Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Social Enterprise Day 2012 – It’s all about the Vi-Ability!

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Kelly Davies of Vi-Ability

Kelly Davies, Managing Director of Vi-Ability

We caught up with Kelly Davies of Vi-Ability, as she was preparing to attend the UK Social Enterprise Awards in London. Kelly is Managing Director of Vi-Ability and is an ex-international football player with 36 caps for Wales who has also played for Arsenal and Liverpool Ladies. She is also the youngest woman to obtain an MBA in the Football Industries. During her studies, the idea came to her for a social business that could tackle the issues of commercially unsustainable football clubs and youth disengagement in education.

Monday 12th November

Getting ready to attend the Social Enterprise UK awards at Lord’s Cricket ground on Monday night. Sunday afternoon was spent on a train travelling from North Wales to London; thankfully Virgin trains have WiFi so I was able to catch up on emails!!! God bless Richard Branson.

Thankfully the apartment I booked was close to London Euston, so there was no need to have to jump on the tube late at night! Also managed to get ITV on the TV eventually, so could see the X Factor result and ‘I’m a celebrity..’ before going to sleep ahead of a busy day. Bonus!!

Monday starts nice and early with a trip to the local ‘Fitness First’ conveniently situated 5 minutes from the apartment. With possibly the ‘biggest sweet tooth’ in Wales, and knowing full well I won’t be able to resist the dessert trolley at the awards ceremony this evening, I manage to put myself through a gruelling 40-minute cardiovascular work out although unfortunately not as quickly as in my Arsenal days!!!

8.30-11am : It’s straight back to the apartment to catch up on emails and call key staff members to make sure all is ok for the week ahead. It was particularly important this morning that I managed to speak to Keri Jones our Community Manager in Conwy, as we’re launching two new exciting programmes at Conwy Borough FC this week for 16-25 year old NEETs. Through the motivational power of football and the inspirational setting of a football stadia we hope to help these individuals develop financial capability, employability and life skills.

12 pm – 1:30pm Went for lunch with my contact at the Young Foundation ‘Tony Coleville’ to update him on our progress and growth over the last 12 months and discuss the numerous opportunities that we are currently presented with. There are some really exciting possibilities in pipelines for 2013 and we look at ways to attract investment to really push things on.

2-4pm –  Heading back to the apartment, and I’m accosted in the street by someone offering a free hair cut by a trainee hair dresser.  As I’m always keen to help young people develop.. I agree.. and It appears that the trainee I was assigned is from  Toni and Guy in Spain, and the salon I’m randomly sitting in is actually the international hair academy ‘Sarizz’. Three hours later I emerge with a £200 fashionable haircut but not much hair!! Ha!!

4-5pm – I add the finishing touches to our annual Gwirvol  application that needs to be submitted tomorrow – this year we’re looking to roll out our hugely successful ‘ivolunteer’ programme in South Wales at the following clubs – Port Talbot,  Merthyr Town and Cambrian.

Before jumping in the shower and trying to make myself look glamorous (remember I used to play football!!) I also quickly check the press release for four job appointments we are making through the Jobs Growth Wales supported employment contract we have, and in partnership with social inclusion football organisation ‘Game On’.

6-11pm – The taxi picks me up to take me to the  Social Enterprise Awards where the hilarious Sue Perkins from ‘Great British Bake Off’ was the host.

My category ‘social enterprise leader of the year’ was the first up and I was gracefully pipped to the post by Dai Williams of HCT group. Congratulations Dai!!!

My night was made though when my business card was pulled out of the hat to win a customised  bike from social enterprise Bikeworks.

The biggest challenge for everyone in the room though was working out how to get it from London to North Wales (it’s a fair ride) .. but thankfully the social enterprise version of DHL came into play and it was arranged to be dropped off in Llandudno.

So in a weeks time I’ll be cycling around North Wales on my new ‘green’ vehicle to meetings🙂 if you spot it please tweet us!!!

Sharing a table with Amey and the Co-operative, interesting discussions develop around how they may be able to offer us support through their corporate responsibility programmes in the future.

The great evening of entertainment ended with a few drinks in reception with Fran Gorman from Social Enterprise UK,  Donna Coyle from the Wales Co-operative Centre, and my business mentor Matt Stevenson-Dodd CEO of 10 Downing Street charity of the year Street League.

So another day over and tomorrow… I’ll try to sort my hair out.. No only kidding!

I’ll try to continue to inspire others, and #changelivesthroughfootball

One thing’s for sure it won’t be boring and will be extremely rewarding once again!!

For more information on Vi-Ability, visit http://www.vi-ability.org/ and follow on Twitter @Vi_Ability.

Written by Mark Smith

November 15, 2012 at 9:04 am

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