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West Lothian Gymnastics Club

West Lothian Artistic Gymnastic Club (WLAGC) has become one of the first social enterprises in Scotland to receive funding from Asda’s Community Capital Fund raised through the first six months of the Scottish Government’s 5p single use carrier bag charge.

The charitable organisation, which operates at Craigwilliow, Livingston as well as off site at local schools throughout the region, aims to increase their capacity and expand their current offering of pre-school activity in order to become more sustainable.  It has received funding of over £20,000, which will be used to meet the growing demand for pre-school high quality gymnastics, by training and mentoring three new members of staff.

A total of £156,000 has been awarded to community based social enterprises through a unique partnership between Social Investment Scotland (SIS) and Asda, following the supermarket’s pledge to donate half of the funds from the bag charge to support innovative social enterprises and community projects across Scotland.

The partnership, the first of its kind in the UK, has allowed Scotland’s leading funder to the third sector SIS to distribute half the proceeds through loans, helping five third sector organisations who otherwise would find it difficult to access funding.  The remaining proceeds from Asda’s Community Capital Fund are being distributed by Foundation Scotland, in small grants to community projects.

The other four successful applicants that will receive investment are ‘real bread’ bakers Breadshare, Cumnock Juniors Community Enterprise SCIO, conservation group Green Aspirations and North Highland Radio. Each of the organisations will receive investment capital of between £10,000 and £50,000 to help them continue delivering positive social impacts within their local communities.

Interest will not be charged during the first year of investment and from the second year, all interest raised on the Community Capital loans will be reinvested to support more good causes, delivering sustainable social impact in communities across Scotland.

Alastair Davis, Chief Executive, SIS

“WLAGC has been running in the local area for over seventeen years, and currently, the group has just under 400 members attending weekly classes with qualified coaches.  There is a growing demand for the places at WLAGC, in particular for the pre-school lessons, for children aged 18 months to 3 years.  We are delighted to offer investment to the group so that they can meet this growing need, which will help the organisation to become sustainable, ensuring the service can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Ruth Griffin, head coach and chairperson at West Lothian Artistic Gymnastics Club

“We are absolutely delighted to receive this investment from SIS through Asda’s Community Capital Fund.  Having the loan with no interest in the first year really gives us extra flexibility to grow the club for the benefit of the local community.  The funding will be invested into our new training facility, which will allow us to offer more classes and ultimately employ more people.  Our pre-school service will launch after the summer holidays and there will be more children’s spaces than ever before thanks to this investment. ”

Kevin McBride, Asda’s Senior Director for Scotland

“At Asda, we want the carrier bag charge to have long-term social – as well as environmental – benefits.  Our partnership with SIS is about using the scale and expertise of Asda to make a real difference to the third sector and help nurture more resilient communities. We’re proud to be involved.”