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This month is our happiness edition! According to a survey by the Bank of Scotland, those Scots most content with their working hours and daily commutes live in the Highlands and Islands. That is us! We hope you are all enjoying Summer whether you are lucky enough to be on holiday or at work and that the sun does eventually come back to join us (let us know if it's sunny where you are and we'll come join you!)

And we're happy to tell you HISEZ will be heading to the Western Isles again in September for one of our Networking Lunches. We will be in Cladach Kirkibost, North Uist on 22 September, full details below. If you'd like HISEZ to come to your local area, or if there is a specific topic you would like to see covered at one of our free lunches, then please get in touch. Email us now with your suggestions.
 
Our social enterprise of the month is 'Safe, Strong and Free' which is a Highland based educational programme for pre-school children. Anyone with children of that age will be familiar with their puppets Callum and Shona which you can see pictured with the feature.


 


 

Financing your Social Enterprise - North Uist
Kirkibost Café, Cladach Kirkibost, North Uist HS6
Tuesday 22 September 2015 - 12.30-3.30pm

Join Brian and Polly from HISEZ and Eileen Gardiner from Social Investment Scotland to learn about different ways of financing the activities of your Social Enterprise. Representatives from HIE will also be in attendance. Book your place here.

 

This event is brought to you in association with Just Enterprise.
 

          HIGHLAND THIRD SECTOR AWARDS 2015

The Highland Third Sector Interface have launched their awards programme for this year to celebrate and promote the work of the Third Sector in the Highlands.

Nominations are welcome for the following categories: Youth Volunteer; Community Initiative; Intergenerational Initiative; Highland Partnership; Older Peoples Champion; Young Peoples Champion; Volunteer of the Year and Outstanding Achievement Award. Please have your nominations in by Wednesday 22 July.

Awards will be presented at a special ceremony at the Strathpeffer Pavilion on 25 August. 

Further information follow this link, contact HTSI on 01349 864289 or email: info@highlandtsi.org.uk.
M&S ENERGY LAUNCHES £400,000
COMMUNITY ENERGY FUND

The M&S Community Energy Fund was launched at the start of this month to support community renewable energy projects and technologies across the UK. 
 
Any not for profit organisation that wants to use renewable energy to provide community benefits can apply, whether a community energy group, a sports club, library, school or simply an organisation that wants to have a positive impact on the environment. Following the initial application and shortlisting process, the winners will be decided by public vote, enabling local communities to vote on the project they believe offers the greatest benefit to them. 
 
Applications are now open and will close on Wednesday 29th July 2015. The judging panel, made up of renewable energy experts from M&S Energy and SSE, will then agree a shortlist ahead of the final public vote, which opens on Monday 17th August and closes on Wednesday 30th September. 
 
The judges will be considering entries based upon their social and environmental impact and will be scored against a variety of criteria, including:
  • A clear business case that gives value for money
  • An engaged and supportive community
  • A measurable community benefit
In addition to the public vote, there will be one Judges’ Prize for the most innovative or inspiring project, whether in the technology being used or in the group’s approach to the renewable energy challenge. 
 
Full details on how to enter are available at www.mandsenergyfund.com
 
Cairngorms LEADER Event
The Cairngorms Local Action Group are holding a launch event for the Cairngorms LEADER programme 2014-2020 on Wednesday 16 September at the Lecht from 3-6.30pm.

Event organisers hope to attract a wide variety of community and private sector organisations to network, talk about their initiatives in the Cairngorms and find out how to get support for future projects.  There will also be a few short presentations about community achievements and aspirations as well as an update on the Rural Parliament.

To sign up to attend the event click on the following link. For further information contact Bridget Trussell on 01479 870554 or email: bridgettrussell@cairngorms.co.uk.
 
 
Social Enterprise of the Month
 
Safe, Strong and Free is a Highland charity which teaches pre-school children about serious issues in a fun interactive way.  

Project staff and trained volunteers use puppets to teach young children strategies to use which will help them stay safe if they encounter bullying, an approach from a stranger or an unwanted/inappropriate approach from an adult they know. The children are then given short story books that reinforce the messages.  Parents are also encouraged and invited to attend a workshop which explains what their children will be taught, and to answer any queries and address any concerns they might have.
 
The project has been running in the Highland council area for over 20 years now with support from various funders including the LankellyChase Foundation, the Robertson Trust and Foundation Scotland. In that time the SSF message has been shared with over 30,000 children.
 
The SSF team provide a valueable service but with the current squeeze on funding, in its current form it is not sustainable. They have recently sought the help of HISEZ to help consider options and ideas to help bring in income which would allow them to continue the programme.
 
Hannah Lind Project Co-ordinator with SSF explained more: “We have been considering other ways to bring in funding for the project for quite some time and also re-evaluating where we are and how we can improve the project for the benefit of all but most of all the children. The recent changes in education and the shift to ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ do provide some opportunities for us. We are aware that teaching staff can potentially lack the confidence, skills and support to continue the awareness raising of issues we teach at Safe, Strong and Free workshops through the delivery of the Curriculum for Excellence. As a result we are currently considering developing a training course which could equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to embed the SSF message in everyday learning.”
 
 
To find out more about the work of SSF take a look at the Website or find them on Facebook.
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