By Hannah Smith
Coach, Facilitator and SEWF 2018 volunteer
As over 1400 delegates arrive in Edinburgh for the SEWF, it’s an incredibly exciting time for social enterprise in the city. Last year, as a delegate at the World Forum in Christchurch, I was really struck by the extent to which the values of social enterprise were woven right through the whole event. This year is no different.
Taking on the challenge of feeding and watering over 1300 bright, busy brains is Edinburgh Social Enterprise who exist to enable the growth of social enterprise in this lovely city. They have convened an incredible array of suppliers who represent the best of the sector in Scotland. There can be no doubt that a huge amount of thought has gone into making sure the impact of the event is as positive for people and planet as it possibly can be.
Across the board, suppliers have been selected for their socially enterprising credentials. Bread for our sandwiches will be provided by Breadshare Community Bakery, whose commitment to people and planet is literally ‘baked in’ to all they do. Snacks, fruit and veg are coming from Locavore – working at the coalface of building sustainable local food systems in Glasgow – and Punjabi Junction who support minority ethnic women with training and employment opportunities. Cheese and chutneys are coming from the Loch Arthur Camphill Community in Dumfries – creating meaningful work for adults with learning disabilities and upholding the highest standards of organic production at their facilities. And sweet treats will be from Grace’s Chocolates – made by women choosing to make positive changes in their lives after experiences with the criminal justice system.
Behind the scenes, the Broomhouse Centre – a community development trust – is providing a team to support the catering operation. Waiting staff have been recruited by Grow Your Own Talent – a new social enterprise recruitment agency who invest their profits in developing their workers’ skills and earning potential. Prep facilities have been provided by the Cyrenians – who help homeless and vulnerable people transform their lives.
Other suppliers are similarly taking care of people and planet in the way they go about their business. People like Skipness Smokehouse – whose award-winning products all come from Scottish, low-density, sustainably farmed sources and Supernature who – alongside producing beautiful rapeseed oil – are working to galvanise the Scottish food industry to address food poverty.
So if you’re coming along and fuelling up, take a moment to think about the lives and stories behind every mouthful. Everyday actions supporting healthier communities and a healthier planet – surely what social enterprise is all about.