GALE Centre, Gairloch

Winner of the Scotland Loves Local Enterprising Communities Award 2023

Work to attract tens of thousands of visitors a year to a rural Highland community has been recognised for its entrepreneurial excellence.

The team behind the GALE Centre lifted the Enterprising Community title at the Scotland Loves Local Awards.

It came after judges heard about the economy-boosting impact of the visitor centre and community hub, which is closed just one day in the year.

GALE Action Forum, which represents the community in Gairloch and Loch Ewe and works with more than 100 local businesses, aims to environmentally and economically regenerate the area through community action and community-owned social enterprise.

The centre includes a cafe which serves local produce – some even grown in the centre’s garden – information point and gift shop.

Its nomination stated: “Between May 2022 and March 2023 it welcomed almost 24,000 visitors to the community of just 1,000 people.

“Through employing local people and utilising the services from local producers and businesses, GALE keeps the money generated by its activities within the area. 

“They employ local people, utilise more than 50 local producers and businesses, have the services of 17 community bakers, as well as nine charities or community groups. The wealth and opportunities created by GALE are kept for the benefit of local people.”


Include Me 2 Club, Barrhead

Include Me 2 Club (IM2C) was established in 2010 and was registered as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) on 10th November 2017. IM2C’s vision is to create a community where people, no matter their age or abilities, are treated equally and fairly and are supported to achieve their goals and ambitions to work, live and take part in their communities as valued members. The organisation operates primarily across Glasgow, East Renfrewshire, and Renfrewshire and focuses on helping anyone with an additional support need, learning, physical disability, or mental health condition, suffering isolation or loneliness – whatever their age. 

Over its 14 years, IM2C has become a mainstay within the community, a beacon for change and inclusion that supports a wide range of local events and activities. IM2C has many initiatives that contribute to the local economy including creating 4 new social enterprise hubs, converting two disused former local authority buildings into Community Hubs that support the wider community, as well as the Social Blend Coffee Shop, Gift Shop, and Bike Hub. The charity has grown to employ 54 employees, support 65 volunteers, and 45 trainees who have an additional support need, disability, and/or mental health condition.

The project overall reaches over 1150 members and delivers more than 14,500 hours of volunteering each year, within the communities it serves.

The Furniture Project, Stranraer

The Furniture Project is an award-winning social enterprise that exists to alleviate poverty throughout Wigtownshire. It achieves this through a public social partnership with Dumfries & Galloway Council and a 20-year contract to deliver reuse services across Wigtownshire.

The Furniture Project operates the Community Reuse Shop, which receives and collects donations of items of household and office goods for reuse and recycling across Wigtownshire. By doing this, it alleviates the effects of poverty by providing affordable homeware for families in receipt of a low-income and the wider community. The social enterprise also provides therapeutic volunteering opportunities, employability skills & employment for young people, and reduces waste volume going to landfill.

Recent projects and campaigns that benefit the local community, include cafe, a project to repair bicycles intended for landfill, allowing them to be used in the community, backing the local response to climate change – encouraging people to think more sustainably – as well as teaching life and employability skills to vulnerable people.