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Success Stories

Giving Charities a Leg-Up

Home-Start Erewash

Home-Start Erewash, a charity based in Ilkeston, that helps and supports young families, approached Erewash Partnership Ltd to seek help in moving the charity forward. The Partnership responded by putting together a development programme which involved a number of other members of the Partnership. Expert guidance, support and assistance was provided in marketing, finance, human resources, social media, website design and board support. The objective was to ensure that Home-Start would be in a position to produce a strategic plan to ensure that the charity is sustainable in the medium to longer term.

The University of Derby offered help with marketing. They offered to use Home-Start as a case for a PR assignment, tasking them to produce a PR plan to promote the charity. This work was then followed up with Home-Start employing an Intern provided by the University. Maria Potempski, Senior Lecturer said, “It was an interesting case which required our students to research Home-Start and then put an appropriate, affordable PR campaign together based on their most pressing objectives and needs”.

Amanda Bayliss of Hello People Solutions provided the human resources support to ensure that the charities employment contracts and terms and conditions for staff were up to date and fit for purpose. Amanda commented that “Working with the Partnership provided continuity and assistance to ensure the project was delivered. Richard and Lottie were always on hand and provided clear direction”.

Social media training was provided by Catherine Simpson of Simpson Social, using a series of workshops to train Home-Start staff in the use of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Paul Calladine from Erewash Partnership redesigned and updated the website, including the ability to donate online by installing a widget.

Andrew Deighton, from AWD Development Solutions Ltd, ran a series of workshops to help develop the basis of the charity’s strategic plan working with both the staff and Board of the charity. Board support including a review of the Charity’s governance was provided by Richard Smallwood who is one of Erewash Partnerships Business Advisers.

Home-Start Erewash has since finalised its strategic plan. It has a new website and a clear plan on how to better utilise social media. It has some new Board members and is ready to move forward. Bren Butler, Co-ordinator of the charity says, “Whilst we are in a good position and appreciate the help that we have received from the Partnership and its members, we would very much like to support more families and still need more family member volunteers. If anyone has some spare time, and would like to help us, please contact us through our website or ring the office on tel: 0115 930 4640”.

Ian Viles, Chief Executive at Erewash Partnership Ltd said, “It is very rewarding to support a fellow third sector organisation and see such positive results from the intervention”.

Follow Your Dream, Trust Your Gut

Elephant Rooms

“I have been a self-employed therapist for 12 years working from home and Derby Women’s Centre. Firstly, as a Shiatsu Therapist and more recently as a Psychotherapist.

“Elephant Rooms is a not for profit social enterprise specialising in the provision of a safe and tranquil environment for the promotion of community health and wellbeing.  The vision is: To provide a diverse range of natural therapies, classes and workshops promoting health and wellbeing for the local community.

The Elephant Room

“The objective is to provide something for everyone; a wide range of therapies and treatments across the spectrum focussed on natural health and wellbeing.

“There are numerous reasons which lead me to start Elephant Rooms – firstly I fell in love with the building when it was the Beetroot Tree Art Gallery and always felt it would make a great therapy centre. Secondly the Women’s centre lost it’s funding for counselling. Most therapies are too expensive for people on low incomes and benefits and I have always been passionate about providing a service that is affordable to all. I set up Elephant Rooms with the vision to be able to bridge the gap between what somebody can afford to pay and a therapist not working for less than the minimum wage!”The biggest barrier I faced was myself! I had no experience of business management, no social media skills or any idea of what to expect in setting up and running a small business. The D2 Business Starter Programme and Erewash Partnership Ltd helped me on the road to launching my business by providing sound advice though one to one mentoring. I also attended a range of workshops EPL set up which are geared towards what you need to know about starting out. One on one support from a business mentor helps you hone your ideas.

“My aim is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. To let the business grow organically. To increase the range of services we offer and to be able to continue to offer an affordable service.

“It’s great to know that the support and advice is there as and when you need it from Erewash Partnership Ltd. The workshops are great at giving you the confidence to go out and do it.

“I would advise anyone thinking about starting up to follow your dream, trust your gut and do something you are passionate about.”

– Helen Patilla, Elephant Rooms

Inspiration for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Furry Tails Dog Grooming Salon

“I have always loved animals and have had many pets. My love for dogs led me to pursue a career working with dogs and after spotting a gap in the market for a dog groomers, I decided to set up a dog grooming salon in my local area.  I have also always wanted to work for myself.  My dad has been self-employed and I think this inspired me to want to start my own business.

“Furry Tails Dog Grooming Salon is based in Ilkeston and we offer a full grooming service for all dog breeds. The services we offer include bathing, trimming, nail clipping, glands, brushing out and massage.

“My first challenge was writing a business plan.  Thankfully I had the help of Erewash Partnership Ltd and was able to produce a good sound plan. I then had to think about how to market the business and become known in the area.  I tried various marketing methods and it has been a good learning curve for me.

“Both the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) Programme and Erewash Partnership Ltd gave me valuable advice and support whilst starting up my business.  The help writing my business plan was excellent.  The financial support was also an enormous help in setting up my business.

