Award for social enterprise that teaches circus skills to youngsters

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17th July 2019 by Gavin Stuart 1 Comment

A social enterprise that uses circus skills to improve the physical and mental health of youngsters in Leith has been awarded a £25,000 funding boost.

Kat Borrowdale, the founder of Think Circus CIC, was one of four social entrepreneurs to secure a share of £100,000 funding in the latest round of Build It awards. 

The awards, delivered through social enterprise start-up agency Firstport, are part of the Scottish Government’s Social Entrepreneurs Fund.

They are given to social entrepreneurs who have proven their business concept and social impact to commit to their business full time by covering living costs for a year and employing additional staff.

Think Circus works with children who live in areas listed in the bottom 10% of the Index of Multiple Deprivation and aims to build circus groups to improve young people’s mental and physical health.

Borrowdale said she was inspired by her own experience of circus in her teenage years, which helped her radically change her attitude to her body, learn to see the benefits of regular exercise, and find a community in which she could “embrace her weirdness”. 

Drawing inspiration from programmes around the world, she hopes Think Circus will be able to improve young peoples’ wellbeing through exercise, creative expression and play. Their shows consist of an all-human cast that give the children the chance to show off their newly learnt, seemingly super-human skills. 

The extra funding will be used to run more drop-in sessions every week in Leith, offering them for free to those who are most in need.

Borrowdale said: “Receiving a Build It award is a game-changer for us. In the short term I’m excited to grow the in-house team and set up weekly circus drop-in sessions in Leith, which will be free for those who are most in need.

“It’s so important that once we establish the programme it is there for years to come so that we can create meaningful connections and development for young people in the long-term. In five years’ time we can hopefully set up our own circus venue.” 

Josiah Lockhart, Firstport chief executive, congratulated Think Circus on the win.

He added: “This round of Build It was extremely competitive, and truly reflective of the increasing quality of enterprises coming through our awards programme.

“Think Circus CIC is an exciting social enterprise which offers a novel and fun way to stay active and learn new skills to children and young people who need it the most. We’re excited to see the progression of Think Circus CIC as well as all of the social enterprises awarded in this latest round.”  

The three other winners in this round were Smart Gym CIC in East Renfrewshire, Music Broth in Glasgow and Randori Social Enterprises in Midlothian. Each will receive £25,000.

24th July 2019 by maxxmacc

Our organisation applied to Firstport, only to be refused for frankly bizarre reasons. Doesn't surprise me the clowns are giving money to a circus.