Social enterprise

Shetland social enterprise to expand

A Lerwick based social enterprise is being supported by a grant of £122,350 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to help diversify and grow the business.

 

COPE Ltd is a well established and successful social enterprise providing employment and skills for adults with disabilities

It operates five enterprises - Shetland Kitchen Co, Shetland Garden Co, Shetland Home Co, Shetland Soap Company, and Orkney Soap. All profits and surpluses from goods sold are reinvested back in the company.

HIE’s investment will help support a marketing manager post for three years. The funding also helps COPE to acquire local food and drink company Shetlandeli to join its commercial arm.

Fifty people are currently employed including seven supported employees. Twenty-four people are given a total of 100 skill development sessions each week.

The social enterprise helps people reach their potential by giving them opportunities to learn in a supportive work environment where people understand disability but focus on ability.

The new full time post-holder will lead and implement a marketing and communications strategy. This involves developing a new website and products to access international markets for both the Shetland Soap Company and Shetland Kitchen Company.

Shetlandeli was founded by Jill Franklin in 2015 and its presence in Scotland has been growing with stockists in Kilmarnock, Orkney, Inverness-shire and Dunbar as well as in Shetland.

Its range of relishes and chutneys will now be added to COPE’s products as the social enterprise acquires the company. Its piccalilli, Muckle Flugga, won silver in Best Product award at the Speciality Fine Food Show, and ale chutney Valhalla won a Great Taste Award, both in 2015.

Every Shetlandeli product has a Shetland name. Its newest relish, Kishie, is named after the baskets traditionally used in Shetland for carrying everything from peat to fish and even small children.

Katrina Wiseman, said: “Social enterprises make a huge contribution to tackling some of the social and environmental challenges facing communities. Each COPE enterprise provides a range of volunteer skill development placements and supported employee positions.

“The enterprise is award winning for its vision and strategic direction, leadership and community impact and we are delighted to be supporting it to grow. A new website and rebranding will strengthen the brand, back up the quality of the products and support the promotion of the company for online customers both in the UK and overseas.”

Ingrid Webb, Chief Executive of COPE, said: “COPE Ltd has enjoyed a strong and supportive relationship with HIE for many years and are delighted to be able to grow our business and access new markets through this funding. As a social enterprise we consistently strive to find ways of self-generating income that enables us to maintain and develop our social purpose. People with learning disabilities are valuable to our communities and societies and this funding will assist us build on what has already been achieved. We are very proud to work alongside agencies such as HIE which supports us to produce amazing products by amazing people.”

Photo caption: Back row L-R – Darren Johnson, Allison Miller, Robbie Inkster, Mark Chivers and Hannah Simpson
Front row L-R – Renata Sinclair, Joanne Anderson, Katrina Wiseman HIE, Ingrid Webb CEO of COPE, Sarah Hutchison and Nadine Samuel

 

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