By Kristy Dorsey

Social enterprises in Scotland have received a six-figure injection during 2020 from a programme run by the investment arm of The Big Issue that has allowed them to respond to the Covid crisis by providing meals, supporting disabled beneficiaries and helping the homeless into accommodation.

An impact report from Big Issue Invest shows that its Power Up programme provided £870,000 of support to 19 businesses across the country. In addition, programme partners from the public and private sectors provided more than £384,000 of pro-bono assistance.

Among the beneficiaries is Edinburgh-based Scran Academy, which supports young people from vulnerable communities by providing them with work in catering.

READ MORE: Big Issue in record investment in Glasgow rental market

“After going through the programme ourselves, we merged with Power Up Scotland alumni Prep Table during Covid,” Scran Academy director John Loughton said. “The core partnership helped pioneer a city-wide food operation, the Scran Meals Programme, that has so far produced and delivered around 150,000 meals to around 3,500 residents across Edinburgh, supported by 250 key worker volunteers.

“We’re proud to have continued our core programmes for youth work and wellbeing support for over 20 individuals.”

READ MORE: Social Bite launches brownie delivery service to help homeless people

Danyal Sattar, chief executive of Big Issue Invest, said: “We have been inspired by these 19 organisations we have supported with both the investment and the business development expertise they needed in order to make an even greater difference within their communities.”

Partners in the Power Up programme include the Scottish Government, the University of Edinburgh, Aberdeen Standard Investments, Places for People, Experian and Brodies, which together provided more than 3,500 hours of pro-bono support in 2020.