Sir Tom Farmer, at the launch of the Outer Hebrides Social Enterprise Awards in Stornoway yesterday (Tuesday 6 November), pledged support for four of the award categories designed to celebrate social enterprise development in the Western Isles.
Sir Tom said he would give £1,000 for each of the categories, which are Land and People, Best Social Enterprise, Enterprising Individual, and Young Social Enterprise Leader, while Council Convener, Cllr Norman A MacDonald, also said that Comhairle nan Eilean Siar would also want to be involved in supporting a celebration of social enterprise. Neil Campbell, who chaired the OHSEP Forum meeting, thanked Sir Tom for his kind offer, and for his time and motivational contribution to the discussions of the day and informative question and answer session for Forum participants.
During the day, Sir Tom formally opened the UK’s first social enterprise MOT Testing Station set up by Third Sector Hebrides and run by Staran CIC; visited Hebridean Chocolates, a social firm producing high quality chocolates; and had time to speak to young people at the Western Isles Foyer project.
Alasdair Nicholson, CEO of Third Sector Hebrides who invited Sir Tom to the Islands, said, “I am delighted that Sir Tom was able to share with us his time and thoughts, and meet staff and people involved in a number of social enterprises, as well as open the MOT centre in Stornoway. This was recognition from a motivational business leader that social enterprise has a key role to play, and individuals within social enterprises and in the wider community can make a huge difference in shaping their communities, and this is what the awards want to celebrate.”
The awards will go online in January 2013 and will be held in April 2013.