I was wondering if there is any help for disabled people in my position.
I would like to start a small wood turning business mainly to occupy the time I have on my hands. I have some equipment but not enough.
I have researched the potential for the things I would make and it is looking good. I just need some extra equipment to get started.
Being disabled for the last three years and living on a limited income I have no savings but I'm keen to make a start.
A friend lent me £2000 to buy a basic set up.
I then contacted the Welsh Office (the Welsh Government) but all they offered me was a loan and at this early stage I didn't want a loan as I needed a couple of months to do other research into the market and to build up a stock.
However, the Welsh office did appoint a
Business Adviser to my cause and I saw her once a fortnight and she was
so helpful. She informed me that there was a £500 start up grant
available for disabled people like me and we applied for it.
I had to go to the Job Centre for an interview and was told I did not qualify as the grant was only available if I wanted a piece of equipment modified to my needs and I did not need any of that. The Business Advisor then told me that I was entitled to it so now we are going through another agency to get it but I am not holding out any hope.
I live in a bungalow with a brick built shed attached to it, it is only 7 x 6 and that is my workshop.
As it is a single course brick construction the damp comes in and as winter approaches it will not only get worse but will suffer from condensation and that will ruin any tool and equipment in there.
I have an electric light in there but no power sockets so i have to run an extension lead from the kitchen.
I need to spend £1000 on the workshop if I am to remain in there but then by the time the work was done it would be a lot smaller as I would have to put up a stud-work of 2 x 2 and then insulate it with 2inch polystyrene and then cover that with half inch ply wood, although I am a carpenter and joiner by trade I could not physically undertake this work.
To overcome this situation I have emptied my second bedroom and will use this as a workshop but cannot occupy it until I get a dust extractor as the dust from the wood would kill me as it is toxic.
I contacted Care and Repair for help but they just fobbed me off. I contacted other organisations and received pathetic replies to the few that actually did reply. One excuse used by a few so called charities was, "We don't operate in your area."
It has been very difficult and I feel many people would have given up but I have stayed the course because I have to. I have to pay back my friend's money. I am very disappointed at getting no help at all apart from advice from the Welsh office. Everything I have achieved so far I have more or less done myself.
Doing what I do has made such a big difference to me. I see the hospital once a month and they have commented on how much better I am, not only fitter but I had a high cholesterol and now my levels are normal. The consultant even said I have a spring in my step now, such as it is so doing something that is close to my heart has many advantages but it's a long uphill struggle in other ways
Do you have any suggestions for any grants that can help me?
Thank you for telling me your story - no-one and I mean no-one can say you haven't tried. Sometimes it's just so difficult.
I'm not sure about any specific grants but I wondered if you have contacted the Disabled Entrepreneurs network as they may be able to keep you up-to-date with any new funding when it becomes available.
The Princes Trust (if under 25 yrs)
The Joy of Business (from Channel 4 programme) can give telephone advice.
And...not forgetting your local council - they sometimes provide funding for local businesses. What they offer will vary around the country.
Does anyone else know of any grants out there to help start up new business or help existing businesses? If so make a post below.
I do hope this helps a little Geoff and I wish you the best with your business.