Not all organisations are vocal about the fact they are a social enterprise. Nor should they be. At its heart, social enterprise is just another type of business and to many organisations, it just makes sense. It’s the bigger, better, more effective brother to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Instead of CSR it is, in many ways, just simply responsibility.
The SPFL Trust operates in a similar manner to many other social enterprises in that they are a charity first and foremost. I was surprised to see the SPFL Trust on the GSEN website because I had no idea that they were a social enterprise; I was only familiar with them through their charity work. When I thought about it I realised that it made a great deal of sense for them to a be a social enterprise – in order to operate the programmes they do they must make some money, and that money simply goes back into creating other successful programmes that use the unique communities that football clubs inherently create to do good things.
This is something that Nicky Reid and I discuss in this interview. As the General Manager of the SPFL Trust, it is abundantly clear that she is someone who cares very deeply about using the vast community-based resources available to football clubs and by extension the governing body that manages Scotland’s top flight football leagues, to affect real social change.
And it makes a lot of sense too. In Scotland, as elsewhere in the UK, football is an inherent part of our cultural identity. Football clubs, by sheer force of will, draw people from every conceivable background, class, culture and community into the one place. They are community anchors, where everyone bands together to exhibit their passion for what is inarguably a powerful communal experience. Using this passion and this community to do good things, to change lives and help people, is so obvious that you could almost be forgiven for overlooking it.
Community lies at the heart of social enterprise in the same way that it lies at the heart of a football club. The combination of the two is surely unstoppable. When people are so attached to something that it becomes an integral part of their identity, they can change lives in more ways than one. It is wonderful that football clubs realise that they can do this.
I hope you enjoy the episode.