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Congratulations to the Isle of Skye Ferry CIC in Glenelg who are worthy winners of first prize in our office view photo competition. I think you'll all agree this is an impressive view to have from your desk. And congratulations also to Sleat Community Trust and Seaboard Memorial Hall, Balintore with very good entries taking second and third prize respectively. The prize money will be making its way to you over the next few days.

We look forward to framing these prints and hanging them in our new office at 67a Castle Street Inverness.  We are delighted to finally share our office move with you. Some of you have already guessed where we are from the recent Facebook snippets, it is only four doors down from where we are now, but the really good news is that HISEZ owns the building. We have made that one great leap to purchase an asset for the long term stability of the company and if you wish you can be a part of it. Would you like the ability to use a desk for a couple of hours to complete some work while you're in Inverness? Or maybe you need to meet with someone and would like it to be a neutral venue in a central location. This is what we can offer. We are working hard on assembling furniture at the moment and making sure we have all the necessities like heat, light and a good working kettle. But towards the end of this month we hope to be able to offer the most flexilble availability for desk/room hire you could imagine. Ultimately it will be available online and booking can be made quickly and easily. But if you do want to make it a regular arrangement and book a permanent space then that is also possible. If this interests you please email us with your details and we shall be in touch once the kettle is on. We will have more information on this in next month's newsletter.


We are also working out details for our open day/office launch and will be sending out invites very soon. 

Highland BlindCraft are our social enterprise of the month. Based in Inverness they have been in operation since the late nineteenth century and are certainly the longest standing enterprise we have featured. And we thought we were doing well reaching 10 years!

HISEZ NETWORKING LUNCHES

Creating Opportunities - Social Enterprise & Young People - Wednesday 18 March from 12-3pm, The Spectrum Centre, Inverness. This networking lunch is specifically aimed at groups working with young people. Sign up here for your free place.
 
THESE EVENTS ARE ORGANISED BY HISEZ IN ASSOCIATION WITH JUST ENTERPRISE
 
Just Enterprise Workshops 

 

Finance for Practitioners 2 day course - Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 March
9.30am-4pm - Inverness

This 2 day course is designed around practical financial solutions that can be employed in any organisation. Subjects covered will include:

  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Financial Controls
  • Constructing an annual Profit & Loss Budget
  • Constructing an annual Cash Flow Budget
  • Costing & Pricing
  • Financial Ratios

This is a practical course and delegates will be required to bring along a calculator and writing materials. Book your place here

Pre-Start Leadership 1 day Programme - Thursday 26 March 10am-4pm - Inverness
This one day programme is an introduction to leadership for people who have recently started or are looking to start a social enterprise. This workshop enables learners to develop their understanding of what leadership is and how they want to develop as leaders. Attendance at the workshop will help you face the particular challenges of the start-up phase whilst developing your social enterprise network. Book your place here


Demystifying the Web - Tuesday 31 March 9.30am-4.30pm - Oban 
This full day workshop is targeted at those enterprising third sector organisations that are either embarking on digital marketing for the first time or who want to get more from their existing efforts. It offers an introductory guide to those who are new to or are in some way responsible for the delivery of the digital channel. You may currently feel intimidated and are avoiding the challenge or you might simply want to know more to provide a better performance. Delivered in a friendly, non-technical and informal style. Book your place here.

Social Impact Measurement - Thursday 23 April 10am-4pm - Inverness
In a time of decreased funding and resources it is vital that your organisation can prove its social impact and the value it adds to society. This full day workshop provides an overview of social impact measurement and associated tools and techniques, including:

  • Social Accounting and Audit
  • Social Return on Investment
  • Other recent developments and methodologies

Although heavily subsidised through Just Enterprise, please note there is a £50 delegate fee payable for attendance at this workshop. To book your place click on this link.

Places for workshops are limited and are offered on a first come, first served basis so please book early to guarantee your place. Most 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 www.justenterprise.org or telephone 0141 425 2939 for details of the full range of support available.

