Shepherding social change is the defining feature of what social enterprise does. With this in mind, it’s easy to understand why many social enterprises are spun out of, or started by, charities. Some charities become social enterprises over time, whilst other choose to set-up businesses which operate as a social enterprise, with the same aim as the charity but using different consumer driven means to get there.
Unity is one such organisation which has chosen the latter route. The charitable arm started in 1989, and has been operating in a number of different communities across the West of Scotland. It has helped a great number of individuals with learning disabilities through its training and work experience programmes, and offers guidance and support, personal development, educational provision and runs social activities..
In recent years it has been operating the Spoon Café, a social enterprise based in Glasgow’s city centre which offers work opportunities aimed specifically at the groups it works with.
Last month Unity relaunched the Spoon Café in Trongate, doing so alongside company-wide rebranding. I popped along to the launch to interview CEO Emma Soanes and to take in the vibe of the newly refurbished café. Emma was honest and reflective about the work Unity does and how social enterprise can be a force for good in the world.
I hope you enjoy this interview.