Publication - Research finding

People and Communities Fund (PCF): case studies

Published: 21 Sep 2017

Case studies detailing activities and achievements of community-led projects that have received funding from the PCF.

48 page PDF

415.5 kB

48 page PDF

415.5 kB

People and Communities Fund (PCF): case studies
Case Study 3

48 page PDF

415.5 kB

Case Study 3

Inspiring Locally Grown Employability in Argyll

Lead Organisation:
Fyne Homes (RSL)/InspirAlba

Type of Organisation:
Social Enterprise

Argyll and Bute
(South Kintyre, Bute, Oban & Islands)

2009 (InspirAlba)

Nr. of Employees:

Nr. of Volunteers:

Target Beneficiaries:
Rural Communities

Funding Partners:
Multiple, including PCF

PCF Funding:
£76,000 (2015/2016) (InspirAlba)


Recognising the importance of community in relation to housing provision, this project has been co-produced between Fyne Homes, a Registered Social Landlord (match funder and in charge of claiming and invoicing) and InspirAlba, a social enterprise (responsible for the delivery of the project).

InspirAlba assists community-based organisations to turn their ideas and aspirations into robust, sustainable business activities and provides a range of services, to assist organisations and individuals to build resilience and income which in turn delivers a range of environmental, social and economic benefits for communities across Argyll and Bute. Services include:

  • Business Support;
  • Community Engagement;
  • Project Development, Management and Evaluation; and
  • Financial and Income Generation Planning.

InspirAlba has been managing the PCF funded project on behalf of Fyne Homes. The project focuses on employability and promotes social enterprise as an employment option for unemployed young people and adults who live in rural areas in Argyll and Bute and who face (often multiple) barriers to employment.

In this project, one of the key aims of InspirAlba is to give people with employment and health issues and/or disability an opportunity, to provide them with a nurturing environment through which they can feel valued and encouraged to start developing their employability skills.

InspirAlba works alongside a variety of social enterprises covering a wide range of industry sectors and activities.

Key Elements of Co-Production

Co-production Model 3 Two Level Support

In the PCF project, InspirAlba applies a co-production approach which works on a number of levels whereby the Community Anchor through its delivery agent InspirAlba, delivers the project through further partner organisations (i.e. social enterprises). Thus, the partners take on a central role in the delivery of the project by offering work placements as well as in-depth development support for the beneficiaries often suffering multiple-deprivation issues.

InspirAlba maintains close links with the delivery partners to support the work placement programme. Good communication and feedback avenues are provided. Case studies are shared between all involved. This type of collaboration is strengthening relationships and learning opportunities.

Here, the operational rationale of a social enterprise to contribute positively to the social fabric of its local community is key for the PCF project to work at two levels: (1) through partner organisations gaining capacity and fulfilling their social policy remit, and (2) supporting beneficiaries gaining employability and life skills.

By working through individual social enterprises, the project was able to operate in a large geographic area, including remote rural locations and include a wide range of industry sectors thereby offering a spectrum of opportunities suited to a variety of interests and talents.

Working as a collective team, through social enterprises was regarded as most helpful in supporting people with multiple issues who were often unemployed as a result of physical and mental health barriers or addiction issues. The social enterprises were able to offer the required ethos, flexibility and additional support that was necessary to provide a person-focused approach. It would be unlikely that other businesses with more traditional employment models, would be able to accommodate such additional needs.

" In a small rural area, nobody forgets your past when You have screwed up, it is really difficult to overcome the Stigma. The work placement gave me the chance to show my Community that I can contribute and make a difference."
A beneficiary

Description of PCF Funded Project Activities

Beneficiaries are offered supportive and inspiring work experience placements with existing social enterprises. In addition, if participants seek to set up their own social enterprise, InspirAlba links them to the Vital Sparks programme which supports local people in turning their social enterprise ideas into solutions for the challenges their community is facing.

PCF funding provides project participants with a payment/salary for taking up work placements or a wage subsidy to bridge the loss/absence of income during the period of starting up a social enterprise. This is of crucial importance for beneficiaries, because benefits are stopped as soon as a person commences a work placement or business development training.

The nurturing environment of social enterprises ensure that the work placements help people re-gain confidence and self-worth. Over a period of six-months a range of skills are learned, supporting participants in developing their potential and raising their profile in the wider community.

" Offering work placements to people in need helped us In many ways. We have gained capacity and are a more Inclusive organisation. Because the placement programme Was well structured, we developed ideas for our own Organisation and we feel more professional now. The Programme let us meet a variety of individuals raising Our awareness and ability to give back to the community. The support has been invaluable for all involved."
A participating partner

Success Stories

“My work placement with the social enterprise was extended twice and now I have gained a permanent position as a recycling operator here. I learned a lot about recycling and I have become more compassionate about the environment.

The fact that the business is charity based and is helping people makes me feel really good. I was in ill-health before I started which also made me lose my operator licence. During the work placement they encouraged me to regain my licence; my application was successful and I can now work as an operator again.

All this had a good effect on my health and has made me feel more resilient. I have also more friends now. The whole experience was only positive and I feel that I have real purpose in my life again.”

A beneficiary

" Being given the Opportunity, I can now Believe in myself, I now Have purpose in my life."
A beneficiary

Reported Achievements

Acknowledging and providing flexibility is key for the success of this project. PCF is about supporting people who have difficult issues, to address challenges in the areas of social inclusion, poverty and employability. All people are different and a needs-based service cannot be rigid, it requires an approach that is bespoke, people-focused and hands-on and offers continuity of care and support. The many positive results achieved have been based on a huge commitment in providing time, compassion, and careful guidance, and taking one step-at-a-time to enable vulnerable people to re-build their confidence and skills in many different ways.

The Inspiring Locally Grown Employability in Argyll project was successful in creating the following results:

  • High conversion rate of 85‑90% from work placement to high quality permanent employment (reported by participating social enterprises).
  • 10 unemployed people have been supported in work placements with social enterprises.
  • 16 people have been recruited for enterprise support, of whom 8 were unemployed and 5 have care responsibilities.
  • 25 people supported through training and employability skills.
  • 10 new business activities established.
  • 2 enterprise hubs established.
  • 1 new programme established.

Study Teams’ Observations

The project highlighted the strong capacity of the social enterprise sector to provide the necessary nurturing environment for vulnerable beneficiaries.

The importance of work placement payments to beneficiaries (in lieu of losing benefits) has been emphasised. This also helps to strengthen the feeling of self-worth and esteem.

" If they pay me – it must be true that I do well, it’s not just words."
A beneficiary

" I have started my social enterprise with the help of InspirAlba. I employ people and provide work placements for beneficiaries, just like I once was."
A beneficiary


Email: Hannah Davidson,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road