An ex-RAF couple are off to a flying start with their new business, thanks to Tata Steel subsidiary UKSE.
Their business, YourNorth, which supports military veterans, has won the Free Office for a Year Competition at the Ebbw Vale Innovation Centre (EVIC). The coveted prize is valued at £5,000 and means they will have free accommodation in a serviced office at the prestigious business centre for their first year of trading.
The former RAF aircraft technicians, Kelly and Jamie Farr, who have 41 years’ service between them, are delighted.
‘We are very grateful to have won this prize which will give the business the perfect start,” said Kelly.
They had planned to launch the business, YourNorth Veteran Support CIC, at a later date, but have brought it forward to offer much-needed support to people in the Coronavirus pandemic, adapting to an online format. They are hoping to take on two mental health trainers in their first year of operation.
“Many people are struggling with their mental health, now more than ever,’” said Kelly.
“In addition veterans are faced with other challenges. When they leave the Service, this may be the first time in their life where they feel they are truly on their own. Some veterans feel they never really ‘fit-in’ to civilian life.”
UKSE has offered the prize for the third time in recent years to give a new business a springboard.
“We are pleased to provide this support which is aimed at helping a new venture get off the ground. YourNorth will enjoy the many benefits of the prestigious working environment at EVIC, and being part of the strong business community here,” said UKSE Manager in Wales Glyn Thomas.
“In particular we wanted to support a new business launching in these times. It is a very positive development that YourNorth has launched when its services are greatly needed by the people it will be supporting.”
EVIC offers a mix of high-spec serviced offices and workshops, and is one of the most popular business locations in the Valleys. Tenants enjoy easy-in easy-out terms in a secure setting with ample parking and a gym free to use.
EVIC is owned and run by Tata Steel subsidiary UKSE which also provides debt and equity finance to firms with growth potential of up to £1 million. Tenants who meet the investment criterion are able to apply for UKSE investment.
YourNorth offers a mix of formal training courses to support Mental Health, mindset and wellbeing workshops, and one-to-one coaching. This will be free for the veteran community in Wales, and will also be available for their spouses and other family members.
The firm will also be collaborating with other veteran organisations and networks, helping them to access as full a range of services as possible.
“We understand the potential challenges faced by the veteran community and feel passionately about helping as many as we can, by educating and empowering not just the veteran, but also their immediate support network.”
The First Aid for Mental Health courses they offer are fully accredited, and Kelly and Jamie are both certified teachers, qualified Mental Health Trainers, Master Practitioners of neuro linguistic programming, coaches and hypnotherapists. Kelly is also a mindfulness teacher and a HeartMath Coach.
Both have been awarded commendations in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List recognising their service to the RAF, military charities and the local community. Jamie has completed many tours of active service in his career in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The plan now is to move to face-to-face teaching and coaching as the Covid-19 situation improves.
“EVIC will be perfect for this with its excellent facilities and we are delighted to have been awarded this prize,” added Kelly.