Around 140 people gathered in Elgin on Friday (14th March) for Third Sector Interface Moray’s (tsiMORAY) ‘Join the Dots’ event – to celebrate the vital role of the third sector, social enterprise and partnership working in Moray.
There were awards for leading social enterprises (see winners and categories below) and the event also provided a platform for the launch of a three year strategy to support and maximise the benefits of social enterprise to the local economy.
The Social Enterprise Strategy for Moray has been developed by tsiMORAY with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and endorsed by community planning partners. Over 40 community organisations enthusiastically participated in a range of networking and workshop sessions, including the development of the social enterprise strategy action plan.
HIE Area Manager, David Oxley, launched the strategy at the event with Fiona Birse of Elgin Youth Development Group. He highlighted the vital role social enterprise plays in both the economic and social fabric of our area - helping to create employment and skills opportunities, improve health and welling and improve services in both urban and some of our more rural communities.
He commented: “We have a thriving and ambitious third sector in Moray which is already making a real difference in the lives of many people in the Moray community. The strategy sets out a partnership approach to support the sector and HIE and tsiMORAY will continue to work with the various groups which are keen to be part of developing the action plan.”
The four objectives identified as key priorities for the period 2014 to 2017 are: to create an environment where social enterprises can flourish; raise awareness of the value of social enterprises; increase the strength and capacity of social enterprises; and through the services and opportunities of social enterprises, increase Moray’s economic and social well-being.
Fabio Villani, Chief Officer of tsiMORAY, commented: “The strategy has been developed in consultation with community planning partners and third sector organisations and was very warmly received at the event. There were already a range of good ideas coming through on what to do practically to achieve these aims. This included further themed networking opportunities, refreshing the Moray Social Enterprise Network Directory, wider circulation of the directory through a range of mediums, development of a route map of support as a social enterprise evolves, opportunities for peer to peer learning and encouraging business mentors to become involved with social enterprises.
“The event also provided opportunities for people to discuss the development of wider and even more effective third sector networks, a renewed compact between third sector and public sector, and the development of a vision for integrated health and social care in Moray.”