun creative outlet and the chance to meet and connect with their peers.
4. The Larder Cook School, West Lothian
The Larder Cook School in Livingston aims to end food poverty in the area and change people in the community’s relationships to food. All of its profits are invested into training programmes for disadvantaged young people, helping them improve their chances of finding work in the hospitality industry. It runs a summer holiday cook school for kids aged over 9, where qualified tutors oversee their creations of impressive meals. This September the Larder is also running The Great Larder Bake Off competition for kids aged over 9 with experience of baking.
5. Merry Go Round boutique, Glasgow
A boutique in the Southside of Glasgow, Merry Go Round sells donated children’s and maternity clothes and recycles everything it can’t sell. All of its profits go toward creating employment opportunities for the community in the shop and helping to fund Merry Go Round’s event schedule, which includes activities such as the Tonic Tinies music session for 18 month to three year olds, and Pater Patter where dads get the chance to catch up over coffee.
6. Real Nappies, Edinburgh
Instead of throwing away around 4,000 regular nappies that will take 300 years to decompose in a landfill, the Real Nappies project offers parents an environmentally and wallet friendly option of reusable, washable cloth nappies. The nappies are easy to use, comfortable, and offer natural protection without perfumes or chemicals. There is a large variety of nappies available, and a starter kit comes in at only £12 for Edinburgh residents, with the cost subsidised by the City of Edinburgh Council. For people outside the capital, there’s also a guide to the benefits of real nappies, including a directory of retailers.
7. Babes in the Wood, Bishopbriggs
Babes in the Wood sells pre-owned clothes, toys, and other essentials for newborns to children up to seven. Everything comes at a low price and the shop uses its profits to fund yoga classes for babies and toddlers. These classes are beneficial to the children’s health as well as promoting healthy relationships between them and their families. It also offers a Baby Basics Service, which collects donations to provide essential items for raising a baby to parents who are can’t afford them. The service both helps reduce child poverty while creating awareness of the issues families in the area face.