Villager's Stories

Mary's Story


If you don't know much about us, watch Mary's story. This was a video created during the Healthy Villages programme to exemplify our priorities in putting people at the centre of care and relating everything we do back to a real person in a real place.

Please have a read through some more 'stories' below.

PocZero

What's In A Name?

When a person doesn't feel well, we want to see someone who will make us feel better. Traditionally this would mean visiting a healthcare professional, which is what we refer to as POC 1 ( as in first Point Of Care ).

This would often involve onward referral to other professionals or services ( POC 2, 3, 4, etc ). At it's best, this leads to great joined up care. At it's worst, it can feel like being the ball in a pinball machine bouncing around a complex system.

Point Of Care 0 ( PocZero ), is where we spend most of our time doing things and living our lives. The decisions we make in PocZero are the biggest determinants of our health & wellbeing.

What We Do

PocZero exists to promote wellbeing through the design and delivery of hyper-local services and community ventures.

Our Ethos

Make your personal contribution no matter what. Seek fairness, equality & excellence. Connect with the humans around you. Have both feet in the village. See the world as a system - always.

Sarah Gill - Grow Organic


I had a real struggle when I started out my gardening idea to convince important people that it would make a real difference to people’s health and wellbeing. Most funders never saw gardening or the outdoors as a serious way of preventing and treating mental and physical wellbeing, especially when it’s delivered on people’s doorsteps and in the communities rather than in a clinic. I mean, health is such a postcode lottery.

My business isn't medical rocket science. It’s about creating opportunities, improving skills and helping people to lead healthier and brighter lives in the communities we work. Over the years, I’ve had to build up hundreds of case studies that absolutely prove that what we offer is effective. Now GP’s, carers, physicians and hospitals are socially prescribing us as an effective alternative treatment for their patients! What a turnaround.

So,for us its about replication and scaling our social enterprise and now we have a proven track record we are more determined than ever! When I saw PocZero on social media straight away it caught my attention because its social objectives were so close to ours. I couldn't wait to email them and find out more!

Kim Walton-Evans - Ignite Connector


I'm an explorer so I’ve come to today’s event on resilience to explore it seems. I’ve always done community based work and started working with adults who have learning disabilities and then people experiencing mental health. In September, I started work with Ignite Coventry whose aim is to influence how local government delivers services with the hope of seeing a shift in delivery and funding of services from mainly crisis to more early intervention support.

I attended PocZero’s event around resilience and I wasn’t disappointed! I wanted to see what other people's ideas and beliefs are around community involvement and resilience. It was great to hear the different approaches and ideas of like-minded people with a similar goal.

I'm really excited about what we can achieve by helping people to learn how they can help themselves.

Dionne Davis - Treble Clef Kidz


Dionne is the entrepreneur behind Treble Clef Kidz - a music tuition service targeted at absolute beginners. Dionne aims to build the confidence of young people by teaching them a new skill in an innovative way. She also incorporates literacy, numeracy and ICT within sessions to develop a child's functional skills indirectly.

Seeing as music tuition is such an exclusive environment for generally middle class families, Dionne wants to make this valuable activity accessible to those in low income families. "If I had one wish I would love to inject confidence and courage into the lives of others so they would have the ability to overcome daily challenges and lead fulfilled, purposeful lives.

My passion is to develop an approach that would allow individuals with multiple needs to be less dependent on statutory services and supported by individuals or groups that have been empowered in communities. Wish me luck!"

Paula - Active Parks coordinator, Birmingham


I work for active parks in Birmingham and very passionate about the positive impact any kind of physical activity can have on a person’s sense of worth and wellbeing, including both physical and mental health. It’s important because exercise has improved my own wellbeing, helped me out of postnatal depression and in the process I’ve lost 2 stone! I know it’s not easy to get out and motivate yourself, so that’s why it’s important to offer real support and encouragement.

I came to the Communities Resilience event not really knowing what to expect but hoping to find some like-minded people sharing ideas around health and wellbeing.

If I had one wish, I would like more sharing of ideas and resources in the pursuit of improving the nations wellbeing. There is a lot of duplication and lack of communication, and I would love for us all to somehow know what everyone else was doing and work in collaboration all the time.

