Story: Ceri Davies

I am Ceri Davies BME and I run my own social enterprise ‘More Mascots Please’, which supports children who are disabled or disadvantaged or life limited.  I contacted the Valuable and Vulnerable project after Clenton Farquharson who was part of the Co-production group for the project told me about it and I am really pleased I did.

I had wanted for a long time to write a social enterprise course based on my lived experience as a person with disabilities running a Community Interest Company. I established ‘More Mascots Please’ as a Community Interest Company nine years ago but had run it as an enterprise for four years previous to that. One of my aims of writing my course was to provide information about setting up a social enterprise as an option for other people who found it difficult to gain employment because of their disabilities. I do not get paid through my enterprise I run it voluntarily.  Getting an income from running a Social Enterprise is an option and looking at this would be part of my course.

I knew that now the time was right, I had the right full time P.A. to work with and I received support from the project to connect to organisations who would help me to promote my course so I spent just over two weeks developing my course. I made it interactive and offered opportunities for questions and conversations while being aware that I would need to use my skills as a trainer to keep people on track.

I decided to offer my first course for free to see how it went and reflect and develop it further, I identified four students through the local university to be part of this first session which I delivered through Teams.

Two of the participants had fairly well-developed ideas, one offering outside activities to children with disabilities and another looking to offer adapted clothing for people with disabilities and an aim to offer employment for adults with learning disabilities as part of what they wanted to achieve.

Together we were able to shape the ideas and talk about the necessity to think as a business and develop an income as well as meet social aims. It really made the participants think about what needs to be considered, it’s not always easy to balance social aims with making a profit.

I am hoping to deliver this course regularly, having reflected on the first one and reviewed how it was received I want to continue to inspire other entrepreneurs to set up their own social business. I want to go on to develop further training for those who are further on in their journey and to build further on my own skills as a trainer.

Being involved in the project gave me something to focus on during the pandemic, something to get my teeth into and I am really glad that I did it.