Good for your loved ones and good for Scottish communities
Scarves, throws, tote bags, fabric
Made by the skillful hands of real Highlanders, Knockando's wool products are beautiful and properly Scottish. Help your friends and family wrap up warm in style this winter.
The Knockando Woolmill is a social enterprise set up to revive Knockando Woolmill and train a new generation of spinners and weavers.
Carishea work with communities in Ghana where women harvest shea nuts to produce butter, which is then handcrafted into luxurious products by their workers from disadvantaged communities in Scotland.
MsMissMrs supports female empowerment by providing women and girls with effective and powerful techniques on our Self Empowerment Tools (S.E.T.) programme courses – a range of recovery and self-care workshops.
They also sell high quality women's knickers, made in their Glasgow HQ and "perfect for all Scottish superheroines."
Groceries, veg boxes
Locavore (as in carnivore, omnivore... Locavore) is a Glasgow based social enterprise dedicated to local food and making the Scottish food system more sustainable. They run a shop, sell veg bags, teach cookery and deliver all sorts of projects which aim to help raise awareness of food issues and contribute to the creation of sustainable food systems which are better for the environment, the economy and our communities.
More Groceries, veg bags
For those of you living in Edinburgh, Dig-In is a community-owned and supported, not-for-profit greengrocer in Bruntsfield who supply locally-sourced produce and foster community spirit.
They do veg bags and can provide you with all the weird and wonderful (as well as completely normal) veg your heart desires, not to mention a wide variety of wholefoods, cheeses, nibbles, and more.
Bicycles & Gear
Using recycled and up-cycled bikes, the Bike Station campaigns for more cycle paths, gets commuters their first bike and helps them continue to promote cycling as an ecological and healthy way of getting around. And the best part is, their bikes are super affordable.
Soaps and candles
Located in - you guessed it - Shetland, the Shetland Soap Company design fragrances to "evoke the smell of the sea or the warmth of the sun, and products to help resolve skin care problems encountered by local people in such a northerly location."
Shetland Soap Company is part of Cope Ltd, a social enterprise providing work placements for adults with disablilites in their local community.
Art & Design Pieces
Supporting the makers, the artists, the tailors, entrepreneurs and risk takers, the bloggers, the creatives, the movers and shakers, Factory 45 is a social enterprise based in Glasgow’s Merchant City. They champion and support the work of local creatives and emerging artists, and they are one of the projects run by social enterprise Impact Arts.
More Art & Design Pieces
The Gallery on the Corner is a commercial art gallery and studio that provides a platform to exhibit and sell artwork produced by artists who have a physical or mental health condition, or those from a disadvantaged background, in the heart of Edinburgh’s gallery district.
Gal Gael has been working alongside the unemployed in Glasgow's south since 1997. They provide a space in which people can re-connect with themselves and re-connect with the people and the communities around them, using traditional craft to restore a sense of self respect and self worth.
Cheeseboards, Jam, Gift bags
This social enterprise helps adults who have been experiencing a period of mental ill-health since the ‘Good Wood’ project began in 2008, providing getaway opportunities involving tree planting and bushcraft among other things. They now provide many different placement opportunities for people at different stages in their recovery pathway.
Exotic sauces, spreads, spices
Based in Paisley in the West of Scotland, JTS is a fair trade organisation set up to facilitate the import and distribution of fairly traded products to the UK. They empower and educate producers and consumers, through the fair purchasing and sale of delicious food products from the developing world.
On a tight budget? You can't go wrong with books costing 1 penny.
Based in the Scottish Borders, Bookdonors provide flexible employment opportunities to people who find work generally difficult to obtain, and they help protect the environment by re-using & recycling unwanted books which would have gone to landfill.
More Art and Design pieces
The Libertie Project Limited is a social enterprise that runs arts and craft activities for offenders, those at risk of offending, their familes and victims of crime, as a therapeutic medium to improve general health and well being, develop pre-employability skills and reduce re-offending throughout the Highlands. They make beautiful arts and crafts pieces which are available through their Etsy shop.
Tartan gifts, scarves, jewellery, candles
Silver Stag of Scotland are a Community Interest Company who have designed their own tartan and using only bespoke manufacturers in Scotland, made a wonderful variety of gift items. All their profits go to supporting the charity STAND International who serve the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in Scotland, and further afield.
Wicker Wares from Moray
'New hands weaving old ways', from a beautiful barn in Moray they make local, source local and sell local. Keeping their hands busy creating useful items out of natural material, making things to last not throw away.
As well as selling woven wares Naturally Useful also offer apprenticeships to pass on the skills for future generations. Vouchers are available for courses and local groups and individuals are encouraged to come and experience the empowerment and tranquility of making an unique and useful product.
Experiences and gift vouchers
Hilarity is the spice of life.
Wakeboarding and Ropes Course
If you haven't tried Foxlake's wakeboarding challenge, you haven't lived. Fun for all the family, this adventure park in Dunbar features an overhead rope course with no safety harnesses - only the water below. For people who don't fancy plunging into Scottish waters this winter, Foxlake also do vouchers, and have an award-winning cafe.
Foxlake is a social enterprise aiming to create major economical impact within East Lothian both in terms of tourism and employment.
Electric and super quiet, the go-karts at The Experience are a guaranteed way to have huge amounts of fun without the tinnitis. The venue also features a lovely cafe & restaurant for when you eventually tire of making your opponents eat your dust. Great for a team or family day out, or buy someone a voucher.
Operating as a social enterprise, The Experience provides employment opportunities for young people age 16+ who have barriers to employment.