Second Pedals - Mariam & Michelle


Second Pedals aim to increase the amount of people cycling by providing low cost bikes to members of the local community. They take bikes that are used and need fixing and make them good as new for sale. They aim to establish a monthly bike market in their area (these are already popular across Europe) and organise regular bike rides to encourage the community to use their bikes.

"We both love and enjoy getting on a bike on a sunny afternoon, taking in the country and breaking away from everyday stress. We don't count miles nor do we keep track of speed, it’s all about enjoying it at your own pace. We started Second Pedals because we believe that everyone should be able to afford and enjoy the benefits of having a bike. We enjoy being part of seedpod and find the sessions inspiring. A creative platform that enables us to focus, grow and develop to be the best version of ourselves and our vision."

Salim Khan - Birmingham City University


"My name is Salim Khan, born and bred in Sheffield within the Shire of York but currently living the dream in the second city. I am a University academic with a specialism in Applied Human Physiology, particularly neurophysiology. My academic role is wide and varied; in short I engage with a range of activities and responsibilities that fall within the domains of Research, PhD supervision; Teaching and Learning and International work. I was fortunate to receive an email from a colleague who was attending the Building Community Resilience event. I have much interest in communities, particularly as I engage with community based research. The event was a wonderful opportunity to meet with other like-minded individuals and organisations that also had a vested interest in communities and indeed community resilience.

The input and pace of delivery by all members of the PocZero team was excellent, ensuring audience engagement and participation thus resulting in collective insight into building communities and providing much ‘food for thought’. The opportunity to meet and discuss specific themed issues with a diverse audience was much appreciated and consequently has resulted in potential collaborations. I would like to take this opportunity to say well done and a heartfelt Thank You to the organising team at PocZero. Suffice to say I look forward to the next event!"

B:Fast - Jay & Jamie


Jay and Jamie are determined to change our perception of fad diets that never last. They work with participants on a complete lifestyle change rather than a focus on losing weight. B:Fast currently have a personal training gym in Hockley. Their concept of the B:FAST5 outlines the areas in which they create a life change, such as working on time constraints, balancing their lifestyle and improving physical and mental wellness. Jay and Jamie make sure everyone that signs up is connected to their 'WHY' and uses this to help anyone who might lose track during their journey.

Some of the visitors to their gym have mental health problems such as anxiety or depression, and this change in their lifestyle is extremely important for improving their health and well-being. We can’t wait to see where their venture will lead them!

Roots To Fruit - Jon Ensell


John’s mission is to create a free learning programme that empowers anybody between the age of 25 and 55 to find a career/set up a business within the horticultural industry. You can do this by gaining work experience at an existing nursery and garden centre, growing and selling plants and producing recycled compost for the local community. You’ll learn the practical skills needed to run a business or work within a retail environment, gaining an industry recognised qualification.

Just as importantly, Roots to Fruits offers a route into a healthy, outdoors lifestyle which can spread throughout the whole community by using John’s produce and allotments. "My intention is that as many people as possible use the facilities, become passionate about horticulture find a great career path and at the same time be a part of planning, developing and maintaining the wonderful facility we have in Oakdene Nurseries".

Welcome Change - Joanne & David


Welcome Change CIC currently includes a café, community centre and a charity shop and helps those in recovery from drug and alcohol dependency issues. They have found the perfect area to grow vegetables which they currently plan to name 'Mini Eden'. The produce from this green area can be used in their café and to deliver a 'meals on wheels' service which will help elderly residents in their community, not just through the meals, but through companionship, reducing isolation.

In the future they would like to teach children to grow vegetables and fruit and look after the wildlife that populates the area. You can see how the area of land will improve health and wellbeing their community in so many positive ways! We're very excited to be working with David Wootten and Joanne, helping them to "grow" their idea!

Hannah Greenwood - The Old Print Works


Hannah and her team have a vision to develop the Old Print Works into a space where artists can become members to work, or showcase their work, as well as somewhere that holds workshops and classes that members of the community can become involved in. Some of the spaces that they are planning to develop involve facilities for Textiles, Music, Wood and metalwork, Yoga and Pilates. The ambition is for the centre to become a community hub for Balsall Heath, bringing people together in positive activities which will increase health and wellbeing. It’s a fantastic site and we are confident the team are going to get the absolute most out of it!

