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The Hub's innovation is their delivery of service. The utilization of volunteers is unique and provides real change within the community. As a business, The Health and Wellness Hub offers a variety of health and wellness activities within the community, including their own more inclusive versions of popular therapies such as their 'Flow and Slow' initiative. Every aspect of the organization is carefully designed to be as inclusive as possible.
Realising money is an issue for many, especially in areas of multiple deprivation, they looked to make money a non-issue. Money is not the only disadvantage they look to lessen. The organisation runs an intensive Volunteer Development program and support programs aimed at individuals who may have several support needs.
The Volunteer Development program is truly an outstanding initiative, with it being recognised with several awards. Most recently the initiative won the Motherwell Community Learning and Development 'Celebration of Learning' event in 2017. The only prerequisite to become a volunteer is you must be an active member within the Hub. Although the program is mainly for individuals who are marginalised and not working, anyone with a relevant skill set would not be turned away. This allows The Hub to have a good starting point with the volunteers.
“After months of being a therapist, I began to suffer from bad health and had to take a few months off. I stayed in contact and received many phone calls of care and concern. It really felt like an extended family”
If it were not for the hard work and dedication of the volunteers, the Hub would not be able to function and provide support to many areas within North Lanarkshire. This leads to a full circle moment, where an individual who may not be able to access health and wellness services in other places due to being disadvantaged or marginalised, are able to take part in a unique community to not only improve their health and wellness but also themselves on a personal level. That is the beauty of this innovation – everybody can get the help they deserve, in a community that understands their needs without feeling out of place.
The founder of The Hub, Ayeshah, has 16 years of experience within the third sector and in this time she had witnessed and identified a gap in health and wellbeing services where she felt that it was non-inclusive of everyone. From this came the introduction of The Hub, and the inspiration to create a place where everyone was included, where people were not turned away or felt as though they could not take part because of mental or physical health issues, expensive costs, age or fitness levels individuals may have.
"I feel really strongly about people who are marginalised, I feel really strongly about people who, from no fault of their own, are disadvantaged in some way. I was motivated enough to take my drive and add some actions behind it. I just couldn’t stand back anymore and watch people suffer and not do something about it "
The overall impact the Health and Wellness Hub has on local communities within North Lanarkshire is evident, some 200 people access the services provided by the Hub on a weekly basis. Whether it is coming to the Hub itself or through the outreach work in local community centers or nursing homes, if the service was not there a gap would be left in those communities.
The impact of participating in the Hub’s programs has service users leaving feeling better in themselves and it has improved their mental health and medical issues.
“I am so much happier than I was before, my depression has gone and I have been off my anti-depressants for six months now and I no longer need to see my counsellor and occupational therapist”
Long-term, it is safe to say that the Hub’s volunteer program has made a massive impact to their volunteer’s lives. Not only has it given people who may have never have been given the opportunity due to physical or mental health issues the help and support to complete the initial program but has given volunteers the lifelong skills and training that could lead to employment or starting a business of their own.
Claire, one of the volunteers to come through the program, who suffered from post-natal depression when she first joined, is now employed with the Hub and is in a senior therapists’ role, crediting the Hub for helping her reach her potential.
With having essentially started operations out the boots of cars in local community halls, the Hub has expanded to six community center operations, run by the volunteers, and have recently moved into their first office in the city center of Motherwell. As they initially offered their services free to be as inclusive as possible, they realised this wasn’t sustainable. To continue the operation and allow them to grow, they started to charge a small fee which has proven to be successful. With funding being a constant stress, the unrestricted funds they raise from the volunteer instructed classes provides vital income for the Hub.
The volunteer program has been beneficial in several ways to the business. Each week, the volunteers collectively work approximately 86 hours a week on average. This shows that by investing in the members of the community, and supporting them with any issues they face, the business directly benefits. As previously stated, the Hub could not function without the volunteers, and it recognises this. The true community spirt running throughout the Hub is obvious to anyone who enters. Every employee and volunteer have the same vision and goals for the organisation, which allows it to continue to grow and help an increasing number of people without the need for full time supervision.
Due to the nature of the social enterprise, the Hub does not greatly impact the environment. It does however greatly impact society.
With the Hub being very much a part of the culture to many in North Lanarkshire, there is an exponential benefit for society. Between the five community center Hubs and the main office in the city center, over 200 people a week access the services on offer. Each of these individuals come into the Hub to improve their health and wellness. Many of these people have families relying on them. By accessing the Hub and becoming a part of the community, they do not just benefit themselves, but in turn their family.
The volunteer program has a great benefit to society as well. With the organisation being so inclusive, people who would have struggled in other health and wellness centers have been able to grow as individuals to the point in which they can in turn help others. By providing the support needed, the individuals can work to becoming a volunteer leading to potential employment which they may not have been able to achieve on their own. The work being done by the Hub and volunteers not only benefit the individual by improving their physical and emotional help, it also creates opportunities for individuals to connect and share with each other so that they can create a healthy, strong, resilient and empowered community in which everyone is of equal importance.
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Ayeshah Khan, Director
The Health and Wellness Hub, a social enterprise, was founded in 2012 by Ayeshah Khan based on the belief that everyone is of equal importance.
The Hub offers various support and services which have been recognised by numerous awards for their contribution, which has allowed the Hub to build up a strong reputation in the local community.