Bute recently played host to 15 delegates from the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF).  Reeni Kennedy Boyle reports on their visit for Visit Bute:

This year marked the 10th anniversary of Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF), and saw this international event come home to Scotland.  SEWF has established itself as the global event for celebrating the innovative and creative solutions communities use business to do good for people and planet.

For Scotland this was an opportunity to show over 1400 delegates the depth and breadth of social enterprises we have from running a local petrol station to managing large scale renewable energy projects; from providing employment skills development in community gardens to tackling homeless through hospitality; and much, much more.  A key part of the week-long event gave delegates an opportunity to take part in study tours where they could meet exemplars of social enterprise and enjoy our stunning environment. 

Fyne Group were delighted to welcome 15 delegates from Canada, Australia and New Zealand to Isle of Bute.  The group travelled the short 45 minute journey from Glasgow and had opportunity to enjoy the Firth of Clyde during 35 minute crossing from Wemyss Bay.  First stop on island was a visit to Calum’s Cabin shop that provides revenue to support Calum’s Cabin charity.  The inspirational story Calum’s wish for children suffering from cancer to experience Bute, spend quality time with their families and create irreplaceable memories was very well received. 

Next was a presentation from Colin Renfrew, CEO Fyne Homes.  Fyne Homes have been providing quality social housing since 1979, and is structured as a community benefit society.  However, Fyne Homes do much more than manage in excess of 1450 properties across Argyll & Bute.   The presentation covered creative initiatives supporting tenants and the wider community such as The Nostalgia Café and Fyne HEAT.  An overview was provided of Fyne Energy, a project, almost 10 years in the making, to own and manage three turbines with a project 6.8 megawatt output which is anticipated to generate an average of £750,000 community benefit per annum.

Over a gorgeous lunch made entirely of local produce, provided by Smith & Gray Bespoke Catering, Paul Duffy of Bute Island Alliance gave a short talk on the positive actions our community is taking to promote and support entrepreneurial ship and attract people to the island.  Bute is an ideal place to live and work and this was demonstrated through a viewing of several short videos featuring just a few of the wonderful organisations on the island including Fyne Futures Ltd. 

Paul Duffy from Bute Island Alliance Buffet by Smith & Gray Bespoke Catering

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Walking off lunch, the delegates were invited on a short tour from Fyne Futures ReStyle Reuse shop, passing Triple Aspect Theatre Company and on to the new community space at Chapelhill Car Park, the creation of Incredible Edible Accessible Garden has been support by Fyne Futures Bute Produce.  This is part of a larger project to move Bute towards a Sustainable Food Island.  Bute Carbon Free Food Project is funded by Climate Challenge Fund and is supporting horticultural skills development, promoting local and seasonal eating and highlighting ways in which Bute can reduce its carbon footprint through choosing to buy local.  The final part of the tour was at Fyne Futures Recycling Centre, a very practical demonstration of our aspirations to look after our environment and maintain its beauty through Zero Waste Bute actions.

The feedback from all delegates was very positive, particularly the quality of lunch, with one person exclaiming “one of the best meals I had in Scotland!”  We waved them off towards Cowal, where they visited Kilfinnan Community Forest before heading over to Tarbert for an evening of social enterprise entertainment from Tarbert Feis group.  The next day took them back to Glasgow via Tarbert Harbour Association, MAC Pool, Mid Argyll Youth Development and the Here We Are project at Cairndow.  It’s tour we would recommend, starting from Bute, of course.

If you would like to download the full press release, please click SEWF Document