Sharon Willis - Life Story App


Sharon Willis is passionate about allowing a ‘Looked After Child’ to store vital information linked to their past and present situation that they can easily understand and relate to. She recognises the lack of opportunity for these children to develop a sense of identity and understand more about why they are in care, as well as building their self-esteem and allowing them to focus on their skills, successes and what makes them unique.

Steve & Duncan - Transfurniture


Steve and Duncan renovate old furniture into a gorgeous ‘shabby chic’ look and sell it on. They are looking to teach others to renovate, holding workshops with those in recovery as well as young people at risk of substance abuse, creating a network of positive experiences and relationships.

They recognise the relationship between their personal transformation and the transformation they create with their furniture, giving people in recovery a sense of pride and building self esteem. They not only sell general items but even source and up-cycle items on request, as Duncan has experience in Antiques dealing and going to auctions.

The business partners are perfectly placed to give advice and support to those in recovery, as they've been there themselves in the past and so can relate to the struggle. They are really looking forward to learning who their target market is and producing furniture for their needs. We're incredibly impressed by their tenacity in finding new clients, creating and taking opportunities and overcoming adversity.

Christy Acton - 7 Miles High, Project Outside


Christy's company 7 Miles High is piloting a new scheme, Project Outside, with the help of Seedpod. He is aiming to enable people to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of experiencing the outdoors in their local neighbourhoods rather than travelling or going on a holiday. These activities are going to allow people to learn about each other and themselves, while at the same time joining up the community.

This creative venture will pilot a range of offerings to Birmingham schools so young people can enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits which will consequently help them deal with mental health, anger or behavioural issues. The scheme will be piloted at a Primary School shortly and then extended to other schools around the city.

The venture is also aiming to target adult groups who would benefit from being outside more, for a number of different reasons. Since SeedPod started, Christy has taken what was just an idea and legally registered it as a CIC, planned the delivery and financial element of the business and gained his first customer who is enabling him to pilot the project. We love seeing the way he's developed and continues to improve!

Gemma Ricketts - The Butterfly Foundation


Gemma Ricketts experience as a auxiliary nurse, combined with her foundation degree in Visual Arts has given her an idea to combine her two fields in one! She wants to use the recent trend for adult colouring books to hospitals and extend this to colouring and various art therapy groups within the community.

She wants to work with local artists and art students to produce images which could be based on retro posters, advertisements, products and Birmingham itself. These activities are a great way to stimulate memories for the elderly and decrease isolation for those with mental health or long term health issues. We hope that Gemma is able to realise her dream and turn her passion into a thriving social enterprise!

Jayde Lewis - Home to Home Calls


Jayde is running a befriending calls service, where befrienders phone users every day and provide friendly conversations in order to combat isolation and loneliness. As we all know, loneliness and isolation can have serious effects to well being which reduce a person's quality of life.

As the befrienders become closer to the client, they can then let them know important messages: doctor appointment reminders, community engagement and importantly signposting to services. The hope is that these people will, in turn, take a greater role joining in with the community; sharing information, supporting and empowering people by becoming ambassadors for activities in their area.

While Home to Home Calls is currently running nationally, Jayde has ambitions to pilot a community focused scheme in order to create a hyper-local service which feels more personable to the clients receiving the calls and can better connect them to others in their community.

Julie Holden - Tasty Waste


Tasty Waste is a social enterprise with the aim of teaching community groups how to cook using leftovers or food that would otherwise go to waste. You may have seen our tweet about the ugly looking potato that she made into a delicious meal! This will not only benefit those working within tight budgets, it will allow people to learn how to cook and gain important nutritional information at the same time.

While she is currently doing a great job delivering cooking classes in the community, she would like to extend this approach by setting up a weekly lunch club for the elderly in order to teach people basic skills and then invite them to come together to eat the food they have prepared.

“After 20 years teaching Food Technology, I set up Tasty Waste as a social enterprise with the aim of teaching different community groups how to cook, use leftovers, work within tight budgets, whilst providing nutritional information but with the emphasis on practical skills. It’s a great way to relax. But the key, I think, is not always doing it alone. Get your family or friends involved. Get your kids and your partner in the kitchen. Make it a social event.”