What a rollercoaster of a year it’s been! Three days after the high of winning the Pitch Perfect competition I went into self-isolation, followed by the schools closing two days after that.
After the initial shock, and accepting where we as a world were at, I adjusted my strategy for Breathe NI for the year to ensure I could maximise the award from the Institute of Directors in trying to help as many parents as possible.
With the help of the Institute of Directors award I have been able to;
• Increase my offer from helping ten parents and families to fifteen. Fifteen parents and families received one-to-one video call support for a minimum of six sessions each. The IoD award also enabled me to extend services beyond the standard 8-session programme which was a lifeline to some.
• I have established a partnership project with a national charity that provides counselling services to survivors of sexual trauma offering free complementary support services to six parents they are working with.
• I have connected with and met (mostly virtually!) a wide range of wonderful, skilled, inspiring and supportive people that have encouraged and advised me along Breathe NI’s journey this year, our first year in business, during a global health crisis! A small number of collaborative projects are also now in the pipeline.
• Many of these new connections were as a result of putting myself out there in the pitching competition last year.
• I utilised some of the award to develop the Breathe NI website and upgrade IT to be able to efficiently carry out secure video calls with clients.
• Among the lockdown madness of juggling work, kids and life I took the opportunity to further my skills and qualifications. I now have an even wider toolbox of approaches I can use to empower parents to be the parent they want to be.
Plans for this year include continuing to develop relationships across health trusts and related organisations, working on new products and services that will be launched later in 2021 and looking forward to being able to see friends and family again!
In what has been a year of uncertainty, challenges and strains for us all, I have nothing but admiration and pride when I read about how so many people and businesses are determined to not only survive, but thrive in these stressful times.
I would like to wish all the contestants this year the best of luck, your businesses are all worthy causes. It may be nerve-racking but just keep remembering why you are putting yourself out there and keep chasing those dreams!
I am forever thankful for the support that everyone at the conference gave me last year and I look forward to meeting you again in person soon.
In closing, I’d just like to remind you all that a momentary timeout, reflection and a few long slow breaths can do wonders. So, please remember in those times when you are overwhelmed to do just that, and breathe…