A businesswoman who joined colleagues in vowing to keep their jobs, while continuing to provide a valuable service has won a top award, reports MIKE DELANEY.
Lynne Ogilvie was named entrepreneur of the year at a Fife Social Enterprise trade fair organised by BRAG Enterprises Limited.
She is service manager at Fife Shopping and Support Services Limited, which is based at Mitchelston Industrial Estate, Kirkcaldy.
Lynne and fellow workers from the Fife Council-run shopping delivery and pension collection service - many of whom lived or worked in Glenrothes - set-up the new company in September 2010 one day after Fife Council controversially stopped the service which catered for vulnerable people in the community, including elderly people.
The workers put their own money into the new firm, which is a not-for-profit business - and that investment has paid off handsomely in terms of retaining jobs and continuing to provide a service.
Lynne said: “We currently have a total of 14 staff, including myself.
“We cover everywhere in Fife - including the Glenrothes area - and we operate on a no waiting time basis so the service can be put in place immediately.”
Over the last 18 months, the service has expanded markedly and, in addition to pension collection and shopping delivery, it now helps clients with prescription collection, bill payments and housework.
Lynne and her colleagues are grateful to those who provided assistance to help get the venture of the ground.
She explained: “BRAG Enterprises have supported me right from the start and I was really pleased to have been presented with this award.
“It has been a lot of hard work to get the business up and running so to get recognised for that is really nice.”
Lynne added that the company had also been given a cash boost of £10,000 from the Coal Regeneration Trust - which assists projects in former mining areas - and this had allowed the firm to buy another two vehicles to add to its fleet.
The business has also been given charity status which allows it to get access to more funding.
Charges are based on the cost of provision only and any profits are used to improve the service for customers.
Lynne said she and her colleagues are now planning to develop the business further by introducing a befriending service and it is also aiming to fundraise for a wheelchair-adapted vehicle to allow staff to take clients out and about.
She is hoping to start raising money for this by taking part in a sponsored skydive in June.
Lynne added that the company are always looking for new referrals and wants to hear from any businesses interested in sponsoring its expanding range of services.
Anyone interested should contact Fife Shopping and Support Service on 653344.