Contract win boosts social enterprise success

Contract win boosts social enterprise success

A Lanark social enterprise has secured a major contract with Esh Borders Construction, placing the firm firmly on target to double its turnover.

CCI Scotland has recently begun work on a ten week playground fit out, and is now set to increase its annual turnover to £600k and create seven new jobs by February 2007.

Set up in 2002, the social enterprise incorporates a professional construction company whose profits are ploughed into the organisation’s charitable work, delivering health, inclusion and employability programmes to people with a range of support needs.

Niall McShannon, director of CCI Scotland, said: "Over the past 10 years CCI Scotland has used advice from Business Gateway to evolve into a bona fide construction firm. Two years ago our adviser helped us undergo a strategic review that highlighted we needed to be seen as a legitimate subcontractor if we wanted to increase our profits and in turn grow our charitable division.

"Making the breakthrough into mainstream contracting has been challenging, but our contract manager has worked hard to convince potential contractors that our credentials and operations are completely unaffected by the charity shareholder."

This latest job follows the completion of CCI Scotland’s first commercial contract with Clark Contracts over the summer months.

Mr McShannon added: "Securing partnerships with Clark and now with Esh Borders proves a social enterprise can deliver a commercially viable product to the construction industry; providing quality, cost assured work and exceptional community benefits."

Claire McLaughlin of Business Gateway, said: "Since 2006, we’ve helped CCI identify potential funding streams, increase its social media knowledge and re-align its thinking. This has helped the team increase its skills set and invest in training.

"Now CCI Scotland is commercially viable, offering a highly skilled workforce at competitive prices."

CCI Scotland was initially set up to enable young people at risk and adults with mental health issues to develop a derelict site in Lanark. Both groups gained skills and confidence from their involvement and it was decided further projects would be undertaken.

These days the company provides 80 people with complex mental health issues, learning difficulties and young people who are experiencing significant social disadvantage with opportunities to engage in landscape, horticulture, environmental and woodcraft projects that will benefit their local communities.

Mr McShannon said: "Hundreds of people have benefited from working on our projects but we can only offer these opportunities if the funding is there.

"That is why securing work in the public and private sector is imperative so 100% of our profits can be reinvested.

"We’re confident more firms will see the benefit of working with us, not only because we’re competitively priced and have a highly skilled workforce but because we offer something unique – a social benefit which helps companies meet their corporate social responsibility."

Iain Blair, director of Clark Contracts, said: "Community is at the heart of our firm, and wherever possible we strive to have a positive social impact.

"That is why working with CCI was attractive to us. Not only did it exceed the contract requirements, it provided us with a way to reinvest in charitable work that brings so many benefits to those who participate.

"We were very satisfied with the quality of finish and timescales reached by CCI, and we look forward to working with them in the future."