Seeking new board members

We are looking for up to three people to join our Board of Trustees.

On a voluntary basis, trustees help The Circle develop its work, becoming a sustainable organisation that acts as a hub for charities, social enterprises, community groups and socially aware businesses in Dundee.

Founded by Kirsty Thomson, The Circle meets a need for affordable workspaces that also provides opportunities for sharing resources, collaboration and networking. It is based in the former Claverhouse Group training centre in Dundee. Launched in November 2016, The Circle has embarked on a transformation of the building into a thriving, productive hub for the community.

This is an opportunity to work with an innovative social enterprise where your contributions will have visibility and real impact. Time commitment can vary, but preparation for and attendance at monthly meetings in Dundee is a minimum requirement.

If you are interested please send us a covering letter (or an intro video) and a CV.

We’re looking for somebody who can help by doing the following

  • Ensure that The Circle complies with legal and other obligations.
  • Assist with providing strategic oversight (including digital, business development and fundraising).
  • Contribute specific professional skills and expertise as required (including IT management, marketing).
  • Work closely with the core team.
  • Act as an ambassador for The Circle.

An understanding of the voluntary sector or social enterprises, and previous experience as a trustee are both desirable but not essential.

Please respond by Friday 5th May 2017 to Kirsty via email – kirsty@thecircledundee.org.uk

Come and use our co-work space for free

We are working on our plans for the co-work space at The Circle. We have completed a survey and we are going to be interviewing some of our regular visitors.

It’s very important to us (and you!) that we get this space just right. That’s why we’re not rushing into anything until we have a community of people regularly working in the space who can tell us how to get it right for them.

From now, until the end of June. we are inviting you to come in and use the space completely free. You will become beta testers of our prototype space. The prototype space will consist of furniture we already have with the added bonus of WiFi.

All you have to do to take advantage of this offer is email bookings@thecircledundee.org.uk and let us know when you are coming. Then, bring along your laptop, notebook, hand-knitting or whatever it is you do and spend the day with us and a growing community of co-workers, absolutely free.

How to recruit delegates to your next training event

We often see organisations book our meeting rooms in Dundee to offer training sessions. Typically, organisations identify a training requirement that organisations across Dundee and Angus share. It is a way of offering a snapshot of their expertise and deliver valuable information in a short timeframe.

Organisations have to cover the cost of their time, the venue, catering and of course, the valuable expertise they have spent years developing.  Sometimes organisations have funding to deliver training free of charge to the recipient. In many cases, the organisation charges delegates to come along.

Most training sessions come about with an identified need in a particular sector or due to changes in external factors.

The training organisation books the room then puts the event up on Eventbrite or their own website and they get on with trying to promote the event. There are some factors we have seen that can lead to events being very well subscribed, and others struggling. Here are some things to consider.

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What has The Circle manager been doing all this time? A behind-the-scenes story

It’s now been over seven months since I started in my role as Facilities & Services Development Manager at The Circle. I have the ‘lived in’ desk and a well-used whiteboard to show for it. Hopefully, there are other visible changes too!

The biggest change I have felt has been the ‘buzz’ around the building. You can measure this to some extent by an increase in the number of the cars in the car park, or the number of sign-in sheets we now go through at reception. But mostly you feel it.

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Why do training off-site? The benefits of booking external meeting space for staff training

At The Circle we see groups receiving all kinds of training at our Dundee location – health and safety, operational procedures, business strategy, customer service, social media, confidence workshops, parenting, social enterprise start-up, design, volunteering and more. Sometimes this training is delivered to members of the public but often organisations come and do their internal staff development work at The Circle.

We are on hand to see and hear the benefits of getting out of your usual workplace for staff training.

  • Being interruption-free

While writing this blog, I was interrupted four times. I wish you could read the brilliant version that I could have written in isolation without phone calls and reception desk enquiries. We all know that in business that is not always possible but for some things you really need to be in an interruption-free zone.

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Questions asked about The Circle on a daily basis

A blog post by Jasmin, Creative Apprentice at The Circle.

Nicola and myself have come up with some questions about The Circle people tend to ask the most often. I have typed up the questions and also put the answers to them underneath so it is easier for people to find out more information about The Circle without scanning through the website for the answer you are looking for. Hopefully we have covered all of them!

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Meet our Creative Apprentice, Jasmin!

We are delighted to be working with Applied Arts Scotland, Creative Dundee and Open Change to offer a Creative Apprentice post. Jasmin Simpson joined us this month in her first placement of her apprenticeship which will lead to a Modern Apprentice qualification in Creative Digital Media. Jasmin will also work with Creative Dundee and Open Change in this twelve-month long post. We are glad we could partner with other forward-thinking organisations to offer an important employment opportunity so early in our own journey and put employability in the heart of what we do at The Circle.

Jasmin has got off to a busy start at The Circle with facilitating events, scheduling social media and responding to enquiries. We grabbed her in a spare moment to get to know her better.

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What is a growth mindset? We hosted an event by Jamie McBrearty to find out

Before meeting Jamie I had heard of ‘growth mindset’. I knew it was something they were doing at schools in Dundee and it involved using the word, ‘yet’. When Jamie came to visit The Circle at the end of 2016 our CEO, Kirsty, invited him to come and do a workshop for the community to find out more. We invited our tenants, email list, local businesses and city charities and social enterprises to come along. Around 30 of us gathered yesterday so Jamie could share what it was all about and what work is being done in Dundee to implement some of the useful ideas.

Jamie is a Growth Mindset Manger employed by Leisure and Culture Dundee, working primarily in the Strathmartine Ward of Dundee but with responsibility for engaging with city-wide community groups. The Growth Mindset project started in education but is now being applied in many fields across the local authority. The national lead for Growth Mindset is Winning Scotland Foundation.

Jamie gave us an overview of the research of Carol Dweck, an expert in the field. Our mindset is a set of beliefs we have affecting how we think, feel and behave. There are two types of mindset but most people show an element of both to some degree.

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Dundee’s social enterprises get design boost from Creative Dundee

Earlier this month I attended an Information Session for Boost by Design, the venture by Creative Dundee to start the process of embedding design thinking into the city’s social enterprises. The Rank Foundation has funded Creative Dundee to facilitate four workshops for up to 20 participants. The programme of half-day workshops provides an introduction to design, digital tools and community building and be led by service design agency, Open Change as well as Creative Dundee and local designers.

Creative Dundee started as a community-focused blog sharing events happening across the city that set out to amplify the creative community and connect it to the rest of the city. It formally became a social enterprise in 2013. It continues to use its website to publicise groups, particularly those in the 3rd sector. The enterprise holds events such as the large scale, Pecha Kucha Night regularly attracting audiences of 300 people and the more intimate Make/Share, where people can talk about what they make and how they make it in a city pub. As a social enterprise, Creative Dundee has to earn its keep and does this via securing contracts and grants. It’s also created a crowdsourced guide to Dundee and raises the profile of good things happening, such as the Postcard from Stobswell project. Creative Dundee is making a big impact for such a small team and that’s what they’re all about, and actually, the city of Dundee is about that too.

Introducing us to the Boost by Design programme, Creative Dundee Director, Gillian Easson, told us that getting and keeping the UNESCO City of Design has been a priority for the city’s creative leaders and they are keen to see the accolade used to its full advantage as well as inspire organisations to think differently about design. The published Dundee Design Values shows that Dundee is not just using design to think about aesthetics but that it’s integral to addressing social justice, inclusion and challenges communities are facing.

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