image of three youths doing metalwork

Background

Since 1999, Tweeddale Youth Action (TYA) has operated as a youth-led organisation that gives young people a safe space to congregate, an alternative to bus stops and street corners. They operate two youth clubs in Peebles and Innerleithen and through the provision of free opportunities for all, they support young people in accessing advice, developing skills, confidence, and a sense of belonging and responsibility within the community.

 

Challenge

Five years ago, TYA received LEADER (a European Union initiative to support rural development projects in rural, coastal and urban areas of EU member countries) funding that allowed them to invest in a metal workshop, a bike repair shop and a fully kitted out commercial kitchen.  Off the back of this, TYA has grown several micro enterprises within the youth club - Bike Punks and Food Punks.

Bike Punks is based around their in-house metal workshop.  They started repairing unwanted bikes and giving them back out to the community, teaching young people metalwork as well as bike repair skills.

Food Punks is based around their commercial kitchen and delivers outside catering for events, weddings etc. As well as the kitchen, they have a van and outside cookery equipment and teach young people the skills involved in outside catering.

Pre-Covid, both endeavours had healthy income-generating capacity. With Bike Punks, TYA had a service level agreement with local authorities to support young people in learning metalwork skills. In addition. they had an agreement with the South East of Scotland Transport Partnership to provide an e-bike library locally as well as an e-cargo bike delivery service. Similarly, Food Punks saw a steady demand for events catering. 

This pipeline of business disappeared with the onset of Covid and TYA found themselves at a crossroad. Both Bike Punks and Food Punks had a strong brand to build upon and TYA had ideas they were interested in taking forward to diversify their offering.

Tweeddale Youth Action needed help with developing a business strategy to see where the opportunities lay and which of their ideas should be taken forward.

 

Solution

After being referred by South of Scotland Enterprise, Shelley Breckenridge, Business Engagement Executive at Interface, was able to connect Dave Hodson, Locality Manager at TYA, to Ed Green, Business Development Manager at the Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow, who was looking for consultancy projects for his students.  The TYA project received the support of two separate groups of University of Glasgow students.

The project brief for the students was:

  • A better understanding of local and national needs and opportunities that would help inform a linear approach; prioritising income-generating opportunities over others.
  • A better understanding of TYA’s gaps and needs; informing their fundraising and recruitment strategy for the following five years.
  • Sustainability of youth work delivery and opportunities through income generation.

Initially, as part of their consultancy projects, a group of full-time MBA Students at Glasgow University researched and prioritised these ideas, considering in-house resource to develop a strategy and a way forward. As a follow up, a group of undergraduate students on the ‘Entrepreneurial Ventures: Management & Growth’ course (which works primarily with social enterprises and charities) were given the same brief to deliver new viewpoints for the company.

 

Benefits

This process of consultation meant that the time commitment needed from TYA was reduced to a minimum whilst receiving insightful and helpful suggestions from the students.  Equally helpful for the Locality Manager was being given the luxury of taking time out from the usual spinning of plates to think and reflect on where the organisation was and where they needed to get to.  Creating the time to articulate the organisation’s needs, and having this reflected back in reports that they could share and act on, was invaluable to them.

Ed Green

“The students really relished the opportunity to work with Tweeddale Youth Action given its background and mission. Dave is a great partner and mentor for students on the courses and I hope there were some excellent insights for the future. We’ll look forward to helping Dave and the Tweeddale team more as they grow.” 

Ed Green, Business Development Manager , University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School
Dave Hodson

“The project with the University of Glasgow worked really well and we have taken valuable learning that we are putting into practice. The students were an absolute pleasure to engage with.  Interface helped set up a good relationship that I hope will last for a long time to come!”  

Dave Hodson, Locality Manager, Tweeddale Youth Action