Colchester has a fine history of effective social enterprises doing valuable work – Find Your Spark may be a relative newcomer, but it’s certainly marking its mark!
Originally from South London, Michelle Pritchard was first introduced to the charms of Colchester by the TV programme Escape to the Country (Series 16, episode 2! Honestly!). She settled in leafy Lexden about 18 months ago and has focused on relaunching the social enterprise she began in Newham, East London, after the London riots. Keenly aware that young people, in particular those with troubled backgrounds or learning difficulties, desperately needed something constructive and positive in their lives, Michelle set up Find Your Spark, to help them recognise their skills and talents, improve their well-being and, perhaps crucially, raise their aspirations.
With a Psychology degree and a Coaching Psychology Masters Michelle's passion has always been helping those who are vulnerable and disaffected. Find Your Spark does this by delivering one to one and group coaching programmes to young people and adults of all ages and backgrounds specifically focusing on the topic of resilience - a skill, Michelle says, we all have the potential to learn and develop.
In Colchester Michelle has found there has been a real demand for training adults - not only in how to deal with challenging behaviour, but also to strengthen their own resilience, which helps them cope better when things don't go smoothly. This means that Find Your Spark has diversified from only dealing with at-risk young people and now works with educational professionals, young unemployed parents, entrepreneurs, parents of autistic young people and charity workers.
All the profits generated by Find Your Spark are reinvested into the organisation so that they can help more people lead more fulfilling lives and have better mental well-being.
Michelle says she has felt welcomed by Colcestrians and appreciates the responsiveness of local organisations and their willingness to collaborate, the emphasis the townspeople place on social enterprises and charity - she pitched (and won!) at January's Colchester Soup - and the work done by organisations such as GO4 Enterprises and Refugee Action Colchester.
And Find Your Spark has certainly established themselves as another social enterprise Colchester can be proud of. So much so that they have been shortlisted for the Colchester Big Choice Award. You can vote for Find Your Spark at http://www.colchester.gov.uk/bigchoice
Find Your Spark's next Colchester training is on 24th