Have you ever spotted a problem that’s just waiting for a good idea to solve it? We all have good ideas, but not many of us do anything about them. It takes determination, hard work and courage to make good ideas a reality. These are qualities that the ten graduates of the Good Ideas Incubation Programme have in spades. On Monday 11 June, their good ideas for tackling nine different social and environmental problems were unveiled at the ‘Good Ideas Marketplace’. From tackling period poverty and isolation of young mums to developing a community hub in the heart of Leith, they’re all hoping to make the world a better place.

Good Ideas is a social innovation programme funded by the Scottish Government. Now in its sixth year it has helped to launch over 70 new social enterprises. The graduation sees another nine projects pass through the programme and sounds the starting gun for applications to the Good Ideas Programme 2018-19. This year’s graduates cover a range of different challenges, but all of them have a fascinating story behind them.

Celia HodsonIn 1998 Celia was a single mum of three struggling to bring up her family on benefits, money was tight and there was no help to cover the cost of sanitary protection.

Twenty years on Celia is still frustrated that “Period Poverty” remains a real issue, with girls in the UK missing school because they can’t afford sanitary products. She didn’t want others to struggle as she had and so together with her grown up daughters Becky and Kate launched ‘Hey Girls’.

‘Hey Girls’ tackles period poverty by giving a girl or young woman one pack of pads for every pack purchased. In January they launched their new product and soon generated a huge amount of interest, with traditional media as well as fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers supporting their new initiative. Two major supermarkets will soon be listing their products and their impact is being felt on the ground with pads being sent to schools and food banks across Scotland.

Duncan PlaceThe Duncan Place Resource Centre provided a much loved and needed community center in the heart of Leith, however in 2014 following decades of under investment the City of Edinburgh Council made the decision to close its doors. The classes and groups that met in the building were re-homed, but as they were no longer in Leith half of those who enjoyed them could no longer take part.

Nicola ran the parents and toddler group in the centre when on maternity leave and ended up getting involved in the management committee. Dismayed at the potential loss of the building she, Keith and other members of the community rallied to the call. They wanted to save the building from demolition, and raise the funds required to develop Duncan Place into a thriving community hub once again.

In March 2018 plans to re-open ‘Duncan Place’ took a huge step forward after receiving an award of £1.2m from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund. This funding will allow the building to be refurbished with the aim to have the much loved and needed space re-opened by 2020.

“Being on The Good Ideas Class of 2018 has helped us develop a clearer vision of what Duncan Place can offer and has improved our ability to communicate that to others.” Nicola Lamberton, Duncan Place

Lauren McLaughlinA recent survey of over 2,000 new mums found that 90% admitted to feeling isolated and lonely, and for young mums aged 18-25, almost 50% experience these feelings often, or always.

Lauren was catapulted into motherhood aged 20 and soon found herself alone with her baby surviving on benefits. She lost touch with many of her friends and found herself pushing a buggy around Leith in a haze of loneliness. Her confidence soon hit rock bottom.

It was art that provided her with the purpose beyond motherhood she needed. Completing small creative projects she started to regain her confidence and slowly her mental wellbeing improved.

Thirteen years on and now a professional artist and creative educator Lauren founded, ‘Spilt Milk’ with the mission to make motherhood visible. Spilt Milk promotes the work of underrepresented artists who are also mothers as well as providing vulnerable mothers with opportunities to express their creativity and meet other mums.

The Good Ideas Academy has given me an excellent foundation of knowledge and support as well as the confidence to take my idea from a seedling right through to a fully formed venture with a sustainable future….all in the period of six months!” Lauren McLaughlin, Spilt Milk

Claire Carpenter, Founder of The Melting Pot said,

“My dream was to create a dynamic and diverse community in my home city, with social enterprise at its heart. We set out to produce a programme of support for social innovation in Scotland. As part of this vision the Good Ideas Incubation Programme was born and now our participants tell us it makes all the difference between success and failure.”

The search has now begun for the next big social innovators, register your interest for the Good Ideas 2018-19 here.