Being a ‘pandemic parent’ wasn’t the best start to motherhood for Emily, along with that and other challenges, she was more determined to start her own business within her community.
After looking to Successful Mums for advice she has turned her dreams into reality.
I’m Emily, wife, and mum to a 2-year-old toddler whirlwind and my fur baby rescue dog. I’ve lived in the borough of Bromley for 3 years, moving to Crystal Palace shortly before giving birth to my son.
I’ve been a professional Actress working in theatre, tv, film and radio for 17 years. Since becoming a parent I’ve really enjoyed being more involved in my local community, which now feels like such a privilege considering where we’ve all been during the last few years.
I set up my own mum and baby peer support group, It Takes A Village Crystal Palace in 2021 after training as a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter during the first lockdown. I had a difficult start to motherhood in many ways, I struggled with feeding, and was very unwell myself in addition to the isolation that I (and many new ‘pandemic parents’) experienced at that time. I wanted to volunteer in local mum and baby community groups after completing my training, but a year on from that first lockdown, all the Childrens Centre’s were still shut and there was no face-to-face breastfeeding support in my area.
I applied to MIND for some seed funding and launched my own small group, meeting in Crystal Palace Park, socially distanced on picnic rugs as it’s all we were allowed to do at that time. I didn’t know whether anyone would turn up but to my surprise, mums with babies, some just a few weeks old, began flocking to the group every week to share their highs and lows of new motherhood and receive support.
The group grew so rapidly over the course of a year, it became clear to me that this was going to become much more than just a hobby. And I was loving it! I wanted to get funding or learn how to register as a charity to expand the group but didn’t really have a clue where to start.
“Having a weekly group challenge was great too, getting to learn tips and tricks from my peers on the course, sharing skills and supporting each other right the way through to our recorded Business Pitches at the end. It was really inspirational to work alongside such a great group of women!“
I attended a talk that Jane Knight gave about Successful Mum’s and was inspired to find out more about the Business Enterprise course. It felt like just the right fit, learning all the practical skills to get officially registered as a Social Enterprise, and receiving qualified help to hone my passion and ideas into making my dreams a reality!
The course was great, I loved the structure of the weekly Zoom learning with other Mum entrepreneurs, as well as the individual learning in a mixture of formats such as videos, further reading and practical exercises. Having a weekly group challenge was great too, getting to learn tips and tricks from my peers on the course, sharing skills and supporting each other right the way through to our recorded Business Pitches at the end. It was really inspirational to work alongside such a great group of women!
The course supported me through some of the barriers I was facing while starting my business. I had no idea where to start with a Business Plan, but finished the course with a very detailed document including a cash flow, Aims and Objectives, Smart Targets and a clear understanding of my Values which have all been so incredibly useful going forward.
My trainer, Lisa really helped me to create a realistic learning plan, scheduling the time in my day to get my work done. I’m pleased to say I submitted all my assessments to deadline, which was a challenge, but I felt very supported by Successful Mums with this – they know better than anyone about the work-life balance of a parent!
I believed so passionately in It Takes A Village, but felt held back due to my lack of experience in the business world when it came to selling myself and my ideas. The course made me understand the strengths of my business and gave me the confidence to create and present a 20-minute pitch, live online to my fellow students that I was really proud of.
My goals were to gain a better idea of business finance as well as get my organisation properly registered with HMRC. Two of the units covered this in-depth. I was so pleased to achieve these goals! I learned in detail about the importance of financial record keeping, such as keeping tabs on profit and loss and expenses, and how to create an annual cash flow forecast – which I now know is absolutely essential when it comes to business planning.
I also learned about the types of Insurance to look into for my business. I’m pleased to say I achieved my goal of getting my business registered too and am just in the process of finalising the paperwork to officially become a registered CIC. I’m so pleased to have done this as we are now being approached by potential funders who would not have been able to support the organisation without the correct paperwork in place!
The course has made me feel so connected with my business. I’m inspired to be part of this amazing community of ambitious mums who are making careers for themselves that are driven by strong values and that are family-friendly too.
It Takes A Village, Crystal Palace is a small, hands-on social enterprise, made by mums for mums!
As our group is currently free and donation-based we are accessible to the whole community. We are proud to be diverse and encourage minority groups to join us. You can find out more about us on our website HERE. Also on INSTA and FACEBOOK.
We can help YOU turn your business dreams into reality, just REGISTER YOUR INTEREST and a member of our friendly team will be in touch.