Inclusive growth: what does it look like?

This paper seeks to illuminate tangible examples of inclusive growth in Scotland, with a view to translating successes even if small in scale and sharing learning to inform future improvements in delivery.

Annex 1 - Inclusive growth in practice: examples

Community Ownership

  • Holm Hill is an example of community ownership, with 750 acres of Holm Hill now belonging to the community following efforts from people in the community and investment from Scottish Land Fund, Investing in Communities Fund, Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) and Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEIS). The area will now start work on their inclusive growth strategy focusing on sustainable values and community ownership.
  • The Midsteeple Quarter Regeneration Project is the first UK High Street regeneration project of its kind. The project purchases buildings on the high street and engages with the community and collaborates between community, public and private sectors. The Project has currently facilitated the acquisition of 3 properties and hopes to take a 5-phase approach to ultimately acquiring land for the generation of 50 new homes and 60 new commercial spaces.
  • Point and Sandwick Power is a community owned commercial enterprise, which built, operates, and maintains the UK’s largest community wind farm based on the Isle of Lewis. The company exists to generate profit from renewable energy and reinvest profits into the community via its charitable sister organisation, Point and Sandwick Trust. During the pandemic all normal operations were suspended to direct all uncommitted income towards the newly created Pandemic Community Support Fund.
  • The Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF) has helped communities across Scotland invest and engage in a series of local economic opportunities from the bottom-up. For instance, the creation of the Tobermory Light Industrial Park (Nonhebel Park), which is operated by a community trust and generates income by providing locals with affordable business space, received investment from the fund. The same is true for the Cairndow Childcare, Early Learning & Family Centre, which received a mix of RCGF and lottery funding to create a new nursery with all profits reinvested within the local community.
  • North Ayrshire Council’s Community Wealth Building Fund (CWBF) is an attempt to embed inclusive growth practices across the North Ayrshire local authority area with the help of local ‘anchor’ institutions (larger bodies such as the council, Ayrshire College, and private business) who prioritise local-wealth building in their financial decision making. This way wealth is increasingly created locally, and the economic benefits are enjoyed locally, a symbiotic relationship of economic prosperity. The CWBF also promotes greater local engagement in alternative ownership models of businesses and enterprises, such as co-operatives and grass-roots initiatives in an effort to build economic growth models which promote true inclusive growth and a pre-distribution of wealth.

Inclusive Businesses & Employee Ownership

  • Chemco, a Coatbridge-based company which specialises in protective coating and has a global clientele. Chemco have explicitly noted the desire to retain local skills and jobs as part of their succession planning and their move to 100 per cent employee ownership.
  • Shore is Scotland’s largest product design company. They have undertaken a similar journey to Chemco with explicit mention of organisational culture and ensuring a legacy within the area of employee ownership. An Employee Ownership Trust was formed which will hold a majority of the shares on the employee’s behalf.
  • 20/20 Project Management is an Aberdeen-based employee-owned business that supports and provides businesses and organisations with project management training. The Employee Ownership Trust holds 61 per cent of the shares on behalf of company employees, with the option to acquire the remaining 39 per cent in the future should the staff desire it.
  • Glasgow Canal Co-op is an example of a consortium cooperative which was established to “unlock the potential of the canal to create a vibrant neighbourhood for people to live, work and visit”. A group of member organisations, working as a collective as part of the Co-op, have successfully pooled resources, shared risks and come together during the pandemic to develop projects which benefit the community. From the Getting North Glasgow Active initiative to boat maintenance training courses, the Co-op is actively engagement in a myriad of programmes along Glasgow’s portion of the Forth and Clyde Canal.
  • Crunchy Carrot is a community cooperative which expanded dramatically throughout lockdown in response to growing community need for fresh fruit and vegetables. Utilising local supply chains, they remained resilient throughout Covid-19 and able to meet the needs of residents. They are a prime example of the kind of community-based organising and inclusive model which sprung up during the height of the pandemic as a demonstration of social solidarity.
  • The Libertie Project Ltd is a women led micro social enterprise in Inverness that uses technology and creativity to bring families and communities together. They run a prison-based printing enterprise in HMP Inverness, a creative studio that produces ceramics, awards and trophies, a digital inclusion service that provides support and learning to reduce digital exclusion, and a community urban garden with a surplus food fridge and pantry. During the pandemic they have begun providing digital services and mental health support.

