“Vicki has enabled us to structure without loosing site of our passion and values.”

We approached Vicki for coaching because whilst we had been supporting male survivors of abuse for some 8 years, we had finally gained funding and a voluntary endeavour had the scope to grow and meet an unmet need for many men struggling with trauma. But I quickly learnt its one thing to do that but quite another to run a business. That was alien to me and I felt I didn’t have the skills for that.

I came to coaching wanting to learn how to run a business and I did but not in the way I expected. It was not a “how to do it course” but a process of self-discovery. I realised to run a business I needed not purely to know how to, but how I related to that. What are my strengths and weaknesses? How can I best utilise those strengths what are they and what do I not find so easy? Vicki helped me determine where I could develop skills, I was not so sure or proficient in and where I should put my efforts into fund raising, to buy in or employ someone who has the skills needed and importantly shares our values, with admin for example. It has really been an exploration of confidence building to come to see and believe you have the skills to develop a social enterprise.

We started moMENtum because there was so little support for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse so we started doing it ourselves. We did this in a voluntary capacity initially but we were building a reputation for the work we were doing without really realising that. Then we started attracting funding and we went from wanting professional help in our work to being the professional help, being paid. Having the struggles and joys of running our social enterprise as we as a group of survivors found it needs to be run not complying to others.

Now having had the experience and developing skills and knowledge in this field backed by other professionals, we have new challenges how to enable the business/support to grow to reach more survivors without loosing the values and beliefs we set moMENtum on in the first place. Then seeing and testing out through the response of public health, mental health, justice services and importantly the men themselves that we have a viable needed provision that’s making a difference to lives. We are now looking at how to work alongside other organisations and train other men and consider how that can be done as a mutual organisation, To embed this support across much of Devon.

Now we not only support survivors but train other organisations to do that too, not only improving support and creating support that was just not there, but also generating income to develop moMENtum further.

It feels daunting at times but I think of it like dancing you can learn the steps then you have to dance with a partner, fellow survivors, commissioners, other organisations. Movement and flow is developed and you learn to be there as things change, always thinking on your feet. I wanted to learn the steps to run a business but have come to realise I already had an equally important requirement; creativity. To have someone like Vicki with oversight is so valuable when you are so caught up in everyday running, helping you look ahead and realising what you are capable of.

In all of this Vicki has been there and we do not doubt that we have not been the easiest of clients but she has helped to steer our ship through all our struggles doubts and concerns. Helping us bring in and the skills to work on all those needed plans and developments that in the end help you, when you start by feeling they are just stuff you have to do. Things like establishing Core Values, forward planning, funding, prioritising. Its also helped us utilise the support of fellow survivors with a range of skills we are from many different walks of life.

It’s a real challenge developing and running a not-for-profit social enterprise I am so glad I have done it with my friends and colleges and I think I am glad I did not know how hard it can be or I may never have started it. Vicki has enabled us to structure that without loosing site of our passion and values. I never though much of business but realise now it’s an extension of you, what you can achieve and change its all a matter of how you use it. Vicki’s support has helped me grow, moMENtum grow and helped many survivors of childhood sexual abuse and changed minds and attitudes.

John Slater – Co-Director 
moMENtum Devon CIC

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