Unemployment is rising and companies are struggling for survival but YorkMix #SelbyNews has been hearing from a local charity about how it is fighting back against the odds to bring new businesses and community organisations to this part of North Yorkshire.
Since the pandemic hit in March, Selby District Association of Voluntary Service (AVS) has been behind the start- up of 7 new organisations – including an App called Worker Bee, which is set to revolutionise the recruitment industry.
The charity, based in Selby Community House in Portholme Road, not only gave training and support to the budding entrepreneurs it also provided free office space to help get them going.
Chief Officer Chris Hailey-Norris said: “Although we have been pivotal in helping co-ordinate the fight against Coronavirus in this area of Yorkshire, there are tough times ahead for charities and we realised early on that we had to diversify as much as possible to emerge in a strong position post Covid.
What better way to do that than encourage new ideas that will bring potential employment to Selby district?
We’re fortunate to have a prime office and conference venue in the town centre which means we can not only provide the support fledgling organisations need but space to do it in. And their success will mean we can continue to support other vital community projects’.
James Flinton was struggling with his mental health and prior to the pandemic had been sofa-surfing with family and friends to keep himself off the streets
.With backing from Selby District AVS, James was able to pursue his passion and experience in horticulture and started Flinton’s Landscape Gardening.Specialising in block paving and patios as well as general gardening, James has just secured a maintenance contract with a Yorkshire haulage firm.
“AVS have been there for me every step of the way. If you’d said to me a few months ago I’d be running my own company I wouldn’t have believed you.
I love what I do, and I get paid for it’.”
Robert Lorne has already attracted the attention of several international companies with his Worker Bee app but months ago he was reeling from the loss of his senior overseas managerial role at travel company Thomas Cook.
“I’ve been lucky to have an international business background but I really lost my way when I was made redundant. Then lockdown happened and that made things a lot harder for me.
The future seemed pretty bleak.
I started tinkering with an idea for an App but I knew I’d need support and then funding to develop it. I approached Selby District AVS and they were so encouraging.
Now I’m preparing to launch the product in the New Year and I’m really excited about what the future has in store’.”
Other community interest enterprises launched include Everyday Enable, offering disability advice in the work place, Second Chance Ostomy Yorkshire, providing vital information and advice for people facing Stoma operations, and Inner Balance, offering mental health therapy and support to all ages.
While Clarity Comms CIC, which provides public relations advice and media strategy for companies and charities, large and small, across Yorkshire, was launched by former journalist Nicola Kelly. She was one of several people helped to kick-start their career with a development course run by AVS with funding from another charity, The Big Local.
Chris Hailey-Norris admits: “We’re incredibly proud to have been instrumental in supporting all of these organisations and we hope to continue doing so. We love hearing new ideas and if we can help put them into action, not only are people helping themselves, they’re keeping vital community projects going at a time when we’ve never needed them more’.
For more information or advice on developing an idea or renting office or meeting room space, contact Selby Community House on 01757 291111 or email Alison Hartley, Community Developement Co-ordinator, [email protected]