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Our Customer Service opening hours are 8.45am - 4.45pm, Monday to Friday. The Payment Centre hours are 9am - 4.15pm, with only credit/debit card payments (not cash) between 1pm and 2pm. 

Live chat: If you cannot find what you're looking for, or need help completing an online form, our Customer Service Officers are available on live chat between 9.00am - 4.45pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays). Live chat 

Support for local businesses

Third Sector Business

Information on third sector business

Local Support

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Whether you are an individual looking to start a social enterprise in East Renfrewshire or an existing organisation seeking to grow or become more enterprising, you can get business advice and support through our economic development team and our partners Business Gateway.


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Voluntary Action East Renfrewshire also have a range of supports and a Development Pathway tool on their website. They have identified 5 key steps in developing a third sector organisation.


National Support

The Scottish Government launched a £7m programme to support social enterprises and to develop enterprising behaviour in third sector organisations. You can access information and apply for these funds through:


Strategic Development Plan for the Third Sector in East Renfrewshire

As the second largest employer in Scotland, the Third Sector is a major economic force delivering a diverse range of public services that help to build communities and support vulnerable groups. A prolonged global recession and an aging population have seen an increase in the demand for services at the same time that public sector spending is under pressure. This has resulted in an increased expectation of the Sector from Government and pressure on public sector purchasers to spend local.

The Third Sector in East Renfrewshire reflects the national picture in terms of diversity and employer profile, however, evidence from the most recent Health Check undertaken by Voluntary Action East Renfrewshire (2011), suggests that the sector is lacking capacity to take advantage of the opportunities that developments at national and local level have created.

The 'Strategic Development Plan for The Third Sector in East Renfrewshire' outlines the local and national context and promotes a pathway to support and encourage growth and to build capacity for a robust Third Sector. You can read the plan and cabinet report (27 September 2012):


Understanding the Terms

Third Sector

Third Sector circles diagram

The third sector is a term used to describe all organisations that are neither public bodies or agencies nor private companies which distribute profit or are owned by individuals. This includes organisations ranging from small community groups, for example, tenants associations and mother & toddler groups to national and international charities and service organisations such as Citizens Advice.

Social Enterprises

We use the term 'social enterprises' to describe organisations in the third sector who derive all or part of their revenue from the sale of goods or services either directly to the public or to private companies or through Service Level Agreements to other organisations.  Increasingly, organisations will need to become more enterprising, more like businesses, in order to replace grant funding.


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