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October 26, 2021

Scotland’s first SCIO celebrates

SCIOs (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations) are ten a penny nowadays but ten years ago this new legal form was uncharted territory. It was designed to make life easier for charities who were both keen to retain charitable status and simultaneously offer their trustees the legal protections of limited liability. Any organisation that was first in the queue to adopt this untested legal form, clearly has plenty of chutzpah but also marks itself as one to watch going forward. Turns out Scotland’s first ever SCIO has been a pioneer in all sorts of ways. Happy 10th birthday to Glasgow’s South Seeds.

South Seeds

South Seeds is 10 years old!!

We were set up in April 2011 to enable people living in South Central Glasgow to lead more sustainable lives.

In our first 10 years, we have:

  1. Brought the fight against climate change to the high street

An estimated 13,000 people have visited our base on Victoria Road, in the heart of Govanhill, for advice and information since it opened in April 2011.

    1. Lent out more than 1,000 tools

We run the Southside Tool Library, allowing residents to borrow our selection of 500 tools for free. This service has saved over a tonne of carbon and over £10,000 in tool purchase costs. Our most popular tool is the power drill!

  1. Made homes more energy efficient

Over 90% of residential property on the southside of Glasgow was built before 1919. We help local people to make their homes more energy efficient in order to reduce carbon use and save money. Our hints and tips can include using clotheshorse pulleys, draught-proofing and installing chimney balloons!

  1. Created five community gardens

We started with Agnew Lane community garden in 2011 and we have built five community gardens across South Central Glasgow – including the newly opened space around the derelict Old Changing Rooms on Queen’s Park Recreation Ground. Sadly two of the gardens no longer exist, the spaces have now been cleared for building works by landowners. These vibrant spaces are an antidote to paved backcourts, giving residents a space to grow food and learn about gardening.

  1. Pioneered the adopt-a-raised growing bed scheme

At the Croft, one of our community gardens, we built 24 raised growing beds so residents could have an individual yet supported growing experience. Since the Croft opened in 2015, more than 500 people have ‘adopted’ a raised bed and grown their own fruit and vegetables – an incredible transformation for a tennis court that hadn’t been used for 20 years!

  1. Produced a strategy for decarbonising heat

We published a series of investigations looking at energy efficiency, renewable generation and district heating in 2013, 2015 and 2017 – which together form a decarbonisation plan for Glasgow’s Southside. These reports show how carbon can realistically be saved and provide detailed information, on a street-by-street-basis, taking in to account both local knowledge and high level technical know-how.

  1. Shared our expertise beyond the Southside

South Seeds’ experience of developing effective community based solutions to mitigating climate change has been recognised by citywide decision-makers and the Scottish Government. We were asked to give evidence at Glasgow’s Citizen’s Assembly and Scotland’s Climate Assembly, both held in advance of COP 26 arriving in Glasgow later this year.

  1. Published newspapers that tackle climate change

Between 2014 and 2019, we published newspapers exploring carbon reduction opportunities such as active travel, composting, air pollution and littering. The newspaper format allowed us to explore the issues and giving detailed local information about solutions. More than 10,000 people read these newspapers, increasing understanding of climate change in our local area.

  1. Ran an energy saving handyman service

South Seeds pioneered the energy saving handyman service across the Southside between 2015 and 2018. Using energy saving solutions for pre-1919 tenement buildings identified by our energy officers, our handymen made over 1,500 energy saving installs in all tenures of homes. Since our service has ceased a number of local handymen offer home energy saving solutions.

  1. Worked with migrants struggling with the UK energy system

Glasgow’s Southside is an area with a high number of people who have come to the area from elsewhere. Over time, we have learnt how to work effectively with residents who don’t have English as a first language and had no previous knowledge of the energy system. By working effectively with the migrant population, South Seeds has become a trusted organisation and has supported thousands of migrants to effectively manage their energy at home. Our work in this area was shortlisted for a Herald society award.