- Written by Blairhall Bakes
For us, running a social enterprise business provided the opportunity for developing strong citizenship skills: fostering greater respect and a sense of belonging to the local community.
Who are you?
We are Blairhall Bakes, established by Blairhall Primary School in November 2016. Jay from the Social Enterprise Academy came to tell us all about what it means to run a social enterprise and we were inspired to start our own.
Why did your school choose to set up a social enterprise?
We wanted to make a difference to our local community by providing a central place in the village for people to come along for something nice to eat and the chance to chat with other people.
"It was important to us that we made stronger community links with the school. We realised that establishing Blairhall Bakes as a social enterprise would have benefits for both the local community and the school – it is an excellent driver for raising aspirations, social and collaborative skills, as well as developing community engagement." Class Teacher
We would like to be able to keep Blairhall Bakes going and we would like to have some money left over so we can buy ingredients and raise funds for the school to make Blairhall Bakes a really important part of our community.
What is your social enterprises’ social purpose?
We want to people to think Blairhall Bakes is very friendly and kind and has lovely food and that the children are caring. It will get the community to get together and talk but we will not keep the money, we will give it to the teachers to spend it on Blairhall Bakes and the school to make it a good community place.
What inspired your school to support this cause?
Blairhall is a small village that has seen some changes in recent years due to a number of new houses being built. There are a limited number of places within the village for people to come together and socialise. We felt it was important that the school played a key role as a place in the community where people could get together, chat and share ideas whilst strengthening community relationships.
I enjoy doing the cooking because we all get to use teamwork and synergy. I also like when all the parents are chatting and getting involved. P6 Pupil
What is your product?
We all share the running of our community café. Before each café event, we prepare, cook and serve a range of tasty food and drink. Our food technology skills are developing all of the time and we are increasing our awareness of health and hygiene.
What did your group learn from the experience?
We have been on a fantastic learning journey with Blairhall Bakes so far. We have developed problem-solving skills and resilience through dealing with a range of real-life challenges whilst running the café and dealing with customers. We have an increased sense of purpose and are creating change within the school and community.
We have established a Blairhall Bakes Management Committee – consisting of a small number of P5-7 pupils. We are using customer feedback to identify successes and our next steps and an Action Plan. We have created documents such as Health & Safety checklists and procedures that all classes follow. The Management Committee also has responsibility for monitoring stock control, hygiene standards and ensuring that all children maintain a focus on our social purpose.
What is next for Blairhall Bakes?
One of our proudest achievements to date is that 8 of our pupils have had the opportunity to act as ‘consultants’ to another two Primary Schools, Tulliallan and Balcurvie. Both schools are in the early stages of establishing a social enterprise community café and asked for support from the Blairhall Bakes Management Committee. Several visits to Tulliallan and Balcurvie have seen our pupil's design training sessions, deliver these confidently and lead the pupils in various activities linked to establishing their business.
We would like to say a massive thank you to Blairhall Primary School for sharing their story with us, to set up a social enterprise in your school please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0131 243 2628.