Caledonia Learning Academy

The Circle launches training programme in partnership with Caledonia Housing Association

The Circle has worked with charity Caledonia Housing Association to run a training programme for their home help service staff. The aim of this initiative is to empower the staff to become more enterprising in order to help make the changes that they would like to see made to the current home help services.

The Circle has worked closely with Caledonia Housing Association’s Home Help Coordinator, Maureen Menzies, and Head of Support Services, Gill Donoghue, to develop the course. The training sessions will cover a range of topics including growth mindset, business models and pricing. The outcome of the training will be that the staff who attend will develop a more enterprising mindset and work together to create a pitch on the changes think should be made to the current home help service. They will then deliver their pitch to the CEO and the Board of Caledonia Housing Association.

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The Circle Café

Our Café Manager, Stephen and Café Supervisor, Caitlin were invited to attend an education and training session run by charity ‘Who Cares? Scotland’ in partnership with Community Jobs Scotland and SCVO.

Who Cares? Scotland is a national charity which was established in 1978’ with 41 years of experience working directly with Care Experienced people across Scotland. Independent advocacy is at the heart of the organisation.  They are a membership organisation with a multi-layered model who work to tackle stigma, promote positive care identity and effect positive change for Care Experienced people.

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Our Café Supervisor, Caitlin

I am one of two new members of The Circle having joined in May 2019. My role is Café Supervisor. I will be working closely with the other new member Steven who is Café Manager.

I had previously worked in The Circle’s building at Staffa place for one of the many tenants based here, The Food Train which is a food delivery service for the elderly. During my time here with The Food Train, although I didn’t work directly with The Circle team, I learned more about what The Circle was about and how much they help better the community and continue to do so.

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Our New Café Manager Stephen

I am originally from Dundee but have been working down south for the past 15 years. I’ve been back here now for the past 4 years. The last position I was working in was at The Deaf Hub as a Catering Manager, training and supporting people with employment challenges, and working along-side the deaf community.

I have been working in the third sector and with social enterprises for about 5 years now. I decided to get into charity work after I stopped working in busy restaurants, due to a family tragedy. I started volunteering with young people in the scouts, and then with people with disabilities with Mencap, which I really enjoyed, despite being out of my comfort zone.

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Jennifer Gall’s take on our recent Make May Purple event

The amazing thing about working with the Stroke Association is that everyone is in the same position as me, so I feel part of a community which boosts my confidence greatly and I am more confident about talking about my stroke and how far I have come.

In the first five years or so all my friends were going to uni or going on holiday which is so frustrating. I thought, ‘why is this happening to me?’ I heavily relied on my parents to do everything including talking or making bookings etc as my circumstances had changed. I realised that I have to step up and be more forward about college and wanting to do something for me not just pleasing my parents.

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Living Wage Employers welcome Scottish Government Minister for Business, Fair Work & Skills to celebrate ‘Making Dundee a Living Wage City’

Dundee’s most recently accredited Living Wage employers gathered at Social Enterprise ‘The Circle’ today to host a visit from Jamie Hepburn, the Scottish Government Minister for Business, Fair Work & Skills.  

Mr. Hepburn met with staff from The Circle alongside representatives from Coldside Medical Practice, cleaning company Star Clean, vegan café Marwick’s, mental health charity Feeling Strong and arts charity Creative Dundee.

Their Living Wage accreditation ensures all staff and regular contracted workers earn the real Living Wage rather than significantly lower statutory minimum wage rates. Together these 6 small organisations employ 47 workers, 24 of whom have received a welcome pay boost to the real Living Wage, currently set at £9.00 per hour.

Mr. Hepburn met workers earning the real Living Wage and spoke with employers on the importance of the real Living Wage.

Sekai Machache, who works at The Circle and earns the real Living Wage, said:

“I feel that being paid the Living Wage is important because it makes you feel more valued by your employer. It’s their way of showing that they want you to thrive and not just survive”.

Fair Work Minister Jamie Hepburn said:

“I welcome the opportunity to congratulate Dundee’s latest Living Wage accredited employers. This follows Dundee being recognised in March as Scotland’s first city to demonstrate its commitment to becoming a Living Wage city.

“I am proud that Scotland has the highest proportion of people paid the living wage of any UK nation and I encourage all businesses to commit to doing the same for their employees. Paying the real Living Wage and becoming accredited treats people fairly, benefits the economy and sends a positive signal about the organisation into the wider community.”

Dundee’s City recognition as part of the new ‘Making Living Wage Places’ scheme was awarded in March 2019 when a group of prominent Dundee employers joined forces to form the Dundee Living Wage City Action Group and launched their 3-year Action Plan to begin ‘Making Dundee a Living Wage City’.

Dundee City Council Councillor Lynne Short, Convener of City Development Committee said:

“I am pleased that these local employers have so quickly demonstrated that they too share the vision of Making Dundee a Living Wage City. 

“Every employer in Dundee can help tackle low pay in the City, and the Dundee Living Wage City Action Group are available to help and guide local employers through any challenges they might face in committing to the real Living Wage.

“Lots of businesses in the city already pay the real Living Wage and I want to encourage them to seek accreditation and move Dundee a step closer to achieving our goal of becoming the first Living Wage City.”

Lynn Anderson, National Coordinator for the Making Living Wage Places scheme in Scotland said:

“Dundee are the first City to begin delivering their ‘Making Living Wage Places’ plan, which has already resulted in a spike in awareness and interest from employers on becoming Living Wage accredited.

We call upon prominent local employers in Towns and Cities across Scotland to step forward to begin their journey with us on Making Living Wage Places too.”

Media Contact:

Julie McGahan, Living Wage Scotland Manager:  

Non Executive Director

The Circle would like to appoint one additional non-executive director to our board. As part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion we are keen to strengthen the stakeholder representation on the board by adding someone who has lived experience of the services provided by the Circle. This could be as one of our tenants at Staffa Place, or someone who has benefited from the services we provide in some other way. 

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The Circle to launch pilot programme of night classes for the community

Local social enterprise hub, The Circle is launching The Circle Night School Pilot Programme. The programme will offer a wide range of courses that will run during evenings and weekends at their building at Staffa Place in Dundee.

The courses will be taught by local tutors and hobby enthusiasts from Dundee and surrounding areas. To promote this new initiative, The Circle is inviting people from the local community to an open event on the 6th of May where they can learn more about the night school, meet the tutors and have the chance to sign up to courses. The Circle Night School classes start the week beginning the 20th of May.

You can register to attend the open event for free at:

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