The Appetite for Wellbeing centre helps clients to improve their health through physical, psychological and social support. Vicky Rayson is the owner and facilitator
How would you describe your professional and personal brand?
The ethos of Appetite for Wellbeing is “No mirrors, No Scales, No judgement!”
In my experience people assume this is only relevant to young people, however I feel having a non judgemental centre, creates a safe space for people to be themselves, encourages openness and people being ‘real’ whatever age they are. How we look and feel is still very important to many clients who walk through our door.
As a centre specialising in long term health conditions, I feel it is even more important to offer the environment where you don’t need to hide behind expectations of society, no need for a big fake smile when you arrive. You can be just you, whatever that is on the day! Grumpy, angry, depressed, anxious, happy, excited…..!
I often hear ‘there’s worse off than me… followed by an attempted smile’ Yes there probably is, however we’re here for ‘you!’
One of my biggest challenges is finding staff that fit the ethos and maintain the centres idea of a safe space.
I didn’t rush finding someone, and built the business up over 3yrs before finally finding someone who I felt added to the centre.
As much as we offer non judgemental centre, we as staff are often very open with our clients about how we are. I encourage staff to be themselves with clients. Of course professionalism comes into this, but this is another reason I choose staff so carefully.
What does it mean to you to be a woman in business?
I haven’t really considered the concept of being a woman in business.
My mum was in business for many years since I was a child. Perhaps seeing my mum juggle self employed and being a mum and doing an amazing job at it, meant that when I made my step from working in the NHS to self employed, it was just a process.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
The step into self employed units own wasn’t the scary part for me.
I finished in the NHS on 31st March 2103 and stepped into self employed with 0 clients on 8th April 2013!
Although this was scary, I knew in my gut that what I had to offer as a business concept was going to work and be successful.
Convincing everyone around me was the hardest part – I had a vision, a dream, something I believed would work, and clients would get a great service from. This is really difficult when no-one else can see the vision but you!!
My next biggest achievement is helping Debbie (Neuro Physio) to come onto the team full-time when she also worked in the NHS.
For someone else to believe in the vision as much as me and commit to it, is an amazing sense of achievement! A very proud moment!! I’m just working on my third person to join the team…. announcements to be made very soon!!
My final great achievement is becoming an NHS provider!
We won an NHS contract to deliver Stroke and Parkinson’s Exercise Rehab classes across East lancs.
This is massive to a business that started off with 0 clients!!
We are now recognised as NHS standard, and now receive referrals from various NHS services.
What advice would you have for other women to overcome setbacks professionally or personally?
For me its about listening to your gut about anything in business.
Sometimes opportunities look amazing but if it doesn’t feel right then its not right!
Set backs are expected. I believe its either not the right time for it or its the wrong direction.
Its tough though – when you spend days, weeks, months building relationships or working on an idea for it to be turned down. It takes it out of you! And I allow myself to feel disappointed, frustrated, annoyed about it etc.
Its what you do next! After the initial sting, its looking at other ways of achieving it, or letting it go.
My other advice would be to do things your own way, if its your business then only you know the best way to move forward. Thats not saying don’t get advice along the way, but thats all it is… advice….. do it your way.
Saying that you then have to be prepared for accepting it was your decisions if things didn’t work also. Thats normal too
Personal setbacks are expected too. Life seems to throw you something unexpected at just the worst time possible.
This is then about taking time out and looking after yourself. Self care is massively important in business. This is something I still have to work on regularly.
The Appetite for Wellbeing centre is located in Nelson, Lancashire. The aim is to offer a no referral and no waiting list policy.
Clients can access self management programmes specifically designed to meet their needs. These include courses, classes, support groups, one to one opportunities. You can read more at the facebook page or website.