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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Successful social enterprise becomes a charity

This news post is almost 8 years old

​Workshop Aberfeldy has had a real and positive impact on the community.

After a successful first 18 months in business, social enterprise The Workshop Aberfeldy has become a charity.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney officially launched the new charity last week.

The Workshop Aberfeldy is a social enterprise which offers low-cost, high-quality solutions in woodwork, engineering and laser cutting while providing work experience and practical training opportunities.

It was initially incubated by charity Project Northern Lights and recently left the nest to fly on its own.

There is a palpable sense of progress and renewal in Aberfeldy at the moment and The Workshop is contributing to this dynamic

The enterprise focuses on young people who have struggled with mainstream education but also helps those with mental health issues and learning difficulties.

The Workshop Aberfeldy has had a real impact on the community since its opening in June 2014. It has worked with 42 individuals. 37 of these are under 25 and 21 of these have additional support needs.

Paul Parmenter, the workshop’s founder, said: “We have a passion for providing young people with training and employment opportunities in rural areas. Becoming independent really validates The Workshop as a concept. It enables us to continue to grow and offer more opportunities to people, including those with additional support needs.”

Paul received £24,000 from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund, which is managed by Firstport, Scotland’s national agency for start-up social entrepreneurs.

He used the initial funding to get the venture off the ground and it has since been going from strength to strength.

The Workshop Aberfeldy has also received funding from SSE Griffin Wind Farm Community Fund, The Ellis Campbell Foundation, Big Lottery Fund Young Start and Awards for All, Charis Trust, Project Northern Lights and Perth & Kinross Council Employment Support.

Karen McGregor, chief executive of Firstport, sais: “We are very pleased to have supported Paul from the start and to have helped his venture take off. The success of The Workshop Aberfeldy is proof that social enterprise is a valid and sustainable business model that makes a real difference in local communities. The Workshop Aberfeldy also has great potential to expand across Scotland.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney added: “The Workshop has enjoyed exceptional success since getting off the ground and is delivering real benefits for those gaining work experience within its operation. The commercial success which has followed is a credit to the whole team and shines a light on the increasing importance of the social enterprise model. There is a palpable sense of progress and renewal in Aberfeldy at the moment and The Workshop is contributing to this dynamic. I wish The Workshop every success in the coming years and I look forward to my next visit.”