Grassroots Urban Development

  • HALO Scotland, Kilmarnock is an urban regeneration project intent on developing a brand new 28-acre quarter of town, consisting of an Enterprise and Innovation Hub, a one-of-a-kind Live Work Studios, and a Fashion Foundry with direct links to aspiring designers and textile artists at the local college, just to name a few. Plans for the project were drawn up through a community-partnership consultation and a commitment to realising long-term economic and social benefits, with sustainable, partnership-led growth at its heart.
  • The New Gorbals Housing Association is a non-profit community benefit organisation arranged and established in 1989 by residents with a strong vision to regenerate and renew the Gorbals. The association works to provide locals with high quality and affordable rented housing, as well as support in navigating welfare cuts and high living costs, all in an effort to meet the needs of the most disadvantaged within the community. There is an emphasis on genuine engagement with tenants with a £1 membership fee which grants residents the right to vote on proposals and participate in decision-making.
  • The Central Govan Action Plan (CGAP) is a community-led investment and development organisation headed by a Steering Group of Govan residents with ambitions to regenerate Central Govan and see it become a more attractive, vibrant, and prosperous places to live and work. More than £120 million has been invested as part of the 2006 to 2022 action plan with an emphasis on affordable rented accommodation, reinvigorating the high street, and restoring historically significant buildings. The CGAP, in partnership with the Govan Cross Townscape Heritage Initiative (GCTHI), have worked to maximise employment opportunities in cooperation with Govan businesses to boost the local economy.
  • Starting with the renovation of a disused hospital site in Raploch, one of Stirling’s most deprived communities, the Raploch Urban Regeneration Company (RURC) in partnership with Forth Housing Association and Stirling Enterprise Park (STEP) has since helped create the Kildean Business and Enterprise Hub which runs as a social enterprise by the RURC. Stirling Community Enterprise is a social enterprise which connects those struggling most in the labour market with mentoring and free training, and has been contracted to provide grounds maintenance and window cleaning on the premises. Commercial cleaning needs are met by another social enterprise, All Cleaned Up, which helps people who have been through the justice system by providing them with training and the skills to find sustainable employment.

Social Enterprise

  • The Furniture Project Stranraer Ltd opened in 1997 to collect, repair, restore and sell furniture throughout Wigtownshire. The business supports disadvantaged groups, offering 40% discounts on items for those on low incomes, and seeks to empower people, support employment for long term unemployed people, and encourage community inclusion. During the pandemic retail operations closed but employees now help provide hot meals to the most disadvantaged in society.
  • Re-Tweed is an inclusive business that focuses on a green approach to business, using recycled and reused materials for at least 70% of items and environmentally sound manufacturing practices. Re-Tweed supports the professional and educational development of women within its local community.
  • Locavore is a social enterprise supermarket and associated cafe supporting local growers and suppliers in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Kirkintilloch. Throughout the pandemic they have supported the food emergency with contributions. Their goal is to build a more local food system which is better for our local economy, the environment, our communities, and for producing community benefit.
  • Projekt42 is a social enterprise gym in Leith. Its subscription model is a circular revenue system, with up to 40 per cent of membership fees used to fund free services for community members to access as well as provide services at reduced costs for people on lower incomes such as counselling sessions delivered as part of the Mental Health Club. Their aim is to help communities see and understand the connection between physical and mental health. There is also a dedicated programme to engage senior citizens and enhance wellbeing through a wellness club which organises everything from yoga classes to community walks.
  • Totally Locally is an award-winning social enterprise and shop local movement which supports independent retailers to coordinate and promote the value of shopping locally within their community. It has inspired the opening of local markets, co-working arrangements, local community events like produce swaps and much more. It has a global reach, with over 50 towns stretching from the UK to New Zealand engaged in a Totally Locally scheme, simultaneously helping to grow the local economy while building a strong sense of community spirit.
  • Wild Ways Well is a ‘green space improvement programme’ funded in part by the Green Infrastructure Fund and organised by The Conservation Volunteers in partnership with Cumbernauld Living Landscape. It is hoped the scheme will support residents to improve local greenspaces while simultaneously helping the physical and mental health of participants through building relationships to combat loneliness and social isolation.

Other Examples

  • Unlocking Ambition (UA) has acted as a significant means of working with companies, both through their ambition to grow but also ensuring that purpose and social drivers are embedded within the firms. All companies seeking to access funding through the programme are Business Pledge signatories. Key masterclasses for UA2 include purpose-driven entrepreneurship and the entire programme this round is ‘green’ with a strong emphasis on sustainable businesses that support economic recovery and journey to net zero. Talking Medicines is one firm which as a result of connection made on UA went on to secure a £662k investment package from Social Investment Business and Social Investment Scotland – they’ve since secured another investment of £1m and are rocketing. This began with a commercially focused MedTech company ‘pivoting’ and repositioning as a mission led business.
  • The Rural Leader Development Programme offers specific advice to those in the sector regarding organisational change, yet also brings them into direct contact with local, national and international structures including the Scottish Government. This may provide a platform where arguably direct engagement through these channels has led to variation in business practice.
  • As part of the skills development agenda a Volunteer Tutors Organisation was developed which provides children who are struggling at school with tutors to support them in their education and thus pre-empt educational inequalities and disparities before they become ingrained.



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