By Pia Chatterjee
On Monday August 3rd, Southside Social will be bringing you another way to have one more drink and not feel too guilty about it. Setting up in the former premises of Meadow Bar on Buccleuch Street, Edinburgh, this neat little bar will effectively be increasing the number of social enterprise pubs in Scotland to two, and be the first in the city.
The bar, while providing its customers with just the right spirits to put them in good ones, will also be training its employees in hospitality and giving them the experience required to work in the business. All the pub’s profits are intended to be re-invested in the enterprise and directed towards social causes. The operators of the pub have affiliations with a larger organization that works across Scotland called Camphill Scotland. The Camphill community strives to support adults with learning disabilities, and it is primarily towards this group that Southside Social aims to focus its donations.
Around nine to ten employees will be employed at a time to undergo the programme that ultimately offers its trainees qualifications like food hygiene, first aid at work, fire marshaling and the Scottish Certificate for Personal License Holders (SCPLH). The programme lasts 19 weeks of which 5 will involve learning the skills required to work in the industry in a classroom-like setting, and the rest will be centred around giving the workers a more hands-on experience in the actual work environment of a bar. During this time, people active in the industry will be able to come in and be served by these waiters and waitresses with the possibility to recruit them in the future. The bar gives its employees just the platform they need to learn, hone and showcase their skills and be immersed in the network they need for the future.
Southside Social applied for grants, fundraised, and managed to gather a hefty following of people wanting to support a place like this. This isn’t simply thanks to the fact that the idea behind the work is a great one, but also that the work is done well. It is a fantastic and innovative use of the venue and provides the people of Edinburgh with a unique example of social enterprise and a great social venue. Opening this summer, the bar will also have an official launch party on August 7th, 2015.
If you’re ever in town, don’t hesitate to stop by, grab a beer, a gourmet burger, and do some good at the same time.