Contract win helps social enterprise builder break down walls

CCI Scotland director Niall McShannon (left) and contracts manager Dougie Smith at Langloch Farm in Lanark
CCI Scotland director Niall McShannon (left) and contracts manager Dougie Smith at Langloch Farm in Lanark

A Lanark-based construction firm which directs its profits into charitable causes is on track to double its turnover after securing a major contract.

CCI Scotland has begun work on a ten week playground fit out with Esh Borders Construction. The job follows the completion of its first commercial contract with Clark Contracts over the summer months.

Set up in 2002, the social enterprise, which has been helped by Business Gateway Lanarkshire, incorporates a professional construction company whose profits are ploughed into the organisation’s charitable work, delivering health, inclusion and employability programmes to people with a range of support needs.

Niall McShannon, director of CCI Scotland, believes being recognised by the construction industry as a legitimate subcontractor will help the organisation increase its annual turnover to £600k and create up to seven new jobs by February 2017.

He said: “Over the past 10 years CCI Scotland has used advice from Business Gateway to evolve into a bona fide construction firm. Two years ago our adviser helped us undergo a strategic review that highlighted we needed to be seen as a legitimate subcontractor if we wanted to increase our profits and in turn grow our charitable division. That process gave us a clear understanding of what we needed to do, and since then we’ve worked hard to gain all relevant industry accreditations.

“Making the breakthrough into mainstream contracting has been challenging, but our contract manager has worked hard to convince potential contractors that our credentials and operations are completely unaffected by the charity shareholder. Clark Contracts showed real bravery and insight when it took us on earlier this year. Its confidence was repaid when our team delivered a fantastic job at a competitive price.

“Securing partnerships with Clark and now with Esh Borders proves a social enterprise can deliver a commercially viable product to the construction industry; providing quality, cost assured work and exceptional community benefits.”

Claire McLaughlin from Business Gateway said: “Since 2006, we’ve helped CCI identify potential funding streams, increase its social media knowledge and re-align its thinking. This has helped the team increase its skills set and invest in training. Now CCI Scotland is commercially viable, offering a highly skilled workforce at competitive prices.”

CCI Scotland pic 2CCI Scotland was initially set up to enable young people at risk and adults with mental health issues to develop a derelict site in Lanark. Both groups gained skills and confidence from their involvement and it was decided further projects would be undertaken.

Now the organisation currently provides 80 people with complex mental health issues, learning difficulties and young people who are experiencing significant social disadvantage with opportunities to engage in landscape, horticulture, environmental and woodcraft projects that have a tangible benefit to their local communities.

Mr McShannon said: “Hundreds of people have benefited from working on our projects but we can only offer these opportunities if the funding is there. That is why securing work in the public and private sector is imperative so 100% of our profits can be reinvested. We’re confident more firms will see the benefit of working with us, not only because we’re competitively priced and have a highly skilled workforce but because we offer something unique – a social benefit which helps companies meet their corporate social responsibility.”

Iain Blair, director at Clark Contracts, said: “Community is at the heart of our firm, and wherever possible we strive to have a positive social impact. That is why working with CCI was attractive to us. Not only did it exceed the contract requirements, it provided us with a way to reinvest in charitable work that brings so many benefits to those who participate. We were very satisfied with the quality of finish and timescales reached by CCI, and we look forward to working with them in the future.”

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