£500 awards available to young people to make positive changes in their communities

May 29, 2018

Young people are being encouraged to try out ideas that make a difference in the world around them by applying to Pounds for Purpose, a new programme launched today by social enterprise agency Firstport.


Pounds for Purpose offers grants of £500 as well as guidance and support to young people aged 16-26 to try out ideas that have a positive impact on people and the environment. From making life fairer for those who experience disadvantage; finding better ways to care for the more vulnerable members of society; or making the world greener and more sustainable, Pounds for Purpose hopes to inspire the next generation of change makers to take action in the issues they care about.

Firstport already supports a number of young people who are turning their interests and hobbies into ideas that make a difference in their community.

24-year-old Lily Asch’s journey started when she gave a TEDxUniversityofEdinburgh talk sharing her experience with mental illness as a young person. She realised how powerful it was to share her experience, but she was also amazed by how it opened the floor for others to share their own insights with her. That’s how her idea started to develop.

She was awarded £500 seed funding as part of Firstport's Community Ideas Fund in 2017, to help set up Real Talk's website. Real Talk is a mental health storytelling social enterprise that runs community storytelling evenings, where real stories about mental ill health are told by real people to an open audience. To date, Real Talk has run 12 events that have seen 44 speakers share to over 450 audience members.

Lily said: "Running Real Talk has been transformative, personally, professionally, and also in the community. I've used storytelling and creative practice to empower personal stories and spark meaningful conversations about mental health. The feedback has been great, we once were told "keep this event going, it saves lives," and we definitely don't intend on stopping soon."

Firstport chief executive Josiah Lockhart said: “We are excited about Pounds for Purpose and the potential it has to empower young people to take action to test and start their idea, however big or small, to address the social or environmental issues that matters to them.

"We are seeing more young people coming through our doors interested in setting up businesses that are driven by purpose, rather than the pursuit of profit alone. Pounds for Purpose gives us a platform to connect with young people who may not necessarily be ready to set up a social enterprise, but who are nevertheless interested in improving the world around them and are prepared to give their idea a go.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about Pounds for Purpose and applying can visit www.firstport.org.uk/poundsforpurpose. For more information about Real Talk, visit www.realtalkproject.org.


For more information, contact Maria Ashley maria@firstport.org.uk or Jess Gray jess@firstport.org.uk, 0131 558 2724.

Editor’s Notes


Established in 2007, Firstport is Scotland’s development agency for start-up social enterprise, supporting more than 3 social entrepreneurs a day start up and/or grow their enterprises. We offer a full package of free business support and resources that includes start-up funds, business advice, practical tools and connections.

Firstport delivers an awards programme, which distributes money from the Scottish Government’s Social Entrepreneurs Fund and is part of the Just Enterprise consortium, with responsibility for providing business support to start-up social enterprises across Scotland. Firstport also helps small communities find enterprising solutions to local issues through its What If… programme and delivers LaunchMe, Scotland’s dedicated social enterprise accelerator programme to help growing enterprises grow and secure social investment from Scotland’s private investor community.

Real Talk

Real Talk is a social enterprise dedicated to storytelling for mental wellbeing. It runs storytelling workshops, host intimate storytelling evenings around mental ill health, and are developing a range of community events. They also collaborate with organisations to craft bespoke sessions that, through storytelling, bring an awareness of mental health to the workplace and other environments.