A year's progress: a blog from Alison Clark

Alison Clark is taking part in the Vital Spark programme with her social enterprise, the Triple Aspect Puppet Company. In the blog below she explains what she's been up to over the past year.

Where does the time go to? How many times do we say that? Well, all I can say is that this past year has flown by and suddenly the next year is already starting to loom large on the horizon. I don’t know about you, but setting down business plans, cash-flow forecasts and all the rest of all the stuff we have to think about only seems to speed the process up.

It’s been a busy year. With the UnLtd grant I was awarded, I managed to get my lighting equipment and other stuff that we needed to stage proper puppet shows in small halls. Earlier in the year, Triple Aspect was asked to create a show for a gig in Tobermory on Mull. Not only did I have to write it, but make the puppets and paint the scenery! In May, I created a dragon, a “live-hand” puppet, for Butefest, a music festival here on the island. The dragon came in handy when I was asked (at the last minute) to do a couple of spots at the Largs Viking Festival. We’re now making puppets for our Christmas show, entitled; “Whee! Ginger” and we’ll have great fun rehearsing and performing it. I’ve even acquired an apprentice!

I was recently awarded another grant, this time from the Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme, in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), to run a programme enabling our local writers group “Tale Spinners” to put some of their work together to create a show of their own. They will also learn how to make their own puppets! I have already attended a couple of the SSE workshops and have met some really inspiring people who, like me, want to contribute to groups and communities that are important to them.

I could never have done any of this without the help and support of the Vital Spark programme and Firstport. I have learnt so much through their programmes and workshops – enough even to apply for grants all by myself – although I was really glad of the input that I got from Angela Hogg, the Vital Spark programme manager.

If, eighteen months ago, someone had asked me what Social Enterprise was, I couldn’t have told them – but now, it’s what drives me. What do you mean, it’s been a year? Already? Well, bring it on!