Tell us about your business?
Give...A Few Words is a Social Enterprise (Community Interest Company) which aims to reduce isolation and build connections. It currently runs a letter writing project sending positive personalised letters to others, a monthly Cross Sector/Industry Network Meeting and Positive Events.
What year did you start your business?
I originally set up what was a community group in July 2020 but the business was formally set up in March 2021.
Where did the inspiration to start your business come from?
I had worked nearly 18 years for a local charity in Huddersfield and during early lockdown when I was contacted by a local care home, who explained that their residents were feeling isolated and could we do anything to help, I felt compelled to help.
What started as a seed of an idea writing letters to others with one care home, quickly grew, sprouted, and became a flower in it’s own right. Gaining funding from Locala for 10 hours a week for 12 months, I left my job in February 2021 to set up Give...A Few Words formally in March 2021.
We now write to many care homes across Kirklees and Calderdale and work with charities and community organisations. We have over 170 volunteers registered and have written over 1000 letters.
What are the main challenges of running your own business? How have you overcome these?
Probably the biggest one is time. There are so many things to do but never enough hours in a day.
I find that my optimum time for working is in the morning, early (about 5-6am) so I normally work at that time. I can probably get more work done up till 12pm than I can all day. It is the time when I am more alert and focused. I also find some aspects out of my comfort zone such as finances, certain policies etc hard and try and avoid them, but, when I spend quality time focusing, they are not as difficult as I thought.
Tell us about a rewarding moment / highlight for your business
Oh gosh, so many things... when you receive a phone call from someone who has been overwhelmed by their post, it has brought them to tears and they wanted to share this with you, has got to be a highlight. Also, when people send post that they have made or write the most beautiful words with nothing expected in return.
Gaining funding from One Community and being able to work with 50 NCS students and volunteers on a Summer Giving positive event (giving out 150 general positive letters) for the whole community in Almondbury, Huddersfield was another highlight.
I am humbled by this every single day, by the kindness of people and seeing the best of humanity.
Appearing on the BBC News at 10pm (and having a film crew turn up in my front garden) in December and featuring in the national papers was also quite a surreal experience.
What are your future plans for your business?
What I love most about running my own organisation is the autonomy and being able to think about creative ideas and bring these to fruition. I normally get most of my ideas when solo walking though green spaces (with an uplifting playlist in the background). I have a few ideas that I am currently swirling around...one of these is to set up an ecommerce site on the website.
How have the Enterprise Team supported you with your business?
I don’t know where to start with how amazing the team have been. I have been blown away by their incredible support. They were with me right from the very beginning when I was at the idea formation stage. Different team members have such a variety of incredible skills and personalities. I have had support around governance, business planning, finances, IP, marketing, policy, strategic planning.... Their support has been invaluable to me.
You meet many people and organisations but for me the core values of trust, genuineness and transparency are really important. I felt that all the team members shared these values and helped me when I struggled at certain aspects and offered their support (they also asked questions, which is incredibly useful). They make quite a formidable team, and I am forever grateful to every single member of the team for all the conversations and support.
Where/how can we find your business?
We are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @giveafewwords Our website is www.thegive.co.uk and we are also on LinkedIn.