Danielle du Plooy

Solving social issues: meet the people who inspired The Circle Academy

For the past three years at The Circle, and for many years in her career before that, our Founder & CEO, Kirsty Thomson has been meeting people with a vision. Their exact motivations differ but their values are the same, they are not prepared to sit by and watch people around them struggle in their lives. They see a problem in their community, they have sought to understand it and they want to implement solutions. Crucially, they also want their work to be sustainable and make an impact.

Time and time again, we have seen such people struggle. We have seen organisations start with great intentions, but the reality is that they don’t make the impact they want. They struggle to maintain an income beyond start-up funding, they don’t have the right governance in place, the skills of their boards don’t have the right balance and they lack the capacity to meet their aims. They then become disheartened and can face personal hardship. There is currently no programme in place to intensely and robustly nurture and challenge people who have the passion and ideas to make changes that improve the prosperity of communities.

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I don’t work for a start-up. Can I join The Circle Academy? – Enterprise training for staff

Leaders of organisations are increasingly looking for their staff team to be entrepreneurial. Public sector cuts are commonplace and demands on services are increasing. Having to offer more services with less resources in place is a common theme in the Public and Third Sectors and embedding entrepreneurial thinking is essential to get organisations on track.

A cut in grant funding or the loss of a key contract would be catastrophic to many organisations providing essential services to the most vulnerable in our communities. Older people, people living with disabilities, minority groups, those struggling with their mental or physical health, people living in poverty and children are most likely to be adversely affected by the failure of public and third sector organisations. We need to ensure that the vital organisations doing this work and the teams working within them are properly supported.

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Pros and Cons of The Circle Academy

We know that if you are starting a More Than Profit business you will be faced with several programmes that could support. We want to be clear about how The Circle Academy compares. We have put together a list of pros and cons, so you can choose the best programme for you.

Pros

The Circle Academy is delivered by people who have owned their own businesses. They understand the personal and professional challenges you will face and draw on their own experiences.

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GSK Volunteer team brightened up one of our meeting rooms

A few weeks ago we had volunteers from GSK visit our building and help us out by painting one of our training room spaces.

GSK are an organisation that develop and manufacture innovative pharmaceutical medicines, vaccines and consumer health products. They aim to bring differentiated, high-quality and needed healthcare products to as many people as possible, with their 3 global businesses, scientific and technical know-how and talented people.

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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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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.

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