Adderbury resident, Bev leaves the corporate world behind to launch her own social care business
Tired and lacking fulfilment from her corporate career, Bev Martin knew she needed a shift in 2021 after years of high pressure had caught up with her.
Now with a newly launched social care enterprise, and with the support of Oxfordshire County Council, Bev finally feels she is making a difference with her work as well as making a difference to the lives of people in receipt of adult social care services.
Working for many different global businesses in commercial management, Bev had a successful career and gained a vast amount of knowledge and experience. But after over two decades in highly pressured roles, it was clear this path was no longer suited to her changing priorities.
“Changing careers at any point in life is daunting,” said Bev, “but after doing commercial work for so long it was difficult to know where to turn next. There were only two real requirements for me –whatever I did, it needed to be beneficial to others. And I had to really love it!”
That’s when Bev – who currently lives in Adderbury – began to consider social care.
“Wellbeing and social care were something which had interested me as a possibility for a long time, but I didn’t fully know how to bring it to life – or how diverse working in care and wellbeing actually is. Luckily, Community Catalysts was there to help.”
Community Catalysts offers free support to individuals who wish to set up their own social enterprise or work on a self-employed basis to provide care and wellbeing services to adults in need of additional support.
The well-established scheme is currently partnering with Oxfordshire County Council to ensure that those who want to pursue a career in care or wellbeing, but do so independently, have access to the right tools and resources to get them started.
“When someone referred me to Community Catalysts, they told me the scheme would change my life,” said Bev, “and it really has.”
With the beginnings of a plan in mind Bev knew she didn’t want to throw away the extensive skillset she had gained from her corporate career. Instead, she wanted to combine these disciplines with her personal interests of wellbeing, meditation and supporting others through the way they speak and think in their day to day lives.
It was through a career coach friend that Bev first heard about Community Catalysts and its partnership with the county council.
“A path started to form for me. I had a clear vision of how I wanted to help transform people’s lives and encourage better wellbeing for everyone.”
Before too long Bev met Anita Wingad, a community enterprise catalyst, with the Community Catalysts scheme. Anita works collaboratively with Oxfordshire residents to help them build and cultivate their own way of working in care and wellbeing support – from ensuring they adhere to regulations and legislation in adult social care, to helping them promote their new venture when it’s up and running.
“Bev was the ideal candidate for Community Catalysts to offer support to,” said Anita, speaking about their initial conversation. “She had real-life experience and a great understanding of the type of social enterprise she wanted to offer. Wellbeing support for adults is so important and it was definitely something the scheme and the county council wanted to help facilitate.”
Within a matter of months Bev established My Bright Space, a support service that provides wellbeing care, emotional support and hypnotherapy to adults in the county, as well as personal assistance. “People sometimes have long-held, negative self-perceptions or beliefs, and it’s incredibly rewarding to work together to create positive change,” said Bev.
“Anita at Community Catalysts was so hands-on. She checked in with me every two weeks and was invaluable in terms of social services and networking.”
Moving forward with a fresh outlook
Bev’s journey may only be at its beginning but she already has big plans to grow My Bright Space. Currently studying for her diploma in counselling and psychotherapy, and with plans to offer greater support to those on the frontline of health and social care, Bev says it’s thanks to Community Catalysts she feels inspired to take the next step.
“It wasn’t just the practical support I received from Anita and the team that helped – it was the encouragement that made a difference. Knowing someone had faith in me and my enterprise was life-changing.”
Bev has also connected with a network of other caring people in the county. Meaning she not only has access to greater peer support but if she’s unable to provide the right level of care to someone at this time, she can refer them on to someone more suitable.
“It’s exciting to be part of such a key community support network, particularly as it combines my business, counselling and wellbeing skills.”
“People think adult social care is only about supporting older people, or people with a disability. That’s such an imperative part of the sector but there’s also a lot more to it than that,” said Anita. “There are dozens of ways to offer support and people don’t need all the qualifications and degrees they might think they need. Just a drive and a heart for care.”
“It’s so refreshing to have made the change and to have recalibrated and repurposed my skills,” said Bev. “What could possibly be more rewarding than helping and supporting others?”
For more information about Community Catalysts and its partnership with the county council, you can visit a separate part of the Oxfordshire County Council’s website.
For more information about this release contact the Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council communications team on 01865 323870 or email email@example.com
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