Inspiring social enterprises in South Ayrshire

There are a number of successful social enterprises already running in South Ayrshire. You may use these services already and not even realise they are a social enterprise! They all started with an idea...

The Quay Zone

When Girvan’s swimming pool closed in 2009 with no plans to replace it, the community in Girvan and South Carrick gathered together and formed South Carrick Community Leisure (SCCL) to make their voice heard. After early discussions South Ayrshire Council committed £4 million towards a new leisure centre that was to include a swimming pool, gym and multi-use space. While the initial agreement was for an £8m building it soon became apparent that raising the balance to build the centre would be an almost insurmountable hurdle in the funding climate that pertained at the time. To progress matters SCCL in conjunction with the Council prepared a business plan that showed a more modest building would be achievable, and more importantly sustainable in the long term. SCCL then set about and raised the remaining balance of funding needed to build the agreed £5.4m Quay Zone leisure centre. Work started on the new facility in January 2016 and The Quay Zone opened its doors to the public in April 2017.

SCCL manage and operate The Quay Zone as a social enterprise with the support of the South Carrick Community and South Ayrshire Council, who own the building but lease it to SCCL. The partnership between SCCL and the Council has resulted in a bright, modern and accessible community leisure centre that provides a swimming pool, gym, soft play, multi-use studio together with a café. In addition, to the facilities and services on offer, The Quay Zone also acts as a hub for the development and provision of sport, leisure and play activities more generally. Supporting healthy lifestyles, acting as a catalyst for regeneration and helping to deliver a better quality of life is at the heart of South Carrick Community Leisure’s mission.

Adventure Centre for Education (ACE)

ACE is a social enterprise encouraging people to make the most of natural assets in the South Ayrshire area through a range of adventurous outdoor pursuits, including forest schools, bushcraft, abseiling, mountain biking, hill walking, cannoning and sea kayaking.

It specialises in harnessing the power and energy of adventure sports to broaden the visions and aspirations of local residents of Girvan and the surrounding areas. By creating opportunities for people to try adventure sports through initiatives such as the ACE apprentice scheme, trainee placements, work experience, volunteering and employment, they have planted the seeds for greater things to come.

South Ayrshire Community Transport (SACT)

SACT is a social enterprise made up of local community transport operators and third sector organisations who identified unmet transport needs across South Ayrshire and who are involved in efforts to meet these. The only community based wheelchair accessible vehicle hire in the area, they offer a variety of services to the elderly and isolated to address social exclusion. Customers include local schools, community groups, church groups, the Health & Social Care partnership and the council’s Community Learning and Development department.

They also offer free access to the Out & About Club which supports isolated people by offering ‘door-to-door’ outings to restaurants, shopping outlets and local places of interest. SACT’s minibuses are also available to hire to community groups/organisations which can provide their own, suitably trained drivers. Their sister organisation Carrick Community Transport Group has 3 16-seater minibuses for hire, one in Maybole and two in Girvan (although these are not wheelchair accessible).

The social enterprise employs several staff and creates job opportunities by training volunteers leading to employment with SACT or with other employers.

Have an idea to start your own social enterprise in Girvan? We can help!