AFTER a whirlwind year of lockdowns and unprecedented stress for many, friends Nicola Green and Verity Hart launched a new Manchester-based social enterprise, designed to help people access mental health services and support through traumatic times. After The Storm went live in the run-up to Christmas.
How did you get started, and what inspired your business?
The idea for After The Storm came to me at the start of the first lockdown. I was struck by how difficult it can be to find your way to credible, useful resources online. I realised that so many people who never had to worry about certain challenges would be impacted. This could be financial difficulties or rising alcohol consumption, right through to anxiety, relationship breakdowns and bereavement. Also, there were lots of people who put on a bit of weight through lockdown or maybe they felt a career change was needed.
How is it working now that you’ve launched?
It’s going well, we’re getting regular service providers listing with us and a good level of web traffic. We are building up our followers on social media platforms, too, which is exciting as it means we are reaching more people daily. There are currently four of us, and we pick up different elements of the what is needed. Nicola is looking after bringing service providers on to our hub, Carl Johnson is supporting the technical side of things, Louise Welsby is our digital marketing guru and I pull it all together and work with our partners to bring After The Storm to life.
What is a ‘normal’ day like for you?
So far, normal doesn’t exist! As a team we are all still working full-time in our ‘day jobs’ so I think it’s a bit different for all of us.
However, after dropping my girls off at their various schools I get an hour in, determining what needs to go out to social media, reviewing our content strategy and now checking to see if we have any new listings for verification.
After that I am switching to my ‘business change delivery lead’ hat for a major Manchester-based retailer at 9am through to 5.30pm, maybe juggling the odd email to coordinate blogs and website improvements. Then at 5.30pm, I switch back over to pick up anything that has been missed through the day. We have a weekly team call wherever we can fit it in to keep driving progress. Most of us break to do teatime and spend a little family time.
I spend most evenings doing research, building the business strategy and writing and editing content, as required.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
The variety, reviewing the designs and making sure that everything we create and publish leaves people feeling good.
Also, the varied amount of people that I have spoken to that are so supportive of the concept. It feels like we are doing something that will positively impact people.
I also love that people are reaching out to us and wanting to share their stories to help break down the taboos that exist.
And how about your least favourite part?
I think it’s juggling it alongside the day job. I look forward to the day where I can step fully into the business.
How do you see the business growing and developing in the future?
We aim to be the UK’s most comprehensive and exhaustive online hub for services and resources for individuals looking for help.
But After The Storm also wants to work with all the organisations out there doing great work to help promote their efforts, and work to breakdown stigmas and lift taboos around issues that the majority of people experience at some point in their lives.