The Circle team at the Courier Business Awards

We are launching our Social Impact Report!

The Circle will be launching our 2 year Social Impact Report on Thursday 6th December from 4pm until 6pm. 

The report will showcase the impact The Circle has had on our tenants, the local community and social entrepreneurs. This event will be the public and free to attend at our premises on Staffa Place.

The report will be available to view and download on The Circle website from 4pm on Thursday 6th December.

Kirsty Thomson Founder and CEO is delighted with the impact with the impact that The Circle has made just two years after launching.

“I am looking forward to celebrating the hard work that myself and The Circle team have put in since our launch. We have been operating for just over two years and are very proud tosee the difference that The Circle is making to individuals and organisations across the city.

This event will also give us the chance to thank everyone who has supported us in this time including ourtenants, board members, volunteers and the local community.”

social digital society

Social Digital Sprint Day

In October the University of Dundee‘s Social Digital Society ran the Social Digital Sprint Day. The Social Digital Sprint day is a day of design, fun and problem solving. It involves participants being split up into teams and working on producing a creative solution to the brief set within the space of a few hours. This day encourages people from different backgrounds in different years to all come together over a common goal to produce a coherent piece of work.

The Circle was asked to present a brief for the teams to come up with ideas for in order to win the competition. This was the brief that the teams were presented with:

Continue reading

Kirsty gives a masterclass at Dundee University

On Wednesday 21st November, Kirsty delivered a free masterclass at the University of Dundee’s Centre for Entrepreneurship. The Centre of Entrepreneurship host Entrepreneurial Masterclasses which offer advanced insights into the career journey of successful entrepreneurs, and also knowledge of a cutting-edge area which they have become experts in. Masterclasses complement the Enterprise Challenge programme by providing insights you can apply to your business idea drawn from the latest trends for the modern entrepreneur. The talks are open to students, staff and general public.

Kirsty Thomson is Founder CEO of ACK CIC as well as The Circle Scotland CIC.

After graduating with a degree in Social Science from University of Abertay and a Graduate Diploma in Psychology from The University Sunderland. Kirsty embarked on a career research through the University of Dundee and Newcastle University which involved working across psychology, health, community development and the voluntary sector in the UK. Kirsty has worked with and for charities, social enterprises and community groups for the past 20 years.

Kirsty is working with community groups, charities and social enterprises to become better businesses and help communities thrive. She believes in doing things differently and moving away from the silos that keep sectors and structures apart. She has secured over £13 million in her career and wants to promote the #MoreThanProfitApproach to running a business.

Darryl and Danielle Gaffney Du Plooy from Uppertunity at the first Dundee Soup

Funding for projects that benefit the Dundee community

The next edition of Dundee Soup is to take place at The Circle on Saturday 1st December. This is to be the fifth round of the event, but this festive edition will be different to previous rounds as it will be part of Fair Saturday. Fair Saturday is a Scottish Government pilot initiative for 2018 which is being delivered by the Fair Saturday Foundation. Organised in partnership between Creative Dundee and the Circle Dundee, this event gives micro grants to local community-based projects to make ideas a reality, over a simple soup dinner.

For a suggested donation of £5, attendees receive a simple soup supper and will hear four short presentations from local people running community projects.Dundee Soup dinners are open to anyone: whether you need help for an idea that could benefit the Dundee community or whether you want to support a local community-based project.  Once the groups pitch their projects to the attending public everyone votes for their preferred project, the ballots are counted, and the winner goes home with ALL the money raised on the night.

This edition of Dundee Soup has been funded by BEMIS Scotland via the Scotland’s Winter Festivals fund, and part of the St Andrew’s Fair Saturday Festival. This is a partnership between BEMIS Scotland and the Scottish Government to facilitate diverse, multicultural celebrations. This funding will allow The Circle and Creative Dundee to pay former Dundee Soup pitchers, Uppertunity, to make the soup which will give their members experience in event catering.

Danielle Du Plooy, who founded Uppertunity, is excited for the organisation to return to Dundee Soup as caterers. 
“Since pitching at the first Dundee Soup ourselves we have seen the benefits of not only the funding but also the connections it allowed us to make in Dundee. I would recommend it to anyone who has an idea that will benefit the local community. We have been able to grow our organisation, develop the gardens at The Circle and start to work collaboratively with more organisations.”

Who’s pitching at Soup?

The Art of Seeing Photography is a community-based Photography editing and printing suite in Studio 11, in Meadow Mill, which creates an exciting learning environment for photographers of all ages and stages. The ethos of the studio is simple, learn and exhibit work in a fun and imaginative way, building confidence through inspiration. Studio 11 is a truly unique gallery and learning space in the heart of the city, for both community based and/or established photographers and artists to exhibit.

Emerging Dundee – Acting Locally, Thinking Globally. The intention is to deliver a weekend festival to connect do-ers in the city. The purpose of the festival is to co-create ideas that could benefit Dundee and are relational to what participants sense are happening globally. This will be done through a programme of activities that ignite free thinking, intuition and togetherness.

Togs for Tots is a clothing, equipment and experiences bank for children living in poverty. We receive donations from the public and distribute them to children suffering from the effects of poverty. Right now, we need to support to buy new pyjamas and underwear for children for referrals waiting to go out.

