How social enterprises in Scotland are thriving in challenging times

The year 2020 was a difficult one for many businesses and organisations across the world. The COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit brought unprecedented challenges and uncertainties to the economy and society. However, despite these hardships, social enterprises in Scotland have shown remarkable resilience and growth, according to the latest Social Enterprise in Scotland: Census 2021 report.

The report, which is the fourth account of national social enterprise activity since 2015, reveals that social enterprises contribute over £2.63bn to the Scottish economy, a 14% increase from 2019. The sector also employs nearly 90,000 full-time employees across 6,047 social enterprises operating in Scotland. The findings cement Scotland’s reputation as a world-leading nation in the support and development of social enterprise.

But what is social enterprise and why is it so important? Social enterprise is a dynamic, ethical and more sustainable way of doing business that puts people and planet before profit. Social enterprises are businesses that trade for a social or environmental purpose and reinvest their surpluses back into their mission. They tackle some of the most pressing issues in our society such as poverty, inequality, climate change and health.

Some examples of social enterprises in West Lothian include:

  • Almond Valley Heritage Centre: A museum and farm park that preserves and interprets West Lothian’s rural heritage and provides educational and recreational opportunities for visitors.
  • Braid House Day Centre: A day care service for older people that offers activities, meals, transport and support to enhance their quality of life.
  • Broxburn United Sports Club: A community sports club that provides facilities and coaching for football, boxing, gymnastics and other sports.
  • CairnsMoir Connections: A counselling service that supports people affected by trauma such as abuse or violence.

These are just some of the many inspiring examples of how social enterprises are making a positive difference in our communities and beyond. As part of the West Lothian Social Enterprise Network (WLSEN), we are proud to be part of this vibrant and diverse movement that is creating a fairer and more sustainable society.

WLSEN is a network of over 50 social enterprises based in West Lothian that aims to support, promote and develop social enterprise in our area. We offer various services such as networking events, training workshops, peer support groups and funding opportunities for our members. We also work with other organisations such as local authorities, funders and private sector partners to raise awareness and advocate for social enterprise.

We would like to thank all our members, partners and supporters for their hard work
and dedication to our shared vision. We invite you to join us in celebrating this fantastic achievement for social enterprise in Scotland.

If you are interested in learning more about WLSEN or becoming a member or supporter please contact us at