Self-Reliant Groups: local friends, thriving together
There are many ways to build self-reliance – you don’t have to start your own business! Perhaps you’d rather focus on getting back to work, by boosting your skills or confidence? Or if you can’t work, perhaps you need something else: a new focus, a support network, or a creative outlet?
That’s the thinking behind our Self-Reliant Groups (SRGs). They’re small teams of likeminded people, dotted across South Wales and the West of England. Members come from all walks of life, with many looking for a fresh start after facing some kind of setback like ill health or family troubles.
So how does it all work?
It’s about collaboration. In each group, members work together on some kind of shared activity. There’s no hard and fast rule, but it’s usually something that generates an income – like selling handmade gifts or cakes, or providing a service like DIY or gardening.
Members make that decision. Then a bit like a regular business, they turn up and get to work! Doing as much as they can, for a few hours every week.
Then slowly, the money builds up. Most groups generate enough to cover their own running costs and pay for new materials. And if anything is left over, members decide how to use it.
For example, they might:
- Share the money between members, as a top-up income.
- Set up a lending fund, so members can apply for a loan – interest-free.
- Donate the money to a local cause or charity.
- Use the money for a special occasion, like a group lunch or afternoon tea.
Every group does it their own way. But whatever they decide, the real benefit to members is in the experience.
It’s challenging, fun, empowering…and as this video shows, it can bring a transformation in more ways than one.
Rhondda group Just Girls Allowed is a great example.
Members share an interest in handicrafts like embroidery and crochet, so they set out to make small gifts and keepsakes for sale at local events. From this, they’ve built up a sum of money to become self-funding.
And in the process, members have found a whole new lease of life. Some have found the self-belief to take the next step forward – leaving the group, to take up training or get back to work. While others stay for the duration, because the group is its own reward: a place where they’ve found confidence, friendship and a new sense of purpose.
To quote one of our members, Christine French:
“Through this group, I’ve found that I am someone. I can do things. I can stand on my own two feet. All the things I’ve learnt and found out about myself have got me to a very happy place in my life. And along the way, I have made some fabulous friends.”
If you’re looking for a local support network, maybe we should talk?
Most groups take in new members as soon as a place opens up, and we have plans to start new groups across the region too. So if you’re ready to talk about joining – or even starting – a group, we’d love to hear from you.
Call Purple Shoots on 07726 599 267 or send us a message below.
Looking for more information?