Kat Borrowdale, the founder of Think Circus CIC, was one of four social entrepreneurs to secure a share of £100,000 funding in the latest round of Build It awards.
Delivered by social enterprise start-up agency Firstport, Build It awards are part of the Scottish Government’s Social Entrepreneurs Fund and support social entrepreneurs who have proven their business concept and social impact to commit to their business full time by covering living costs for a year and employing additional staff.
Think Circus CIC works with children who live in areas listed in the bottom 10% of the Index of Multiple Deprivation and aims to build circus groups to improve young people’s mental and physical health. Kat’s inspiration for the social enterprise came from her personal experience of circus in her teenage years, which helped her radically change her attitude to her body, learn to see the benefits of regular exercise, and find a community in which she could ‘embrace her weirdness’.
Having experienced the benefits herself, Kat set out to develop Think Circus CIC and to bring circus-based projects to local communities. Drawing inspiration from programmes around the world, she hopes that she will be able to improve young peoples’ wellbeing through exercise, creative expression and play. Their shows consist of an all-human cast that give the children the chance to show off their newly learnt, seemingly super-human skills.
With the funding provided through Firstport’s Build It award, Kat is now looking to run more circus-skills drop-in sessions every week in Leith, offering them for free to those who are most in need. She also hopes to expand the range of services to offer specialised skills training, access to counselling, fitness classes, and meals.
Kat Borrowdale, founder of Think Circus CIC said: “Receiving a Build It award is a game-changer for us. In the short term I’m excited to grow the in-house team and set up weekly circus drop-in sessions in Leith, which will be free for those who are most in need. It’s so important that once we establish the programme it is there for years to come so that we can create meaningful connections and development for young people in the long-term. In five years’ time we can hopefully set up our own circus venue.”
Josiah Lockhart, Chief Exec of Firstport said: “This round of Build It was extremely competitive, and truly reflective of the increasing quality of enterprises coming through our awards programme. Think Circus CIC is an exciting social enterprise which offers a novel and fun way to stay active and learn new skills to children and young people who need it the most. We’re excited to see the progression of Think Circus CIC as well as all of the social enterprises awarded in this latest round.”
The other social enterprises to receive funds were –
Dean Hardie secured £25,000 to develop his East Renfewshire social enterprise Smart Gym CIC
Felix Slavin secured £25,000 to develop his Glasgow social enterprise Music Broth
Mark Taylor secured £25,000 to develop his Midlothian social enterprise Randori Social Enterprises