Knowledge Exchange Forum
Knowledge Exchange Forum

Knowledge Exchange Forum

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CEE Centre

Glasgow Caledonian University

Cowcaddens Road


G4 0BA

United Kingdom

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Bridging social enterprise and health: Examining the body of evidence

This is one of a series of events bringing together people from the social enterprise sector, the public sector and the CommonHealth research team to explore the role of social enterprise in improving health.

CommonHealth is a five year research programme of the Yunus Centre for Social Business & Health at Glasgow Caledonian University which is developing ways to measure the impact of social enterprises on the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. The research programme has now reached its half-way stage, so this event will share some of the early findings and consider the issues that are beginning to emerge.

Friday 18th November 2016
Venue: CEE Centre, Glasgow Caledonian University, Cowcaddens Road, Glasgow



Registration and tea/coffee


Welcome and overview of the CommonHealth research programme


Building the skeleton

Setting out the existing evidence base for social enterprise as a public health intervention (Project 2)


Connecting the joints

Interactive session with tea/coffee to explore the history of social enterprise in Scotland (Project 1)


Parallel Workshops:

Putting flesh on the bones

Case studies exploring in detail the links between the work of social and community enterprise and health/wellbeing (Projects 3, 4 and 5)

Taking the temperature

Testing ways of measuring the impact of social or community enterprise on health and well-being (Project 6 and 7)


Working lunch an opportunity to network and share insights from the workshops


Second opinions from the experts

Professor Carol Tannahill, Director of Glasgow Centre for Population Health and Chief Social Policy Adviser for the Scottish Government

Dr Oliver Escobar, Co-Director of What Works Scotland, University of Edinburgh

Leona McDermid, Executive Director of Aberdeen Foyer



Wind up and Action

CommonHealth Research Programme Outline

CommonHealth is a 5-year research programme, co-funded by the Medical Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council, which aims to develop methods to evaluate new pathways to health creation and health inequalities reduction arising from the work of social enterprise.The programme is being delivered through 8 inter-connected projects. Projects 1 and 2 focus on conceptual work, exploring the literature and evidence base for social enterprise as a public health intervention. Projects 3-5 work alongside social enterprises to draw together a set of case studies, exploring the concepts from Projects 1 and 2. Projects 6 and 7 will conduct evaluations with well-established Scottish social enterprises. Project 8 will draw together the work from Projects 1-7 to explore broader issues, and how these might relate to the rest of the UK.Guiding principles

•  Collaborate between academic research, policy making and social enterprise practice.
•  Adopt an open and transparent approach to research and dissemination.
•  Encourage active dialogue between researchers and sector partners.
•  Build an atmosphere of trust among researchers, participants and partners for future developments.


•  Building capacity in all sectors.
•  Developing knowledge and understanding of social enterprise between sectors.
•  Shaping a new way of looking at social enterprise and the contribution it can make to health and wellbeing.
•  Contributing to cohesive academic - practitioner discourse to help influence policy.

Live Projects


Project 1 (2014-16): A historical perspective on social enterprise as a public health intervention Using historical research methods, archival research and oral history, this project examines the development of social enterprise in Scotland from the late 1970s until c2010. It explores how the definition of social enterprise has changed over time, how success has been defined and measured, and how social enterprise missions have related to health and wellbeing.Project 2 (2014-16): A contemporary analysis of social enterprise as a public health intervention

This project attempts to set out the conceptual basis of social enterprise by researching the views of numerous stakeholders (from service users to the heads of national organisations) through interviews and evaluative reports. The evidenchas been analysed to develop our understanding of how social enterprise functions as a form of ‘non-obvious’ health initiative.


Project 3 (2015-18): Growth at the Edge

Growth at the Edge investigates the impact of social enterprises supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) on health and wellbeing in rural and remote areas of Scotland. The project takes an action research approach, using design thinking and ethnographic methods.

Project 4 (2014-16): Passage from India

This project used ethnographic approaches to explore the work of WEvolution, an organisation supporting the creation of Self Reliant Groups (SRGs), which are groups of people, predominantly women, providing peer support, access to group savings and loans, and sharing and learning new skills with a view to starting small enterprises.

Project 5 (2015-17): Focus 50+

Focus 50+ is working closely with three organisations – Lingo Flamingo (Govan); LifeCare (Edinburgh) and Orbiston Neighbourhood Centre (Bellshill) to investigate the impact of social enterprises on the health and wellbeing of older adults. Focus 50+ is also engaging participating organisations in exploring their future potential through the delivery of design thinking workshops.


Project 6 (2016-18) Aberdeen Foyer

This project aims to explore the challenges of collecting, recording, analysing, reporting and using data on health and wellbeing outcomes in a social enterprise. Working with Aberdeen Foyer, the project will review the effectiveness of existing measures, and develop and test new measurement frameworks. A comparative investigation with other social enterprises is also being planned.

Project 7 (2016 – 18): Housing through Social Enterprise This project is focused on the health impacts of social enterprise within the housing/homelessness sector.

It will follow tenants using the services of three different social enterprises, examining the impacts on their health and wellbeing as they move away from homelessness. The project also aims to develop research methods for evaluating the impacts of social enterprise, for wider use.

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CEE Centre

Glasgow Caledonian University

Cowcaddens Road


G4 0BA

United Kingdom

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