Social Enterprise: Businesses for Social Good
Award-winning Social Enterprise, ReTweed, based in Eyemouth, is delighted to receive support for their training, skills development and environmental work from Baillie Gifford. Headquartered in Edinburgh, the Asset Management Company has a significant global presence, managing investments on behalf of pension funds, financial institutions, charities and retail investors. The firm is proud to play an active role in promoting and funding initiatives that further social mobility and economic inequality. They invest in a range of innovative projects across the arts, education, health and social inclusion. Sam Pattman (Sponsorship Manager) with Baillie Gifford said “ReTweed’s work in the local community is invaluable. As an environmentally-conscious social enterprise, it is providing women with skills and experience that have a lasting benefit. This is the kind of initiative Baillie Gifford is keen to support as it makes a demonstrable difference for all of those involved and for the local area.”
ReTweed is Scotland’s first textile upcycling project, providing skills development, social connectedness and routes into enterprise, education and employment for women in rural areas.
The organisation also encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to discover the creative potential of heritage, craft and thrift skills and to educate wider audiences about the artistic and resourceful innovation in upcycling, through a year-round series of weekend workshops and community events.
ReTweed diverts waste textiles from landfill and back into the economy. Here in the UK, we send 360 tonnes of used, but still wearable clothing into landfill each year. That’s just our clothes waste alone; adding in soft furnishings brings the total to well over 1.4 million tonnes of textiles. ReTweed is transforming those ‘Rags into Riches’ and our textiles ‘Waste into Wealth.’
This pioneering social enterprise has also partnered with a range of companies across the Borders and UK to help them improve their environmental credentials. Companies like Hawick Knitwear, House of Cheviot and Design and Alter in London have donated their residual textiles to ReTweed to be repurposed into artisan furnishings, fashions and accessories – instead of sending them to landfill.
In 2017, ReTweed was shortlisted and won awards for their environmental, training & entrepreneurial achievements. They are shortlisted again in two categories for the Scottish Social Enterprise Awards in 2018: Environmental Initiative of the Year and Social Enterprise Champion. This recognition is paving the way to highlighting the potential of upcycling to form the basis of a viable business whilst promoting a business model with social and environmental benefits.
Hazel Smith (ReTweed Founder) highlighted that friends of ReTweed, the wider community and businesses were delighted to give away their unwanted materials. She says “they feel good about promoting to a social and environmental business and delighted to see the results of the transformation of their textiles into beautiful and unique creations. They also seem to like the concept of social enterprise where the income generated from the sale of our products goes back into supporting our training and the wider common good.”
She went on to add that “everyone involved in ReTweed is hugely appreciative of the recognition and support for their work from Baillie Gifford and for their investment in the organisation’s future development.
This blog post was written by Hazel Smith – ReTweed Founding Director