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Merger of Dundee social enterprises

Kirsty Thomson, founder of The Circle
Kirsty Thomson, founder of The Circle

The founder of Dundee-based social enterprises The Circle and ACK has announced the community interest companies are to merge.

Kirsty Thomson formed Along Came Kirsty in 2012 to offer support to charities, social enterprise and small businesses.

Since then the company, which was renamed ACK two years ago, has worked with around 250 organisations providing advice, consultancy, fundraising and networking opportunities.

Noticing that many of her clients were working in unsuitable accommodation, Ms Thomson then set up The Circle to provide affordable offices, meeting rooms and community space.

Ms Thomson said the “time was right” to merge the two organisations.

“Over the last seven years it has been a privilege to lead a talented team of staff, committed volunteers and keen students at ACK into supporting our clients to raise over £3 million to deliver jobs, opportunities and services dedicated to addressing health and social issues,” she said.

“It is the right time now for ACK’s services to continue evolving alongside The Circle as one organisation.”

The Circle, which is based at a former skills training centre in Staffa Place, became fully occupied last year with 17 tenants.

It will continue to offer offices and event space as its core activity while increasing the support it offers social enterprises.

The consultancy work offered by ACK will carry on at The Circle with a redesigned training programme for social entrepreneurs.

The Circle Academy will offer skills for organisations interested in a ‘more than profit’ approach.

Another initiative, The Circle Café project, will provide training for looked after young people and care leavers

Ms Thomson added: “I am thrilled we will soon be joined by five more members of staff so we can embed The Circle Academy, consultancy and The Circle Café project into what we are already delivering and realise our ambition as a truly inclusive, enterprising and sustainable community hub.”

National funders UnLtd have selected The Circle as their Dundee base for the Resilient Communities programme and will continue to invest in local social entrepreneurs over the next three years.

Chairman of The Circle Donald McPherson said, “Bringing ACK and the Circle together was the obvious next step in their evolution so the boards of the two companies had no difficulty in reaching this decision.”

rmclaren@thecourier.co.uk

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