SIS launches £2m fund to aid Scottish social enterprises with net zero transition

SIS launches £2m fund to aid Scottish social enterprises with net zero transition

Aberdeen Arts Centre

Social enterprises in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray can now apply for a share of a £2 million funding pot designed to support the third sector with the transition to net zero.

The Social Enterprise Just Transition Fund, backed by the Scottish Government, offers between £20,000 and £400,000 in grant and loan funding to third sector organisations that pledge to contribute to a more sustainable economy.

This initiative managed by Social Investment Scotland (SIS) was extended following a successful pilot year, during which seven social enterprises were granted funds for sustainable projects.

The fund aims to inspire green economic diversification, encourage the creation of sustainable jobs, and ensure that all communities can participate in and benefit from this eco-friendly shift. Applicants are required to demonstrate their organisation’s commitment to a just transition delivering outcomes such as empowering and invigorating local communities, sharing the benefits of climate action to address social inequalities and addressing issues related to fuel poverty.

The Aberdeen Arts Centre, a former church built in 1831, used its £34,000 award to replace stage lighting with energy-efficient LED lanterns, significantly reducing its energy consumption. The arts centre also collaborated with Aberdeen Heat and Power to introduce a new power source, indicating its commitment to become more environmentally sound.

Amy Liprott, director of Aberdeen Arts Centre, said: “The arts centre plays an important role in the local community, and we want people to have the best possible facilities to use for performing arts and theatre for years to come.

“Being kinder to the planet is important to us, and while it is not always straightforward in an older building, the switch to LED lighting is just the beginning of our ambition to become more environmentally sound.”

Organisations interested in applying for the Social Enterprise Just Transition Fund have until 4 August to complete an expression of interest form.

Chris Jamieson, head of investments at SIS, said: “Supporting charities, social enterprises and the community with funding to underpin environmental ambitions will be key to future-proofing a range of organisations and facilities, as well as helping Scotland to reach net zero.

“We would encourage third sector organisations and social enterprises of all shapes and sizes who are looking to reach net zero to get in touch and apply for funding.

“The Aberdeen Arts Centre is a great example of the type of project we’re keen to support. While the net-zero upgrades will make the building more sustainable and help the centre to cut down on energy costs, it is also helping to modernise the building and make it fit for the next generation of performers.”

Màiri McAllan, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Net Zero and Just Transition, added: “The Scottish Government is determinedly supporting communities in the North East and Moray to make the transition to net zero.

“It has been great to see the enthusiasm with which social enterprises have responded to the Social Enterprise Just Transition Fund and this year we have doubled funding support from the Scottish Government.

“I encourage social enterprises in the North East and Moray to apply with sustainable projects which will help to bring environmental and economic benefit, green jobs and greater equality to the region.”

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