Creative ForHousing tenant transforms business from dog beds to PPE manufacturing to support key workers during Covid-19

ForHousing tenant Carole Duck was running a business making and selling handmade dog beds, which she’d set up with support from ForHousing’s Do Your Own Thing programme.

She had been doing well until, like many other businesses, sales declined due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Carole realised she needed to diversify if she was going to keep her business afloat.

After seeing news coverage about the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) she looked into ways this can be manufactured and discovered that face masks were something she could produce.

She applied to the Do You Own Thing programme by ForHousing for some additional funding. She used the money to buy material for making the masks, and to enable her to give away the first batch to care assistants and front-line workers.

Carole said: “So many people are finding it difficult to find PPE, not just key workers but individuals in a caring role or those who just want to have some form of protection.

“I saw the opportunity to transfer my skills and materials to make face masks. This has benefitted not only my business, but also people in the local community who are now able to purchase PPE so they can carry on working. Some of the care workers at one of ForHousing’s extra care schemes have been using the masks, which is great to hear.”

Eric McBean, Enterprise Manager at ForHousing, said: “It was great to be able to support Carole with this change in direction for her business. We helped her with some initial market testing and research, and now her business is doing really well.

“It’s so important for us to support local enterprise through Do Your Own Thing. Financial stability is a big part of wellbeing, and that’s what this programme aims to provide.”

Do Your Own Thing helps people to fuel their potential, explore possibilities and develop ideas before taking steps into self-employment. In 2019/20 the programme helped 71 people, with 39 of them going on to start their enterprise.

To find out more about Do Your Own Thing, please visit forhousing.co.uk/DoYourOwnThing

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