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 5

48 page PDF

415.5 kB

Case Study 5

Lead Organisation:
Next Step Initiative

Type of Organisation:



Nr. of Employees:

Nr. of Volunteers:

Target Beneficiaries: Black and Minority Ethnic

Funding Partners:
Multiple, including PCF

PCF Funding:
£123,638 (2015/2016)


Next Step Initiative ( NSI) focuses on engaging with the African and Caribbean communities in Scotland. NSI addresses key issues of social inclusion, employability, financial inclusion and social enterprise development.

The key objective of the organisation is to reach out to and engage with individuals of the African and Caribbean community, help individuals to build their capacities and skills, develop their potentials, improve their quality of life, and support their integration into the civic life of Scottish society.

At NSI, working closely with relevant partner organisations and connecting them directly with the target communities is key to a successful model of community empowerment. Numerous awards have been won over recent years recognising NSI’s ‘Best Practice’ in community engagement and empowerment. This includes an award from the United Nations – UNCTAD.

In addition to reaching out to local companies (work placements), NSI collaborates closely with a wide range of strategic and national organisations who have a key interest in engaging with the African and Caribbean community for their own purposes, policy objectives and recruitment strategies.

NSI operates an Employability, Enterprise and Community Engagement Programme developed and delivered jointly with its partner organisations building on a strategic and community asset approach. A series of community engagement events focus on recruitment programmes of partner organisations, at other times working with partner organisations on their strategies regarding community engagement and empowerement with the African and Caribbean community in Scotland.

Key Elements of Co-Production

Co-production Model 5 Double Integration Progression

Alongside delivering a diverse range of support services to the beneficiary groups, the NSI maintains strong links with other strategic and local organisations. This includes organisations such as Wheatley Group Housing Association, Police Scotland, the University of West of Scotland, and HMRC.

The partner organisations offer work and volunteering places. They also have a strong self-interest in working with NSI which enables them to reach and work with the African and Caribbean communities themselves, directly (for example, to implement their Corporate Social Responsibilities policies, to improve their service improvement targets, or to make them a more inclusive organisation).

At the same time, NSI works with the beneficiaries on a range of personal development topics, including cultural adjustment, social inclusion, and confidence building. By implementing a person-focused approach, NSI builds self-esteem and aspirations in people thereby encouraging them to progress from being a service user to becoming a volunteer.

Volunteering further enhances their skills attainment, delivering mentoring to new service users, and eventually progressing to employment, further education, or starting up their own social enterprise.

At the core of NSI engagement is relationships and partnership working (formal and informal) sharing of good practice, learning from experience, focusing on solution finding, and developing everyone’s potential, knowledge and expertise.

" Perception is the biggest barrier – providing role models and building relationships is the best remedy."
A staff member

Description of PCF Funded Project Activities

Under the banner of ‘helping people to increase their chances’, PCF funded two strands of NSI project activity: social enterprise creation, and employability. This includes access to a wide variety of activities, including meeting and office space, radio station, and conference facilities.

Under the topics of ‘tacking poverty’ and ‘promoting social inclusion’, the key objectives were:

  • To improve confidence, self-esteem and skills;
  • To motivate and enable the development of personal potential;
  • To raise awareness of opportunities and rights;
  • To improve household budgeting skills, debt management and enhance access to credit union facilities;
  • To enhance access to key networks and support provision;
  • To encourage representation as trustees and board members in public/community organisations to influence decision making; and
  • To facilitate entering employment or starting a social enterprise.

At the core of the service provision of NSI is the personal advice and support provided to each service user through which people’s needs and developments are reviewed, and encouragement and motivation is offered on a continuous, and ‘open door’ basis.

Success Stories

"It is one of the best and most interesting projects to be involved in. It provides an opportunity to learn and to build transferable skills. It makes integration easy and it is an opportunity to understand other cultures and to talk about yours. It helps to break barriers, build a sense of belonging, and be more open to others, without feeling lost while mainitaining one’s own identity.

As a result of the confidence, experience and skills gained after 12 months traineeship with NSI and Riverside Museum, I was able to immediately get a job as an Account Coordinator with support of NSI Employability Programme. I am very grateful indeed to all the NSI staff."
Adebimbe Ademosu: Former NSI trainee with Glasgow Life, Riverside Museum

Further to developing a linked-up approach in service delivery with other service providers, NSI ensures that its members are Board members on relevant networks such as SURF, Pollok Integration network, Ethnic Minority Poverty and Climate Change Network, Community Action on Climate Change.

All services and activities delivered by NSI are informed by its members and service users. This is facilitated through regular contact, applying a person-focussed approach and the delivery of bespoke advice and support services.

Suggestion boxes and views expressed by participants are taken seriously and help improve services. Through helping develop and tailor service delivery, participants gain a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Reported Achievements

NSI works with nearly 300 people per year, and PCF has supported the following activities (2015/16):

  • 12 workshops undertaken (engagement and recruitment; skills training; social enterprise and business planning);
  • Sudanese women social enterprise network and Somali group established (20+ participants);
  • Incubation Hub (25+ users)
  • More than 30 work placements;
  • 35 mock interviews undertaken;
  • More than 50 people mentored; and
  • More than 35 volunteers recruited.

" I have become a confident presenter and can communicate well."
A beneficiary

" We actively engage service users to become volunteers and involve volunteers in our planning, design and delivery of services. This builds confidence, skills, pride, and a sense of belonging."
A staff member

Study Teams’ Observations

A well-thought through approach working at multiple levels of engagement for all involved. Excellent example for co‑production at strategic as well as service user level (where Corporate Social Responsibility meets community engagement). NSI was instrumental in launching social enterprises.

Key to the success of NSI are the use of positive role models and providing opportunities to participate, engage, and contribute. The approach focuses on lessons learned to help continuously improve and tap into new opportunities for all involved. This represents a two-way process benefiting target group beneficiaries as well as partner organisations.

" Our group had no hope before we came to NSI, now we have."
A beneficiary


Email: Hannah Davidson,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road