“We have developed a number of regular customers and the business is steady.  However, further marketing is required to increase our customer base.

“There is nothing I find more rewarding than being my own boss.  Working for myself gives me a greater satisfaction that I never achieved working for other people.  It can be challenging at times (no holiday or sick pay any more!) but I am so glad I took this opportunity.

“If I had to give aspiring entrepreneurs one piece of advice I would tell them to follow their dreams, take a chance, do not be afraid of the unknown.  At the same time do your research, take it steady and make sure there is a gap in the market.”

– Sarah Pritchard, Furry Tails Dog Grooming Salon

A Successful Social Enterprise for Young People

Parkside CIC

“I was born and raised in Ilkeston, along with my brother and sister and went to local schools Chaucer infants, Kensington juniors and then on to Ilkeston secondary school which was formerly the local grammar. Upon leaving school I embarked on an apprenticeship in building & construction at South East Derbyshire college. I worked in construction in the family business and also for other employers in the area.

“I have also worked in the underground music scene for many years and had a lot of experience working on events, mostly across Nottingham. In the early 2000’s I moved to Nottingham and joined a Sound collective called DSF (Dark Sounds Foundation). We were made up of DJs, MCs, Producers and Sound engineers. We designed and built a heavyweight sound rig which we toured with and also ran our own Drum & Bass events in the City and across the UK. We provided sound in venues across the UK including Q Club Birmingham, Custard Factory, Brixton Academy and also showcased at the Notting Hill Carnival. We ran our own independent label producing several releases and had relative success in the UK drum & bass scene. We continued until 2010 before going our separate ways. We never quite achieved enough success to give up our day jobs, although the skills and experience we gained, money could not buy. I have continued with my passion for music and the arts and creative endeavours and it is these skills and experiences which I am channelling into my recently formed youth project Streetside.

“I found myself without work when it became clear I could no longer work in the family business. I have had a desire to set up my own youth project for many years and had some experience supporting friends who worked in youth projects in inner City Nottingham. I was reluctant to continue searching for just another job in construction and knew that I needed a new challenge. I was also becoming increasingly aware of the need to engage with the youth in our community and wanted to try and harness some of the amazing talent in the local community. I would say that these desires and my disillusionment working in construction helped me decide to take the leap and set up my new venture. I expressed this at a job coach meeting at Ilkeston JCP and asked to be signposted to Erewash Partnership. I began researching the need for youth support and although I knew that areas of our community faced complex issues I didn’t know quite how much. Ilkeston East for example, where I live and where much of my work is based, is the worst in the County for youth unemployment, school absenteeism, GCSE attainment… the list goes on. For many social indicators it actually falls in the worst 10% nationally.  Understanding this pushed me further and motivated me more than ever to set up my own Social Enterprise supporting local young people

“My newly-formed business, set up with the support of the Erewash Partnership, is a Community Interest Company named Parkside High, specialising in a range of youth support. I kicked off my venture with the launch of my main service “Streetside”. Streetside is an Urban Youth Project which provides a safe environment for young people aged 11-16 to learn skills in music, media, art and performance. I was commissioned to deliver 48 workshops by Derbyshire County Council shortly after launching the project and we are on target to complete the program by March 2018. Parkside High also offer a range of youth support with a particular emphasis on hard to reach children and young people often from low income families and difficult backgrounds.

Parkside High

“Parkside High work across Erewash supporting children and young people aged 8-18. We provide youth mentoring and development, educational support and alternative learning opportunities. We deliver workshops in schools, children’s centres and community spaces.

“Although I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do I had hardly any start-up funds so finance has certainly been a challenge. It also took a few attempts convincing the Job Centre it was the right move! I also have to navigate my way through a lot of paper work and policy and legislation which unfortunately comes with the territory. A challenge I face which is ongoing, although not a barrier, is building a client base and attaining the necessary funding.

“My advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs would be to go for it! It can be daunting but there is support out there and the help I have received thus far has been amazing. It has also provided me with a career that I enjoy and find very rewarding.

“The D2 programme has been instrumental in enabling me to get off the ground. I have had guidance and support with my business plan, the legal structure of my business and also the transition from being unemployed to being able to see a career opportunity developing before me. Ian, Lottie, Richard, Graham and the team at the Erewash Partnership have been brilliant and have given me the confidence to keep pushing and make my venture a success.

“Setting up my own Social Enterprise has been a great challenge and has enabled me to express my creativity and pursue my career goals and ambitions. Although it has been tough at times and I am sure it will continue to be so, it has been exactly the challenge I needed in my life. Although I was mostly working as self-employed in the construction industry it was always contracted to somebody else and I didn’t feel fulfilled. Setting up Parkside High has given me positivity for the future and to anybody considering setting up on their own I would say GO FOR IT!”

– Liam Parker, Parkside CIC

Helping to Lift Businesses off the Ground

Hello People Solutions

“Having ‘hit the ceiling’ in my role as Head of HR, I assessed my life, career, family wellbeing and I realised that there is more to life, more to having that work life balance.

