Repurposing for the benefit of others

Thanks to NBSL’s Start Up Team, Vicky Morgan has found a real sense of purpose following advice and guidance on her idea to reuse and redistribute materials to create activity boxes for organisations that support older and disabled people.

Repurposeful CIC (community interest company) has now been established by Vicky and works with the volunteer and disabled community providing creativity for people with additional needs.

“Repurposeful evolved from a need to create a future career, whilst looking after my son, George, who has special needs. I was looking for something that used my existing skills, would be financially self-sustaining, made a positive difference in the world, and would support my hopes for my son’s future. It turned out the idea was surprisingly simple, stemming from teaching George during lockdown.”

Vicky Morgan – Repurposeful CIC

Vicky’s initial plan was to create simple, reusable, activity boxes for people with disabilities and those in care homes. As time moved on, the project developed to include the idea of providing people with additional needs, like George who has Down ’s syndrome and Autism, with supported volunteering opportunities – helping to design and create the activity boxes. The final part of her plan was to re-use materials bringing a whole new purpose – hence the name of the business.  

Realising the sheer potential and enormity of the idea, Vicky turned to NBSL to provide guidance and support during her first steps – particularly in shaping the many ideas and challenges into a viable business opportunity. 

Vicky added “The Start Up team at NBSL provided me with clarity and confidence during my first steps towards turning my vision into reality.  They helped me manage my ideas and focus my enthusiasm through tailored support.  It’s sometimes hard to resist trying to do too much at once or to get overwhelmed, but the steps set out in my business plan help me to keep it manageable.”

 “I was impressed how friendly and approachable the NBSL team were. I didn’t have to commit to anything long-term and could fit sessions around my busy caring responsibilities. I started by picking the workshops that suited me best, including about finances, finding customers, and digital marketing. The small number of participants on NBSL’s workshops made it feel tailor-made and I felt comfortable – and confident – to ask questions that can feel daunting when in big groups. It was a great way to gain knowledge and confidence and to learn with, and from, other entrepreneurs in the group.”

Following completion of a series of workshops that provided knowledge and focus, Vicky was then able to access 1-2-1 coaching support – developing a robust business plan in stages that helped hone plans, identify challenges and crucially build confidence knowing that there was ongoing support available. 

“The process was empowering and helped me to really believe in myself and Repurposeful. I really appreciated the time, expertise, enthusiasm, and encouragement that the Start Up Team has provided and feel fortunate to have been able to access this support.”

Vicky Morgan – Repurposeful CIC

 “Getting such a complex vision down on paper was such an important process and really made me think about my values, priorities, and what would be manageable.  I received templates but was also really open to different approaches, including working with permaculture principles.  My business plan is such a key document, evolving as opportunities develop, and has provided a valuable foundation for the future.”

Scott Rowland, NBSL’s Enterprise Advisor, said “It has been wonderful to work with Vicky and to help her realise her vision of Repurposeful. Starting a business can be daunting, but with the proper planning, you and your business can thrive. We’re here to support any individual that has a dream of being their own boss in Northumberland.”

Vicky’s new found confidence has seen Repurposeful CIC go from strength to strength – now registered and actively trading having embraced the strong Northumberland community and business engagement network available.  Reusing materials for creative and imaginative art and play – whether it’s a community group or school – has helped so many develop cognitive and fine motor skills – and projects to date have ranged from multi-media weaving or mosaic projects through to theatre sets and huge space rockets for play!

With further support also available as the organisation progresses, Vicky is looking forward to embracing Better Business Skills – her next step helping to develop her business and available to anyone that lives across the North of Tyne area. 

 “One of the best aspects of the NBSL offer is knowing that, once you’ve worked through the Enterprise Support program, you’re not just left to go it alone – there’s a further programme on Better Business Skills after you’re up and running and your plans meet with reality!   The further training and wraparound support will be vital to running and improving my newborn business” added Vicky.  “I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with NBSL and genuinely think that, without their support, Repurposeful would still just be an idea. Their help will enable Repurposeful to deliver its triple impact, making a positive difference to Northumberland communities – and especially to people like my son.”

The menu of support now available to people keen to follow in Vicky’s footsteps across Northumberland include: 

Enterprise Support in the North East – part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

Better Business Skills in partnership with North of Tyne Combined Authority