AN Inverness-based social enterprise which helps the most vulnerable people in society has been granted £162,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) towards its expansion plans.
New Start Highland (NSH) currently operates from premises in the city’s Carsegate and works in the wider Inner Moray Firth area.
Set up in 1999 its activities provide a range of opportunities to people seeking a ‘new start’, such as employment and training; housing support services and volunteering places.
The organisation collects unwanted household items and either sells them through local outlets or provides them to household tenants who might otherwise not be able to acquire them.
NSH is now constrained by the limits of its current premises and has ambitious plans to expand warehousing facilities and increase its office space by developing a new building on its current site.
HIE’s grant of £162,000 is a contribution to the total proposal costs of £738,000. NSH is also pursuing additional plans to create three smaller starter units for other social enterprises which will benefit from having NSH as a supportive neighbour.
NSH is a recognised City and Guilds Training Centre which provides 50 training and work experience places for people who are long term unemployed.
Part of the new warehousing will be used to develop the organisation’s industry-specific certified courses in areas such as electrical repair of household goods; warehousing, painting and decorating and waste management.
HIE’s Nicola Ewing from the Inner Moray Firth area team, who works with NSH along the agency’s account management model, said: “NSH started with a single staff member and a turnover of £50,000. Last year it turned over £1m and had a staff roll of almost 50. It is an excellent example of an ambitious social enterprise making a valuable contribution to a number of fundamental national objectives: increasing its turnover; creating employment opportunities and growing its contribution to environmental targets.
“By contributing to its funding target for office and warehouse expansion, HIE will be helping NSH to become more sustainable and less grant dependent. It will enable the sector to grow and contribute to additional jobs in the region.”
NSH chief executive, James Dunbar, said: “Working with staff from HIE has been very beneficial for our business. They understand our aspirations and have supported our plans with focused expertise. By approving this grant HIE is helping us to support those seeking to improve their prospects in life, while simultaneously contributing to a better environment.”
It is anticipated the expansion project could be completed by December of this year.
For further information contact
01349 868932 or 077 21761504
James Dunbar/Isabel Prall
New Start Highland
Tel: 01463 728772/715615
HIE’s role is to develop sustainable economic growth across the region. To achieve this it creates infrastructure for future investment, assists large and small businesses with growth aspirations and has a unique role strengthening communities, particularly in fragile areas.
HIE supports the growth ambitions of business and social enterprise clients by creating close working relationships in order to accelerate growth in turnover, profitability, wage levels, exports and therefore Gross Value Added (GVA) in the HIE area.
HIE also invests in transformational projects across the region to make the Highlands and Islands a more competitive and attractive place to live, work, study and grow.
The region covered by HIE takes in more than half of Scotland, and is home to around 440,000 people. See www.hie.co.uk for more information.
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