You can register to attend the next Dundee Soup here: 
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dundee-soup-5-tickets-52049697045

Search now on for The Big Lunch walk team 2019

Next year in May The Big Lunch, an idea for the Eden Project made possible by the National Lottery, will bring together a team of walkers to visit and shine alight on thriving community projects right across the UK. The search is now on for eight community-minded people to take part in 2019.

The walk teams will step out on four routes starting on Friday 17th May, visiting people and communities on the countdown to The Big Lunch culminating on the weekend of 1st & 2nd June. 

Over two weeks the team will set off on a journey across Scotland, Northern Ireland,Wales and England to chit-chat with the nation and shine a light on the extraordinary things that ordinary people do to bring people together where they live.

Peter Stewart, Executive Director of The Big Lunch said: “We’re looking for friendly folk who love to bring people together as much as we do. We’re going out across the UK to celebrate the positive and amazing people at the heart of our communities; so if you’re passionate about community and fancy joining us for a stroll next May, it’s time to apply now!”

Continue reading
Dundee Soup - Funded by BEMIS Scotland via Scotland’s Winter Festivals, and part of the St Andrew’s Fair Saturday Festival.

Dundee Soup joins St Andrew’s Fair Saturday

Dundee Soup will be back at The Circle again for this year’s festive edition and this time it will particularly special because it will be part of St Andrews Fair Saturday. Fair Saturday is a Scottish Government pilot initiative for 2018 which is being delivered by the Fair Saturday Foundation. After Black Friday, thousands of artists and cultural organisations around the world get together in a unique festival and support social causes through their show and events.

This edition of Soup has been funded by BEMIS Scotland via Scotland’s Winter Festivals, and part of the St Andrew’s Fair Saturday Festival. This is a partnership between BEMIS Scotland and the Scottish Government to facilitate diverse, multicultural celebrations.

Dundee Soup #5 will take place on Saturday 1st December 2018, from 11am – 1pm at The Circle.

Continue reading

Kirsty points to her name on the WISE 100 list

Our CEO was featured on the NatWest WISE100 list

Kirsty Thomson, Founder and CEO of The Circle, has been featured in the NatWest WISE100 list. This list, produced every year by NatWest Bank in partnership with Pioneers Post, recognises the 100 most inspiring and influential women in social enterprise. Kirsty was the only woman in Tayside to be named on this list.

This came just two days after The Circle was named Social Impact Business of The Year at the Courier Business Awards. Kirsty has worked with and for charities, social enterprises and community groups for the past 20 years. In her career she has raised over £13 million for the organisations she has worked for.

Continue reading

The Circle team at the Courier Business Awards

Celebrating our social impact at the Courier Business Awards

The Circle has won ‘The Courier Social Impact Business of the Year 2018 Award’ less than two years after it was launched by Kirsty Thomson, Founder & CEO.

The Awards Ceremony & Dinner at the Apex City Quay Dundee was a great opportunity for The Circle team to celebrate the judging panel’s recognition and reflect on their achievements. The evening was a wonderful occasion and The Circle were delighted to bring a trophy back to Staffa Place, however, it is the impact we have demonstrated that we are most proud of.

Continue reading

A Case Study by Sam Coleman of the Wise Group

Case Study – Michael Ratcliffe

I first met Michael back in April 2018. Before I’d joined the Wise Group Michael had just been through a call centre academy with us and had subsequently moved into employment. Sadly Michael didn’t take to the training that well and hadn’t received the support he needed while at work. Michael is autistic and has certain requirements while learning new information.

He wanted to do admin so we discussed his CV and where he’d like to work. I had already become rather fond of Michael and started to understand him better each time we met. He already knew how old I was, how many family members I had and indeed how old they are. We had spent a lot of time together while I worked to arrange an admin placement for him in Dundee. Michael is an absolute joy to work with and he clearly has a lot to offer.

Continue reading

The Circle works with Dundee Comics Creative Space to provide free after school comic club

Local community hub, The Circle, is collaborating with Dundee Comics Creative Space to run a free 10 week programme of comic workshops for 10 to 17 year olds in Dundee. ‘Dundee After School Comic Club’ will be running every Thursday from 4.30pm to 6pm beginning on Thursday 6th September. Artists from Dundee Comics Creative Space will be on hand each week to guide the young people through designing their own characters and story worlds. Then they will help them create stories and turn their plots and characters into finished comics pages.

Damon Herd, Coordinator of Dundee Comics Creative Space is excited to be working with The Circle to deliver the programme.

“DCCS is delighted to be working with The Circle on a programme of comics workshops over the next few months. We came together through connections with The Rank Foundation, who, along with the University of Dundee, are a core funder of DCCS. One of the main reasons for running our regular Comics Clubs is to reach out to the young people of Dundee and offer free workshops in which anyone can explore their creativity. We also do outreach workshops in schools and community centres to allow access for young people who often find it difficult to come in to town.

“Teaming up with The Circle is a great opportunity to expand on these workshops and provide a larger Comics Club programme for more young people across Dundee. We are really excited to have the space and time to run in-depth comics-making workshops for young people and are so looking forward to seeing the comics they will produce!”

Kirsty Thomson, Founder & CEO of The Circle, said, “We are delighted that the Comics Creative Space are bringing their popular after school programme to The Circle. We are looking to increase the number of community events that we offer and this is a great way to get kids into The Circle. There is a great creative scene in Dundee and it’s important we bring opportunities like this out into communities.”

For more information and to book places at the comic club go to: https://dundeeafterschoolcomicclub.eventbrite.co.uk