“Having a passion for HR and some brief exposure to HR Consultancy providing advice and support to a variety of business, I wanted to do more and make a difference to more companies.

“Over a cup of tea one evening with my family – Hello People Solutions was born.

“I am a HR professional with over 15 years’ experience in operational and strategic roles. My experience covers a variety of sectors, including Professional Services, Not for Profit, Manufacturing, Retail, cosmetic.

“I attended college and following the end of the course, I was in a position of not knowing what I wanted to do, which direction I wanted to turn. My first employment was working as a Quality Assurance Administrator for Guy Birkin Limited who manufactured Nottingham Lace. This is where my HR journey began. Since then I have been fortunate enough to grow my experience and succeeded with internal promotions to become the Head of HR for a Professional Services business who employed over 250 employees.

“On a personal note, I am a mother for 2 and live in Ilkeston. My hobbies tend to be non-existent as my weekends and evenings are taken up by being a taxi driver for my children, taking them to a variety of different sporting activities! I do however, strive to keep myself fit and active (I need the energy!).

“My business provides outsourced HR support/consultancy service to small businesses within the East Midlands. This could consist of onsite support or over the phone. I work with companies that may not have dedicated HR and use employment lawyers or telephone helplines that either cost a fortune or don’t provide the hands-on support that a growing business needs. We understand the challenges businesses face, the cost and the time it takes to manage people effectively. Some of the areas we support:

• Employment Law Advice
• Contracts of employment
• Policies and procedures
• Employment Handbook
• Recruitment and Selection
• Performance Manager
• Absence Management
• Disciplinaries and Grievance

“There are many barriers to overcome and think about when becoming self-employed – how am I going to do this! Marketing and Social medial were areas that I had no experience in, I knew nothing about ‘selling’ or targeting businesses were jargon to me.  Having the safety net of regular income and security suddenly wasn’t there anymore. The biggest barrier I faced was having the confidence and belief that it will succeeded.  However, the training, mentoring and support the D2 Business Starter programme offers is bespoke to each individual business and they seem to be able to help you tackle all the barriers many businesses may face – understanding your business market, supporting you to implement your business plan, understanding the accounts process, social media and most importantly giving you the confidence to believe in yourself.

“One piece of advice I would like to give to other aspiring entrepreneurs is to believe in yourself, and surround yourself with people who are supportive and can help you lift your business off the ground, and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

“So what’s next for me and Hello People Solutions? The foundations are in place and I am building up relationships with contacts. Targeting the businesses that I believe would benefit from the services that I offer.

“The D2 Business Starter programme has been a breath of fresh air! Richard and Lottie work brilliantly in ensuring you are supported – whether this is as 1:1 mentoring sessions or as a group session, learning from others who have experienced the challenges that all of us have faced (from time to time).

“If you are thinking of starting your business or are just in the earlier stages, please give Lottie a call. You won’t be disappointed.”

– Amanda Bayliss, Hello People Solutions

Breaking Down Employment Barriers

SMARTs Mobile Dog Grooming

Helen found herself unemployed, after being made redundant from the Department of Work and Pensions after almost 24 years’ service. Despite having a long and successful track record in administration, she was struggling to find employers who were willing to interview her because she is deaf.  After thinking long and hard, Helen thought that self-employment maybe a better way forward to get her back into work quicker and obviously remove the barrier of interviews. Helen undertook a course in dog grooming to obtain the qualifications to become an officially qualified dog groomer.

She then decided to start a dog-grooming business: it has been a long term ambition for Helen to run her own business, she has kept dogs for many years, and always wished to turn her passion into a business. This felt like the perfect opportunity.

After claiming JSA for 18 months, Helen was referred to the NEA programme by her job coach Richard Bunting from Belper Job Centre, and worked with her business mentors Graham Howarth and Tyna Burnett, to develop her business model over a 7-week period.

SMARTs Mobile Dog Grooming has now been operating for approximately 9 weeks, and is a self-contained dog grooming business working from a fully equipped, self-sufficient van. Helen visits clients at their own homes within the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire area, and is able to offer a full dog grooming services to clients’ dogs from her custom made van.

Helen reports that she feels immensely proud knowing that she has broken down the barriers faced by her disability, and is finally doing the job that she really loves.

One of Helen’s customers emailed her to see if she could hand-strip her dog, a wire haired Vizsla, named Matilda for Crufts in January. Helen felt a little apprehensive although willing to hand-strip her dog, but made the customer aware that she didn’t have a great deal of experience or specific understanding of the breed when it comes to show dogs like hers and would hate to make any mistakes. The customer insisted to book Helen. She was really pleased with the results.

An email form the customer to Helen:

“Hi Helen

Just wanted to let you know Matilda got 3rd place in her class at Crufts.
It was out of 13, so a large class with some very good bitches in there.
We have shown for a year so was delighted with her and the result.
You can now say you groomed a Crufts girl!
Hope you are happy and well.


Helen was obviously really chuffed to hear this brilliant news.

Helen’s business is now going from strength to strength.

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