This month I think we're all in a state of limbo. There's no longer a summer holiday buzz, the successful Commonwealth Games are over but something rather unique is going to be happening next month, the chance to vote on the future governance of our country. HISEZ are holding a special networking event in Inverness next month on the Independence Referendum. There is also some guidance below for charities on this subject and a briefing paper which suggests ten steps you could take to become ready for constitutional change. Whether we are Yes or No on this matter it certainly seems to have sparked debate and encouraged more of us to take part which has to be a good thing. 

And still on politics, our Chief Executive Brian Weaver has been taking the social enterprise struggle with procurement, namely the scale of public contracts, to the Scottish Parliament. As reported by the Sunday Herald, Brian made the case for local authority contracts to be broken down in size to give social enterprises a better chance of competing for them while at the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee session last week. Watch this space for any future developments. If you do have a burning issue you want to take to a higher authority then please speak to us at HISEZ. We do get the ear of those that matter in the Scottish Parliament over the course of the year and it is our job to convey your hopes and fears and our own experiences of the issues you face. And it might even make the Sunday papers.

Where better to share your thoughts than at one of our networking lunches. We are in Stornoway this month. Join us on Monday 25th August for a free lunch and let us know how things are going in your enterprise. 
If like us you've noticed the nights drawing in and are thinking about getting the open fires and wood burners going, Lochbroom Woodfuels, our Social Enterprise of the month, are worth finding out about.  


Building Something Worthwhile - Monday 25 August from 12-3pm
The Woodlands Centre, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis HS2 0XP
This networking lunch will look at the shared experiences of social enterprises in financing their business.  Come along to learn about sources of financial support, and for insights on generating revenue.

Sign up here for your free place.

HISEZ Networking Evening - The Independence Referendum
Tuesday 9 September ~ 6 - 8.30pm
Velocity Cafe and Bicycle Workshop, 1 Crown Avenue, Inverness, IV2 3NF

Still unsure how to vote in next month's Referendum? Come along to this free neutral event in Inverness where we will have a panel of people with a social enterprise background to tell you why they are Yes, No and undecided. Refreshments will be provided.
To sign up for this free event click here.
Just Enterprise Workshops 

Budgeting for Your Organisation and Funding Applications 9.30am - 4pm
Tuesday 4 November 2014 - Oban

This is a full day participative course on budgeting. All course materials including linked spreadsheets will be made available to delegates following attendance at the course. Course contents include:

  • How to construct an Income & Expenditure Budget
  • How to construct a cash flow budget
  • How to adapt these models to show funders why you need their intervention and the financial effect it will have on your organisation
  • This is a practical course and delegates will be required to bring along a calculator and writing materials. Constructing a budget for Income & Expenditure and for cash flow is also covered in our 2-day Finance for Practitioners course.

Tendering for Contracts - Introductory Workshop 9.30am - 4pm
Wednesday 8 October 2014 - Aberdeen
Thursday 20 November 2014 - Perth

The Just Enterprise programme of tendering workshops has been designed to provide support for enterprising third sector organisations who want to respond to public sector tender opportunities. Facilitated by Just Enterprise procurement experts, the workshops are structured to provide learning at two levels (introductory and advanced) and are offered at no cost to those attending. This introductory workshop is aimed at third sector organisations with little or no knowledge of public sector tendering.
Topics covered include:
  • Where to find opportunities
  • Legal considerations
  • Terminology and how the process works
  • Getting ready to tender
  • How buyers evaluate bids
  • Top Tips for a good tender

To book your place at any of the Just Enterprise courses click on this link.

Places for all workshops are limited and are offered on a first come, first served basis so please book early to guarantee your place. All workshops are free of charge for members/staff of third sector organisations.

Just Enterprise is a Scottish Government funded programme specifically designed to assist the growth of Scotland’s third sector. Visit or telephone 0141 425 2939 for details of the full range of support available.

