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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
CommunityFunding boost for Oldham learning and wellbeing business

Funding boost for Oldham learning and wellbeing business

A social enterprise, which helps local people access much-needed emotional and wellbeing support, is expanding its services thanks to £350,000 funding from the Proper Good programme.

Springhead-based IntraQuest is a specialist learning, wellbeing and community service provider that offers therapeutic support to individuals, families and organisations.

The business was founded by Jen Westwood and Karen Keates from their kitchen table in 2013.

They moved to Earl Mill Business Centre a year later where they started off in a small office before taking over a larger self-contained unit in 2015.

In December 2019, the founders decided to relocate IntraQuest from Earl Mill to their home in Springhead.

IntraQuest successfully applied for two separate rounds of capital investment funding from the Proper Good programme, which supports social entrepreneurs across Oldham, Bolton, Stockport, and Wigan.

The investment allowed Jen and Karen to create a new therapeutic learning and wellbeing space to provide clients with a tranquil and safe space that also connected them to nature.

The founders have also expanded their team of 12 staff with the appointment of a full-time clinical psychologist, Dr Paula Butroid.

Karen said: “With rising overhead costs such as expensive rent, it was time for a rethink about how we wanted to operate. We had the capacity at home to create a unique space for therapy, learning and wellbeing and decided to do just that.

“We aim to help people navigate trauma, release stress and help people move towards living fulfilled lives and what we have created here gives them the space to do that and more.

“We also provide training and professional development at schools and other organisations. This is an area that has continued to grow and we want to expand this service further. There are some exciting projects in the pipeline looking at how we can work with the NHS to expand the work we do.”

Commenting about the funding, Jen said they received the money over two allocations.

“The initial funding allowed us to start the transformation of our outdoor space,” said Jen.

“As a social business, we aim to help people and train other organisations to help people, so we wanted to be able to do that from a space that made people feel welcome and at home.

“We also wanted to reduce the massive overhead costs of working out from rented premises, and this investment allowed us to make those changes.”

The Proper Good programme is a social investment fund ranging between £30,000 and £350,000.

The money is distributed by Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation (GMCVO) to help social businesses to grow.

Karen said: “We went to GMCVO because as an organisation, they understand what a social enterprise is, the impact it has on communities and, importantly, they also understand that social businesses can be profitable growing businesses like any other.

“The synergies aligned, and the support we have received has been incredible.”

Proper Good Programme Leader and Upturn Enterprise director, Anwar Ali OBE, said: “IntraQuest is a great example of a growing business that is making a positive social impact in Oldham and the wider region.

“And thanks to the Proper Good programme, social enterprises can now access investment to scale their business enabling them to expand their services, recruit and ultimately, take their business to new heights.

“There’s a lot to learn from the strength of social entrepreneurship and find new ways to drive innovation and change.

“If you have a proper good idea or existing social business and want to find out how we can help, then get in touch.”

To find out more email [email protected].

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