Tag Archives: support

Disability Confident Conference

8 Jan

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Opportunity Plus had the pleasure of attending the Disability Confident Conference at Foxes Academy in Minehead last year and were inspired by the enthusiasm, hard work and success stories of the young people who work and train at the academy. We are delighted to pledge our support to the campaign and develop even more work placement opportunities in 2016.

Many organisations from across the South West attended the conference including employers, support organisation and the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson, all showing their support for both Foxes Academy and the Disability Confident Campaign.
Foxes Academy is a great organisation focused on equality that inspires young people to gain skills and confidence. To find out more about the fantastic work they do please visit their website –
www.foxesacademy.ac.uk

For any organisations wanting to know more about the Disability Confident Campaign please watch the video below:

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Self-Employment in the UK

14 Aug

You might be thinking about going into self-employment but don’t know whether to take the leap, well these facts might give you just the push you need!

4.6 million are working for themselves

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The most common types of self-employment are:

  • Farming
  • Taxi Driver/Chauffeur
  • Carpenter/Joiner
  • Construction
  • Cleaning Services

Just think of all the benefits!

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We know that starting a business can be hard and sometimes you will encounter set backs. Having the motivation to carry
on with or begin your big idea can be tricky. Opportunity Plus are currently offering free Virtual Support to all residents of Devon and Somerset. The Southwest currently has the second highest number of self-employed workers in the UK. If you are looking to become part of that number or think we can help you then please visit our website.

Web: http://www.opsw.co.uk

Mail: info@opsw.co.uk

Tel: 0800 043 2440

Supporting the wider community

26 Mar

In our work with Opportunity Plus, we have come across some truly fantastic community centres and groups, and we want to share some of the great work that is happening out there.

Does your community group need some support? 

Here are some of the things that we can do for you:

  • Create a Facebook page for your community and teach you how to use it
  • Offer free face painting at fundraising and other events
  • Feature you on our blog.
  • Get in touch to see how we could help your centre.

Balloons

Balloons work with bereaved children in the Exeter area to help them through the grieving and healing process.  They have volunteering opportunities available and offer full training.  Find out more at www.balloonscharity.co.uk

The Hub Yeovil

The Hub Yeovil is a community centre working with disabled people.  They run a range of microenterprises to teach members valuable life and enterprise skills.  www.thehubyeovil.co.uk

Healthy Babies UK

Healthy Babies UK provide training to healthcare professionals, children’s centre staff, nursery workers and mothers to support the health, development, and wellbeing of babies and young children.  www.healthy-babies-uk.org

The Money Advice Service

If you have any questions about money – investments, debt, budgeting – then the Money Advice Service can help.  Call them on 0300 500 5000 for free advice and support.

Training

The Education and Training Level 3 course has replaced the old Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Sector qualification, and enables you to teach anything that you are qualified or experienced in to adults (16+).  Information, Advice and Guidance is another useful qualification for the community sector.  Call us or email info@opsw.co.uk for more information.

What community centres do you use?  Why not visit your local centre to find out more about what they do and get involved!  Check out www.do-it.org or your local CVS office to find out if there are any volunteering opportunities near you.

How To Build A Business From Your Bedroom

4 Mar

I just found these great case studies and practical tips on setting up a business from your bedroom on gothinkbig.co.uk.

How to build a business from your bedroomBuild a business from your bedroom!

National Careers Week

Do It Yourself: Our Top 10 Small Business Ideas

2 Mar

Starting your own business doesn’t need to be complicated or require a huge amount of funding. 

Registering as a sole trader is a straightforward process. Visit www.gov.uk to find out about different business structures you can choose from and the registration process for each.

Once registered, you will need to complete an annual Tax Return and will also be required to pay National Insurance contributions. For more information, check out HMRC’s range of “webinars” at www.hmrc.gov.uk. These can be viewed at any time, or watched live so that you can ask questions.

You will also need to get business insurance. Simply Business is an online business insurance comparison tool that will tell you what type of cover you will require and how much it will cost.

Below are a few simple ideas to start you thinking. If one of our ideas catches your eye, check out our range of business start up courses at www.opportunityplus.org.uk.

Bridal Hair and Beauty
Who doesn’t love a wedding? You could be a part of the big day, helping the bride and her party look their best and make a living at the same time. Short courses are available in bridal hair and make up and start up costs can be minimal.

Mobile Spray Tanning
A short course can give you the qualification you need to learn the techniques. Buy a starter kit and you’re ready to start marketing your service.

Nail Art Services
Well groomed nails are extremely fashionable. Cash in by making a very flexible business for your self, making new friends as you work.