With cooking lessons for both adults and kids, the Larder Cook School wants to put good homecooking back on the menu for Scottish families. If their beautiful website is anything to go by, they mean business, and they spend their profits on providing employability programmes for young people.
They also run fabulous cooking courses for beginners and are running a special Mother's Day Workshop!
Skiing & Snowboarding
Real snow is for suckers. For everyone else, there's Newmilns Sports Complex, offering skiing, snowboarding, tubing and sledging. You can take one of their Learn to Ski In A Day courses, and there's a Ladies Night every Wednesday.
Newmilns was established to help improve the poor health of the East Ayrshire community by providing them access to an affordable sports facility, as well as providing activities for young people in the area to go to to reduce drug abuse and crime.
Theatre and the Arts
There's lots on at Ayr Gaiety, plays, musicals and special events. And at the Beacon Arts Centre they have more performances, workshops and community events. Both theatres are social enterprises helping bring their local communities together for arts, education, and employment opportunities. What's not to like?
Mountain Biking & Hillwalking
Choose a good day and nothing beats a crisp Scottish afternoon in the Highlands. The brand new cafe and outdoor centre at Laggan means that you can start and end your day of walking or biking with a nice cup of cocoa. So work up an appetite for that entire traybake you're about to eat and get out into the great outdoors.
The Laggan Wolftrax Centre was established in order to benefit the local community through tourism, and to provide an attraction for youth groups in order to raise the profile of mountain biking.
There's a lot going on at this Edinburgh arts hub, from regular exhibitions to music nights to a monthly table tennis event. They also do workshops where you can learn how to sew and make jewellery, and open days where you can invade the resident artists' personal space.
Climbing, Skating and Indoor Fun
Transition Extreme opened it's doors in 2007, and has a variety of facilities for the local community in Aberdeen. Offering an indoor climbing wall, skatepark, cafe, recreational space, learning zone, martial arts and meeting facilities, there's something for everyone.
food and drink
Ethical eateries around Scotland.
Café, Market Garden and Venue Hire with heart and soul! Set in the beautiful Nairnshire countryside, Cantray Park is the social enterprise arm of Cantraybridge College; a rural skills college for young adults with learning disabilities and/or autism. They operate as a training café, open Wednesday to Sunday, where young people gain valuable skills and experience to help them to improve confidence in their own abilities.
Their college students help to operate the Market Garden, which provides the café and customers with fresh, home-grown fruit and veg. The Wood Skills team produce handmade, high quality wood products for sale complementing a range of hardy plants, grown by their horticulture students, ideal for Highland gardens. With the help of the talkative parrots in their Aviary, they aim to support and strengthen local communities and have fun at the same time!
The White House Kitchen is a community café and venue run by the Community Alliance Trust for the benefit of the Greater Craigmillar Neighbourhoods.
Housed in a beautifully refurbished Art Deco Roadhouse, the café has a healthy, affordable food, prepared on the premises using local produce and supplemented from their own garden where possible! They also have venue hire and office space available suitable for everything from tea dances to board meetings.
Breadshare are a community supported bakery based in Portobello, Edinburgh. Their mission is to serve and involve the community by making excellent, nutritious bread using organic ingredients and distinctive local products, helping to create a more sustainable and health-enhancing food system.
They aim to make real bread more accessible to everyone. Check out their flagship cafe in Portobello, and new outlets opening with the latest on Jane Street in Leith.
The LUV Café is 'an eatery with a difference' in Govan, Glasgow. Set up in 2004 as part of the Linthouse Urban Village (LUV) with a healthy eating ethos, the café is located at the junction of Govan Road and Drive Road, just outside the centre of Govan. It operates on a not for profit basis and puts any profit back into the local community.
Featuring hearty breakfasts, home baking and craft beers, the Glad Cafe in Pollokshaws is a hidden gem. They also have an evening venue featuring live music, comedy nights, arts exhibitions and more. They operate as a community hub with the social purpose of bringing local people together.
As well as operating a community café and woodwork and tartan social enterprises, the Grassmarket Community Project offers a range of social integration and educational activities for members aimed at enhancing life skills and developing confidence. These include cookery and baking classes, art, drama, IT, reading and writing, sewing and photography.
A homely cafe with local food, hand baked cakes, an event space and a wonderful bike workshop all in one! Fully equipped workshop space provides all the tools you need to fix up your own bike and fully tailored bike mechanic classes as well. They run support groups to build confidence and a Bike Academy to train up the next generation of young mechanics.
Giraffe on South Street in Perth is a treasure trove of gifts, trinkets, plants and a lovely little cafe serving refreshments and freshly cooked food throughout the day.
Their plant range is supplied from their own garden centre at the Ladeside in Perth – grown and maintained by their jobseekers! There are trees, herbs and flowers of many types and sizes to choose from and all at very reasonable prices.
... And many, many more
There are literally hundreds of social enterprise cafes, restaurants and bars across Scotland, so we've only included a handful here. If you'd like a particular enterprise added to this list, get in touch below.
About Social investment scotland
Social Investment Scotland
We're a charity and social enterprise that provides affordable loans to other charities, social enterprises and community groups. Since 2001 we’ve invested £49 million in over 200 organisations across Scotland, and we continue to manage the largest social enterprise fund in the country. Check out the Social Investment Scotland website for more.
Looking for a loan?
Whether you need a small loan of £10,000 to buy equipment, or over £1 million to build an office, we have something for everyone. So if you want to increase your social impact, don't hesitate to get in touch with us - we'd love to hear from you.