Recognition for firms

Vital Spark group with MSP Michael Russell.
Vital Spark group with MSP Michael Russell.

A total of 18 businesses set up to tackle social and economic issues in Argyll and Bute have had their achievements recognised in the Scottish Parliament.

Several of the inspiring entrepeneurs attended a parliamentary reception last week, hosted by Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell, to celebrate their achievements and the conclusion of the Vital Spark programme.

The three-year programme was set up by Firstport in 2015 to support local people in and around Dunoon, Rothesay and Campbeltown to provide practical solutions to social and economic challenges in their own communities.

The start-up social entrepeneurs met MSPs, funders and other guests at the event.

Josiah Lockhart, Firstport chief executive, said: “We launched Vital Spark in Argyll and Bute as it is an area with outstanding natural and cultural assets and vibrant community spirit, but also facing tough challenges, including social and geographical isolation, youth migration and an ageing population.

“It was very much a partnership project.

“We joined forces with local social enterprise support organisation InspirAlba who co-developed the programme and delivered business support on the ground.”

Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell, who hosted the event, said: “I was delighted to be able to sponsor a reception in the Scottish Parliament to celebrate the Vital Sparks social enterprise programme.

“It was great to meet some of the inspiring particpants at the event.

“Social Enterprise has a vital role to play in rural communities like Argyll and Bute.

“It can tackle local issues with strong local knowledge and skills and often fills gaps in service provision which are inevitable at times of financial pressure.

“It also does so whilst creating employment and offering valuable volunteering opportunities.”