Much Valued RecognitionPosted: May 10, 2012
The founders of Cyrenians pitched our tent way out on the margins of society. Our purpose is to be ‘out there’ for the people who are not generally cared for. A champion of unpopular causes. It goes with the territory that we struggle for resources. Or that people sometimes question why we are trying to help those who are deemed to have contributed to their own downfall. There are many causes and charities ahead of us in the queue for funding or charitable donations. That’s just how it is.
It was therefore with genuine shock and delight that I heard “Cyrenians” being called forward at last night’s Scottish Business in the Community Dinner and Awards to go up and receive the Social Enterprise Award from HRH Prince Charles. The particular commendation is for the impact our social enterprises make in combating poverty and getting people into a working life. It was also great that amongst the hundreds of guests applauding Cyrenians win were many people and organisations from the business community who are real and enduring contributors to that impact.
Standard Life provided the secondment that helped start our journey into social enterprise in 2005. J.P. Morgan helped us establish the programme that transitions trainees through our enterprise workplaces and into jobs. PwC has given invaluable business advice, especially in commercialising CORE. NHS Lothian has given access to the land for our Community Gardens enterprise. A team from Scottish Gas is helping us with processes and efficiencies. There are dozens of companies who support our social enterprises by being paying customers of our excellent Team Challenge Programme – too many to mention. And dozens more who donate goods in kind – like surplus food that we re-distribute to community kitchens through Cyrenians FareShare, which has been passionately supported for years by The Townhouse Company and Artemis.
Cyrenians Social Enterprises are helping 50 people a year into employment. More than 30 people a year are enabled to make other big changes to their lives by working in the enterprises. Between them the Farm, Gardens, Cook School, FareShare and organics recycling mobilise over 20,000 hours of volunteering, involve schools and dozens of community groups and support us in developing more environmentally and economically sustainable lifestyles.
After this becomes yesterday’s news and the tuxedo is closeted in mothballs we’re back to the hard reality of bringing in enough money to keep these good things happening for people in tough times. Let no-one think that the Award means we’ve made it! We’re certainly not fooling ourselves. We need – and make great use – of every bit of help we can get.So please be encouraged by this to help, and get in touch.