The Circle is a “More Than Profit” organisation based in Dundee and is focused on working with social entrepreneurs, community activists, charity leaders, commercial business leaders, trustees and non-executive directors. The Circle is a hub for charities, social enterprises, community groups and socially aware businesses in Dundee. They provide affordable offices, co-working and community space, as well as affordable meeting and event spaces.
We spoke to The Circle’s Founder and CEO, Kirsty Thomson on how the charity is adapting to the challenges of Covid19.
In a usual week, The Circle are based in a thriving community hub in a large 1970’s building right in the heart of the community. They are usually offering 5 main services: affordable office space, event space, consultancy services, The Circle Café and The Circle Academy. They currently have a team of 13 staff and has 15 tenant organisations within the hub. The building usually sees up to 700 sign-ins every week which includes tenants, volunteers, service users and visitors attending meetings or events in our spaces. Kirsty explained “we have a wide variety of tenants and host events on almost a daily basis and as such, we don’t have too many ‘normal’ days – we’ve been known to turn our hand at becoming renovators, delivery drivers, wifi experts, and even emptying flooded drains with buckets!”
However with the lockdown in full force due to the Coronavirus pandemic, The Circle have been working to adapt how they work in order to continue supporting their tenants and other clients. They were in the midst of delivering their ‘Circle Academy‘ to their second cohort of candidates when the programme had to be swiftly changed to be offered digitally. The team has also been offering free one-to-one consultancy sessions and will be running a series of webinars during June and July for people in the third sector.
Kirsty explained that one of the hardest parts has been not being able to run their café, and being unable to see their volunteers and regular visitors who access the services of their hub tenants. However, the team have been keeping the spirit and social culture of The Circle alive and their daily team lunches have become daily team catch up calls and Friday evening quizzes.
So what next? The team at The Circle are busy planning for the next cohort of The Circle Academy and trying to find ways to get their café back up and running. They are also continuing to support the local community through The Circle Superstars, a new initiative to be launched this summer supported by the Wellbeing Fund to support children and young people in the local community. Kirsty told us “the biggest challenge for us during this period is making sure everyone is well and supported through a time that is undoubtedly posing emotional, health and financial challenges for our staff, volunteers, tenants and service users.”
You can access more information about The Circle at www.thecircledundee.org.uk
You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @thecircledundee and on Linkedin. RankNet members can find Kirsty Thomson and the current Time to Shine Leader, Alice Watts on our online community platform members directory.
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