Building empowered communities and driving social change w/ Selina Hales

Sep 15, 2022, 5:00 – 8:00 PM

Barclays Eagle Labs, Beco Building 56-64, Kingston Street, Glasgow, G5 8BP

On September the 15th we will be joined by none other than Selina Hales, Founder of Refuweegee to share what it takes to build a community-powered business.

In-person event

About this event

Building empowered communities and driving social change - Selina Hales

Thursday Sep 15th, 6.00 - 8.30pm

We're all fae somehwere!

On September the 15th we will be joined by none other than Selina Hales, Founder of Refuweegee to share what it takes to build a community-powered business.

In 2015, Selina quit her corporate job to focus full-time on her passion project: Refuweegee!
There was no grand business plan or funding lined up, she decided to get started, use what she had and just do. Within the first month Selina had 100 community built welcome packs. The impact the charity has now goes far beyond Glasgow, inspiring projects all over the UK.

Refuweegee is a warm welcome to forcibly displaced people arriving in Glasgow, and has provided over 10,000 community-built, personal welcome packs and emergency support packs to people all over Scotland.

It is no secret that there is huge value in sharing insights between different sectors and industries. The lessons learned from Selina’s experience and how Refuweegee empowers its community can be applied across all areas of Scotland's entrepreneurial ecosystem.

This September at Startup Grind Glasgow we want you to be inspired by the action people are taking to make real change to our communities -- at home and across the world.

Join us on September 15th as we tell the Refuweegee story with Selina Hales! We’ll dive into:

  • Building a community-led business
  • Transferable skills between private and third sector
  • Avoiding voluntourism
  • Addressing a global crisis
  • Unique challenges of running a charity

How to attend

See you by the Clyde. We're back in person with our friends and new Glasgow residents at the Barclays Eagle Labs. Find address below.

[Speaker] Selina Hales (Refuweegee)

Selina is passionate about social change, which is why she set up and runs Refuweegee, a community-led charity which aims to ensure that all refugees arriving in Glasgow are welcomed to the city in true Glaswegian style. 

Refuweegee is an exceptional and unique Glaswegian organisation that has created a positive movement in response to the world’s refugee crisis.  Harnessing the spirit and generosity of the people of Glasgow, Selina is making a significant impact to families at the point moving to the city from their home countries devastated by war. 

The charity’s aim is to provide every Refuweegee who arrives in the city with a community-built welcome pack. Inside the packs, are items donated by Glaswegians including toiletries, warm clothing, bedding, information leaflets on local services and even Tunnock’s Teacakes. What makes the packs unique is that every one contains a ‘Letter fae a Local’ individually written by a Glaswegian, welcoming the refugee and telling them a bit about their own lives and their favourite things to do in Glasgow. 

In the beginning, this was a project in her spare time whilst working, but she left her full-time job in 2016 due to its overwhelming success and to dedicate her time to growing the initiative.   

The scope and impact of Refuweegee’s work has grown exponentially in recent years and they now work with multiple organisations around Scotland. The Refuweegee model is inspiring similar projects across the UK. Groups in Brighton and Manchester are among those adopting the concept, ready to help refugees and asylum-seekers feel welcomed where a local authority might fall short. 

In Selina’s words she can be “volunteer, trustee, cause founder, project manager, fundraiser, researcher, operational director, business development manager and social entrepreneur…all in one day!”  

[Host] Emma Loedel (SG Scotland)

Glasgow Chapter Director has been with Startup Grind since 2019 and has recently relaunched the Glasgow chapter. Emma has a science and engineering background and got her first taste of the start-up environment in Bogota, Colombia whilst working in prosthetics clinics. Since then Emma has built on her international experience and embedded herself in the Glasgow & Scottish entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Her passion for tech and innovation has led to her current role as business development manager at tech start-up Novosound, which works across the industrial, medical and wearable sector. Emma brings a new perspective to the Startup Grind Scotland team and is excited to showcase many vibrant founder stories across the city.

Why attend?

  • The key to building empowered communities
  • How to change and challenge the environment we live in
  • Catch up with friends and make new ones
  • Local pizzas and drinks courtesy of Barclays
  • Share an ask or a project you’re excited for with the community
  • Check out the brand new Barclays Eagle Labs

What you need to know!

What: Building empowered communities and driving social change w/ Selina Hales

When: 15th September

Time: 18:00 - 20:30

Where: In-person at Barclays Eagle Labs

Beco Building 56-64, 

Kingston Street,


G5 8BP

Bonus Extras: Partner offers, interactive Q&A and a chance to win a special prize via our Twitter competition!

Check out what happened


  • Selina Hayes





Thursday, September 15, 2022
5:00 PM – 8:00 PM UTC


Networking, Drinks and Food
Fireside Chat with Selina Hales
Drinks and Community Building


  • Emma Loedel

    Startup Grind Glasgow

    Chapter Director


  • Emma Loedel

    Startup Grind Glasgow

    Director Startup Grind Glasgow

  • Nick Cohen

    Team Member

  • Keshan Sharp

    Start Up Grind

    Team Member


CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP logo

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP

Firstport logo



WelcoMe logo


AAI EmployAbility logo

AAI EmployAbility

Scotland Can Do logo

Scotland Can Do

DM Nutrition logo

DM Nutrition

SWURF logo


Power a Life logo

Power a Life

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