The Edinburgh Cyrenians Weekend: Friday Evening’s Kick Off & Welcomes

The Cyrenians Weekend has well and truly kicked off! On the Friday evening volunteers gathered in the Attacat Office to brainstorm, discuss and strategise the most effective use of the volunteers’ time, skill and energy. The aim was to come to a decision on the best way to use the resources at hand to move Cyrenians forward in one or more of the three main areas identified by the charity; the Cyrenians Farm produce branding revamp, the “Give in Kind” social enterprise development and the online finance reporting project. Read about each of the project challenges here. The aim of the Friday evening kick off was for the volunteers to choose which challenge or project to pursue based on where they think they could realistically make the most real and long lasting impact in 48 hours.


Here’s what happened

After some refreshments, snacking and mingling the volunteers settled down to listen to a presentation by Phil Reilly from Cyrenians.  Phil talked the group through the wide number of diverse and innovative services Cyrenians have to offer, from Cyrenians Farm to the Homelessness Prevention Service and not forgetting all the wonderful services in between. Phil then talked the volunteers through the potential projects and explained how these areas are where their help would be most beneficial to the Cyrenians cause. These areas were:

Cyrenians Farm Produce Branding

The Challenge:  To design and fully develop a “Cyrenians Produce”  brand that can be used on labeling everything from chutneys to bags of mixed leaves, from jam to garlic and from potted herbs to bird boxes. The aim is for the brand to be shared by the farm and all three community gardens to facilitate the move towards the two sections sharing produce and serving shared customers.

“Give in Kind” Social Enterprise 

The Challenge:  To facilitate the development of this new social enterprise Edinburgh Cyrenians requires a basic functional webpage/site and a system which enables the posting of requests for unwanted items as well as the transaction of these goods between a private individual and recipient registered with the charity.

Online Finance Reporting Project

The Challenge: To increase success and awareness raised by online reporting with the addition of new formats and interactive elements. Improving these online reports is vital in furthering the Edinburgh Cyrenians cause as these reports contain valuable information at a detail not presented anywhere else on the website.

After the presentation the volunteers split into two groups and started to discuss which areas to tackle and how to best match the challenges proposed against the team’s skills. It was soon evident just how much skill we had managed to squeeze into one room. We had a whole host of expertise and skill at our fingertips – digital marketing, social media, graphic design, marketing, web developing, writing, content management, IT, strategic management and social enterprise to name a few!

With only 48 hours to come up with something real and actionable for Cyrenians there was no room for “umming” and “ahhing.” To get things into motion cut throat decision making was required and by the end of the evening the team had decided on three areas to pursue. These were:

  • The online finance reporting project
  • The “Give in Kind” social enterprise development
  • A project to achieve quick but important wins on the current website

With these decisions made and a focus gained the team was raring to get started. However, the decision was made to leave things at that point and to come back refreshed and ready to tackle the challenges in the morning. So after the beers, teas and some home baking had been polished off the volunteers left the Attacat office to return at 10 am the next day.

With a team so skilled and full of energy for the challenge at hand, we can’t wait to see how the weekend unfolds. We have a feeling the team may surprise themselves with what they can achieve in 48 hours. We’ll keep you posted! You can follow us on Twitter @RealImpact48, use the Twitter hashtag #impact48. You can also sign up to our newsletter, like our Impact48 page on Facebook.

If you would like to find out more or volunteer for our next weekend please get in touch with us! Email at