Who are they?
OurBoards Community Interest Company is a social enterprise based in South Manchester. It was founded by Neale Hayward-Shott as a result of the personal experience Neale and his wife Heather gained from family life with their daughter Fliss, who has Learning Disabilities.
What do they do and why?
OurBoards is transforming lives for people with hidden disabilities.
They do this by producing dry-wipe boards and unique accessories that enable better communication. Better communication leads to lower processing demands on the brain, fewer meltdowns, less anxiety, more confidence, improved behaviour and encourages positive relationships in all areas of life.
OurBoards’ products are useful for many people, but especially those with ADHD, autism, anxiety, FASD, dementia, Down Syndrome, strokes, SEND and learning disabilities.
“The funding that we have received has enabled us to transform the lives of hundreds of people and set us on a road to make a significant, positive impact for tens of thousands more.” Neale Hayward-Shott, Founder and Managing Director.
What funding did they receive and how did it help them?
OurBoards was launched in 2017. It was only after receiving £50,000 in funding from GMCVO that the business moved from a part time, home based, concept to a social enterprise that could make a difference. The funding was made as a grant of £10,000 and a loan of £40,000.
What impact has the funding had?
For three years OurBoards was a home business relying on other companies to make its products. This made it expensive to design and refine products and difficult to respond to opportunities. The funding enabled a move from home working into a fabulous business unit at the The Message Enterprise Centre in Sharston. The funding and facilities enabled the business to buy its own manufacturing equipment, gain independence and flexibility and to scale up.
In addition to selling products through its online shop, OurBoards has partnered with School Home Support to provide free boards to some of the most disadvantaged children. The team has applied for and been given several grants to provide fully funded training and products to parents and carers of children with hidden disabilities living in Manchester, Birmingham and London.
Through the Stockport Apprentice Shop, OurBoards has partnered with Stockport Council to launch a Supported Apprenticeship Programme to provide opportunities to fantastic young people that other employers have overlooked. Currently there are two people in the programme, Ben who has a diagnosis of Learning Disabilities and Charlie, who is autistic.
Together Trust, Inscape House School for children with autism is working with OurBoards to provide work experience opportunities for its 16+ students.
"This board has changed my life - I bought it to try to help motivate my son during home schooling and the transformation was instant, instead of asking for a break between each task he wanted to do all of the tasks immediately and enjoyed seeing each task move from ‘to do’ to ‘done’. I also found that it helped me get organised with my own work." (Trustpilot Reviewer)
"Having the board available for my son to use has helped him not get so angry as he doesn’t understand what's happening and has no concept of time. His temper has calmed as we are able to show him what is happening that day and at different times he finds difficult. It really has helped us a huge amount. " (Workshop attendee feedback)
For more information about OurBoards, visit https://ourboards.co.uk/