#Focus5 participant working towards launching a small business

J was a NEET young person after struggling with undiagnosed autism in a difficult housing situation. He attained well at GCSE but lost direction for post 16 studies/work. He also had no access to funds as he had no ID or a bank account. He had a lot of skills with hobbies such as taxidermy- cleaning and preserving pelts and animal skulls (that were obtained naturally and sustainably) to make beautiful ornaments and wreaths with his partner.

Working with J, Key Worker Mellissa helped him identify and work through the most pressing barriers first – housing situation, bank account, gaining photo ID, Universal Credit, finding a doctor and preparing information (in line with guidance from Autism UK) for him to present to the doctor regarding gaining an official autism diagnosis.

J was assisted in identifying his skills to create a CV and build confidence in his abilities. Mellissa also sourced a welfare pack from Young Devon that included a weighted blanket to assist with anxiety. With more stable housing and control over finances, J was then able to work with Mellissa to focus on what he would like to do. Living with his partner as a carer, J wanted to do something more with his hobby and think about turning it into a small business that would fit around his caring responsibilities.

Mellissa arranged 2 one-on-one Digital Marketing sessions with one of #Focus5’s project partners, Cosmic, to allow J to learn how to use Canva to make his own media marketing materials and learn how to effectively market his business idea via social media. Mellissa also supported J in finding opportunities for business mentoring and start up grants, helping find and apply for Real Ideas and Young Devon business start-up grants and Prince’s Trust Enterprise course and business mentoring.

Through working with his Key Worker Mellissa on the#Focus5 project, J is more secure, independent and has developed more confidence in his abilities. J and his partner are working towards launching their business!