Cleaning Services
Do you enjoy housework? Why not turn this into a business? Start up costs are very small and you can choose who you work for and what hours you work.

Car Valeting Business
If you enjoy working outside, love cars and are meticulous in your work, consider a business in car valeting. This could be a standard service or very high end, using quality products and giving a high quality package to private and/or business customers.

Arts and Crafts Business
Are you creative? Does everyone love the things you make and request one for themselves? With the right marketing and research you could turn your hobby into a business.

Online Trading
Internet selling gives you the flexibility to work from home in the hours that suit you. If there is a gap in the market, a product you are passionate about or you can give a better deal than currently on offer this could be right for you.

Share Your Skills
If you have great skills and experience and would like to share your knowledge why not consider working in an adult learning support role.

Children’s Services
From childminding to face painting, there is a huge range of business available around children, many of which can be worked flexibly around your own schedule.

Wedding Planner
Are you a people person, organised, calm under pressure and love planning events? This could be the ideal business for you!

How you can support small businesses without spending money!

9 Sep

It’s becoming increasingly fashionable to shun the big corporations and support local businesses where we can.  It can be easier said than done though, we are all pushed for time, and it’s so easy to nip to the supermarket or go straight to Amazon to buy everything we need in one hit.  When I went on maternity leave, one of the things I was most looking forward to was simply having time to buy fresh bread from the local bakery instead of getting supermarket bread!  And for the first few weeks it was great, I bought my bread from the bakery, had a vegetable box delivered by a local farm, bought lovely handmade cards and gifts from the small shops in my local town… but then my little baby who slept all the time became a big boisterous boy and I discovered the wonders of online shopping!

I still try to buy local where I can, and through my role of Enterprise Coach with Opportunity Plus, I am forever meeting entrepreneurs who make lovely things that I want to buy!  But spending money isn’t the only way you can support a small, local business (though it certainly helps!!).  Here are some ways that you can support small businesses, without having to spend money!

1 – Interact with them on social media.  Getting a new like on Facebook can brighten a small business owner’s day, and only takes you a second to do.   But likes aren’t everything.  Commenting on and sharing posts helps to increase a page’s “reach”, meaning that more people see what they have got to say.  If you have bought something from them, post a picture of you using it, or let them know how much your friend loved their gift.

2 – Write a review.  This could simply be a recommendation on their Facebook page, or a post on their wall; but if you write a blog, why not write about a positive experience you’ve had with the business, or about the great product you bought from them.  If they like what you have to say, it’s likely they will link to it themselves, bringing you more readers too.  Win-win!

3 – Tell y0ur friends.  Your real life friends and family that is.  Often we share our bad experiences of customer service, but how often do we tell the story of a good experience?  Not the times when something out of the ordinary happened, just the simple friendly greeting when you entered the shop, or the time they spent with you helping you find the right gift for a friend?

4 – Have a chat.  If you can see the owner is looking a little bored behind their friendly customer service smile, have a chat with them.  Even if you’re not intending to buy anything, you can give them an indication of the products you like and don’t like – it’s all market research for the owner.  (I buy in slings for my business and have to choose between about 50 fabrics each time, it’s impossible!  So I appreciate people telling me their favourites, even if I know they aren’t planning to buy one.)

5 – Follow links!  If you see a mention to a business on a blog or elsewhere, click on the link and follow it to their website.  As well as increasing their website traffic, it shows the search engines that this is a website that people want to visit, which can help their website move up the rankings.

Easy!  Just don’t forget to use the small business yourself when you need something they sell!!

What small businesses would you like to show support to?  Comment below and tell us about a good experience that you’ve had with a small business, and don’t forget to put a link to their website.

Happy New Year!

31 Dec

What a year it’s been!  At Opportunity Plus South West we have met some amazing customers this year with a massive range of ideas.  It’s been such an honour to be a part of each and every one of these journeys, however big or small our part in them.  It’s safe to say that we are as excited as the customer when they do take the plunge and register as self employed, and we love seeing all these new businesses get off the ground.

Thank you to all of the businesses that have featured on this blog so far:

Hose Solutions Ltd

Rocket & Co.

Leah Brookes – Tattoo Artist

L.A Barbers

Maternity Leavers

Sophie Duffy – Author

Seashore Ceramics

Anita Goff – Usborne Books

Caroline Cannon – The Pampered Chef

Gosling

Lewah – DJ

Helen Birtwhistle – Travel Counsellor

The Very Vintage Hire Company

Just for Tiny People

2013 (I’m going to need to practice writing that!) promises to be another exciting year for us, with some new projects on the way.  We look forward to meeting and working with lots more inspirational entrepreneurs next year.

Happy New Year!  See you on the other side…