Keeping Scottish social enterprise stories

It has been a memorable year and one that we will remember for the rest of our lives.  But although we have been living through the same pandemic, everybody’s experience of life under COVID-19 has been different.  Like many, the social enterprise sector has struggled with lock-down, businesses closed, staff furloughed, often relying on additional funding to keep their heads above the water.  But it has also been a time where social enterprises have come to the fore, stepping in to meet local needs and provide vital services for their communities.  Social enterprises have demonstrated their value by providing services like food for vulnerable and needy people, bikes for frontline workers, activities for children, and shown how business motivated by serving the public good, rather than self-profit, has helped strengthen communities.

image of a Tweet which says "Things are hard just now and will get harder for some in the months ahead, however, the hope and determination to build something better for communities across Sc...."

One of the many Tweets being collected

As part of our work on the Scottish Government funded project, ‘Developing the Social Enterprise Collection (Scotland)’, we want to ensure that the COVID-19 stories of the Scottish social enterprise sector are preserved for future generations.  We have been capturing Tweets from social enterprises, their networks and support organisations, which show the innovation, collaboration and support that the sector has offered.  We are also are collating a list of organisations who have been collecting Scottish social enterprise COVID-19 stories.   Organisations such as Inspiralba have been capturing resilience stories of rural enterprises, and Glasgow Social Enterprise Network (GSEN) recording the experiences of its members.

We’d love to hear from others who are collecting Scottish social enterprise COVID-19 stories so please drop us an email to archives@gcu.ac.uk and let us know what you are doing.

Important as they are, these COVID-19 stories are just one aspect of the rich social enterprise sector in Scotland.  We don’t just capture this period but the full story of the Scottish social enterprise so that in the future people can look back on it and learn from it.   In order to do this we are asking social enterprises and their support organisations to #KeepItDontDeleteIt. To hold onto not just COVID-19 related material but all the material that tells their story from the time they were established.  GCU Archive Centre holds the Social Enterprise Collection (Scotland) which contains papers and records of people and organisations who have done just that.  You can can find out more about the collection on the Scottish Social Enterprise webpage.

One strand of the current phase of the Scottish Government funded project is to develop a toolkit which will help the sector to do this.  It will encourage organisations to look at their story, recognise how important it is and guide them through a simple process to save, protect and share the materials that tell that story.  During lockdown we have been working away on the toolkit and aim to have it ready for piloting by February 2021.

In the meantime –  remember #KeepItDontDeleteIt

 

Kirsty Menzies

Project archivist

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