Disabled people in Skelmersdale can now take part in fitness sessions thanks to a local man who launched his own business following redundancy, with help from the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce (NWLCC).
Neil Morgan, of Crossfield Road, Skelmersdale, was made redundant from local firm Bodycote in November and began claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.
But with the help of the New Enterprise Allowance – a partnership between Jobcentre Plus and the Chamber – he has now launched his own business, Activ4-all.
Neil, 44, now provides a service offering activities such as light exercise and movement for people with a wide range of disabilities.
He said: “These activities create an environment that has proven to be beneficial for the wellbeing and ongoing social and personal development of individuals.
“Activ4-all provides a service for the supported and the support workers during times when activities are required, both during the day and at night.
“This is a service that operates within the care and support work community where there were no other services of this type being held.
“I provide an environment that encourages social skills and development with fun and exciting events and activities to encourage movement and exercise for people with a wide variety of disabilities.”
Prior to launching his business, Neil spent 18 months holding the classes and has also volunteered at Skelmersdale’s ‘Sensory Zone managing activities including sports, disco and bingo nights.
He added: “My family has a long history of working with people with disabilities and I have always been involved in this field in some way.
“I am delighted to have been able to go from losing my job to launching a business like this which gives me the chance to help other people.
“I couldn’t have done this without the help of the Chamber of Commerce and I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity.”
NWLCC chief executive, Babs Murphy, said: “We are delighted that Neil has been able to start such a great business that is helping people with disabilities.
“It is stories such as Neil’s that make the New Enterprise Allowance such a worthwhile and rewarding scheme to be involved with.”
The Chamber has held the contract to run the Government’s New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) since its launch in 2011, and through it, 920 fledgling businesses have got off the ground in the area.
The NEA provides a weekly allowance for 26 weeks amounting to £1,274 to the new business, as well as a personal mentor to help develop the idea and provide ongoing support.
The NEA is open to those aged 18 or over who have a business idea and are in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support as a lone parent or Employment and Support Allowance.
Often those entering the scheme have suffered losing their jobs through redundancy or due to serious health problems and are looking for a way to get a new business up and running to get back on their feet.
To find out more about the New Enterprise Allowance, which is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, visit your local Jobcentre Plus where an adviser can refer you to the scheme once you receive a qualifying benefit.