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has published guidance on the Independence Referendum that sets out the legal principles, explains the key issues that charities must consider, and provides examples to illustrate some situations that charities may encounter.  Here is a link to the Guidance

In partnership with ACOSVO, the Carnegie Trust co-hosted a series of seminars during 2013 on how the independence debate, and its outcome, would impact on charities. Based on these discussions, the Trust has published briefing on ten steps charities could take in order to respond to the potential for further constitutional change.  You can find the briefing here.

You can follow conversations on the full spectrum of Referendum issues at:
Pitman Training support for Social Enterprises

From now until December 2014, Pitman Training is offering a 3 for 2  deal on all its courses to companies across the Highlands, Islands and Moray.  However, instead of taking the third course themselves, organisations can choose to donate this third course to a social enterprise in the region via HISEZ.  HISEZ will allocate the courses on the basis of need and impact. This can also help a local company reach its corporate social responsibility targets and is a positive message  about community engagement to their own staff. It will also be possible for the company and the benefitting social enterprise to make contact and so develop wider enterprise links across the two sectors.

Pitman Training local manager Alicia Socas commented: “Just over half of our courses relate to financial skills. We are aware that many social enterprises struggle due to inadequate financial training and we hope this initiative goes some way to assisting them. The new distance learning portal we have also means we can support training remotely and help enterprises wherever they are based.”  Brian Weaver, HISEZ Chief Executive added: "We are delighted that Pitman are making this opportunity available to the social enterprises we work with.  Not only does it offer them a chance to gain useful skills and learning, but it will help make links between the private and third sectors, to the benefit of both."

The range of courses can be seen here. These range from book-keeping, SAGE, admin and IT skills. All participants will get Pitman accreditation on passing their exams. Courses can start any day and are designed to fit around other work or family commitments.  In addition, on an ongoing basis, Pitman is offering a 15% price discount to social enterprises on its courses. So long as you are a social enterprise known to HISEZ, you will qualify.  Training can be undertaken at home, in the office or at either training centres in Forres (57 High Street) or Inverness (36 Church St. opposite the Co-Op).

Please contact either Alicia Socas by email: or phone: 01483 236667/07435 977418 or Polly Chapman by email: or phone: 01463 792158/07751 019058.

The college are currently advertising for two part time Independent Living Workers and one full time Senior Independent Living Worker.  If you are interested in working for a committed, can-do organisation that helps vulnerable and disadvantaged young adults to become active, confident and valued members of society then one of these roles could be for you.  To apply, click on this link where you can download the full job descriptions, application form and information cover sheet.  The Closing date is 31 August 2014.

Ullapool based Lochbroom Woodfuels Ltd was set up by Ullapool Community Trust (UCT) in 2012.

The community owned social enterprise have three main aims. These are to provide local employment, training and volunteering opportunities in firewood production; to establish a fairly priced continuous supply of sustainable firewood from local forests and; to generate surplus profits which will be gifted to the Trust for reinvestment in other community projects.  

In doing so the company are addressing fuel poverty in their area and in the long term helping to mitigate climate change as they promote and encourage the use of renewable fuels as opposed to fossil fuels. 

And the group have expanded to help customers outwith the Ullapool area benefit from their service as they offer machinery hire and delivery of firewood throughout the Highlands. Last year the group won the Landrover Bursery which provided them with a four-wheel drive vehicle that allows them to deliver to very remote and previously inaccessible customers. And for those who can't stack their firewood due to health reasons, the organisation have teamed up with local school pupils to offer a free stacking service.

Sian Curley, Business Manager at Lochbroom Fuels said: ‘I’m very pleased with the progress we have made as a social enterprise over the past two years. I hope that we’re building a reputation for a good product and I think that we have delivered a real community benefit. Last year we worked with 4 young people as volunteers, interns and staff members. Two gained their Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award, one went on to full-time employment, and one further developed their skills from a Forestry HND course. I look forward to the next year, when we plan to improve our firewood drying facilities and expand our youth skills programme.”


Check out the website for further information and to place an order: 

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