CFINE picked up the Making the Difference award at this year's Northern Star Business Awards, and were presented the title by sponsors Balmoral Group.

CFINE is a charity and social enterprise which provides access to a range of support services for families and individuals experiencing financial hardship.

Based in the North-east of Scotland, CFINE improves health and well-being and the environment, tackles poverty and builds resilience for and with disadvantaged and vulnerable individuals, families and communities. It is also the FareShare Regional Centre for Grampian, Highlands & Islands, redistributing in-date surplus goods from the food industry to charities and organisations which use it to support their local communities.

There has been a marked increase in the number of people requesting services such as emergency food parcels, financial/welfare advice, employability/skills development opportunities etc. Over six months last year the number of monthly food parcels distributed doubled and demand continued to grow over winter.

In the past 12 months CFINE has supported around 27,000 individuals with access to emergency food and additional support services which work towards tackling the underlying causes of poverty.

This has included welfare, financial and budgeting support via its in-house SAFE Team (Support Advice Finance Education); cooking on a budget through its community training kitchen; skills development and employability support including work experience and volunteering opportunities involving 281 volunteers; redistribution of 2.1million meals in 2021 via FareShare; health and wellbeing support including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT); and engagement and support of those within the criminal justice system.

CFINE identifies and develops the strengths of its beneficiaries/volunteers, individually and collectively, and builds on these. It recognises the importance and experience within the communities from which the volunteers come, largely disadvantaged, vulnerable geographical or interest communities. It establishes relationships with local community groups, centres, churches and schools to work together to provide coherent, effective support for each individual because without the support of its volunteers CFINE would cease to operate.

CFINE has built a strong partnership with HMP Grampian through the development of the HOPE Programme which was co-designed by CFINE and a cross section of individuals in custodial care.

A pre-release course focuses on the fundamental areas of support required in preparation for release from prison including financial inclusion, housing support, health and wellbeing, employability, preparing for liberation and adjusting to life outside. Sessions are held nearing release, and evidence shows that this has reduced the likelihood of reoffending.

CFINE’s post-release course includes practical work experience, employability support, accredited training and a person-centred approach to personal development. This has proved transformational for the participants, many of whom were previously repeat offenders and have since turned their lives around.

The finalists

The other finalists in the category were:

  • Aberdeen Sports Village
  • Charlie House
  • Denis Law Legacy Trust
  • Mental Health Aberdeen (MHA)

Click here to view the finalists video.

About the sponsor

Established in 1980 by chairman and MD, Sir James Milne CBE, Balmoral Group is an independent multi-discipline design and manufacturing company comprising several divisions. At Group HQ in Aberdeen the company has created an industry-leading product design and manufacturing facility that includes laboratory, design engineering, production, and testing facilities focused on the offshore energy sector.

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