REPAIR TRAINING GRANT FUND FOR THE THIRD SECTOR
     
Scottish third sector organisations who specialise in re-use could be given up to £1500 each to help them train their staff to repair electronics, textiles and furniture. 

Zero Waste Scotland launched the fund last week specifically for charities and social enterprises whose growth is restricted by a lack of repair and reuse skills. 

Grants are available to cover the costs of tuition, travel and subsistence, and any materials or equipment needed for the course. 

Zero Waste Scotland chief executive Iain Gulland, said: "Increasing repair skills in Scotland is vital to increasing the amount of goods being re-used and repaired. Building on and expanding existing repair skills also has the potential to create many new, sustainable jobs in communities across Scotland. We need to preserve the skills we have and attract new young people to learn the skills of repair, which will be increasingly important to our economy in the future."

The closing date for applications is 17 April 2015. Follow this link for further information and to apply online.
Deputy Chief Officer Post 

The Highland Third Sector Interface is looking for someone with evidenced operational experience, knowledge of quality management and experience of working across a broad geographical area to fill this vacancy.

The post will focus on the internal TSI operations and development as well as supporting an increased activity base. For that reason emphasis will be placed on the candidate's ability to bring operational experience to the role, though knowledge of the sector would be an additional advantage. 

Initial 12 month contract - 25 hours per week. Closing date: 25 March 2015

For further information or to download your application pack click here.  
      SSEPD Launch New Resilient Communities Fund
SSEPD logo
 

Energy firm Scottish and Southern Energy will be providing grants for community facilities and services in the North of Scotland this spring. 

Applications to the new Resilient Communities Fund can seek up to £20,000 of grant support for community projects. These could include upgrading community buildings or improving local communication systems if the power fails in a storm.

The fund will support projects that:

• Protect the welfare of vulnerable customers during a significant power outage or emergency weather event;

• Enhance community facilities and services that may be used or instigated in the event of a significant power outage or emergency weather event; and

• Improve communication during an emergency situation, to keep communities informed or aid contact between local groups and response services.

For further information please contact Ciara Wilson the Community Funds Manager on 0141 224 7191 or log on to the website

Job vacancies - Laggan Wolftrax Centre  

Laggan Forest Trust are recruiting full and part time staff for their new, soon to open, Cafe at the Laggan Wolftrax Centre. If you're great with people and have some kitchen and front of house experience then this could be the job for you. And if you know the forest and the Wolftrax trails, even better.

For more information and to download an application form follow this link or call the office on 01528 544366.

 SOCIAL ENTERPRISE OF THE MONTH
 
Highland BlindCraft was established over 140 years ago in Inverness. It's purpose was to provide employment for children leaving the Blind School in Inverness at that time. 

Today the organisation operates on the same founding principles but it now employs people with a range of disabilities, not only the blind. The factory employs 19 skilled visually impaired and disabled people and four who are able-bodied. Beds, mattresses, headboards and footstools are designed and manufactured on the premises and items are displayed and sold in their showroom on Ardconnel Street.  

Although BlindCraft receive up to 50% of the disabled staff wage costs from Government funding, more than 50% of their income comes from trading and this has gradually increased over the years. Executive Manager Denise Clark hopes that this can continue as they plan to make some positive changes for the future. 

She said: "We have been working with HISEZ recently on a new business plan as we would like to extend our showroom to highlight more of the products we make. We moved our showroom three years ago which had a hugely positive effect on our sales. Further expansion would give us more opportunity to show case a great variety of our own products and more of the bedroom furniture, and fireside chairs. We also need to consider further marketing and promotion." 

Denise added: "We have come through a difficult time economically but with a little recovery in the housing market we have already felt the positive benefits.  We need to build on this, expand our markets and let people know what a good reputation we have and that we truly are a local company. And while we have to compete with large multi-nationals and other local firms we are the only organsiation which makes and sells its products right here in the Highlands.  This means that money spent on our products stays in the local economy."

       

To find out more, visit the website www.highlandblindcraft.co.uk or call into the showroom at 39 Ardconnel Street, Inverness.

     
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