Lockdown Birthday – bOunceT – from 2017 to now, and for another 4 years!

Some of the bOunceT Team (those not working from home – but socially distanced between perspex glass and plastic screens!) Left-Right: Shai (Marketing Officer), Nadia (Play Resource Officer OT), Francesca (OT), Alicia (Play Leader), Naomi (Play Resource Officer OT), Callum (OT Lead)
Oh and we can not forget Julia (Play Resource Officer OT) who joined us virtually all the way from Canada! Julia is one of the graduate Occupational Therapists working with bOunceT, but with a twist – from across the pond!

Introduction from Callum (Founder & Executive Director)

Hi Everyone! I founded bOunceT in April 2017 (originally branded as Forth Valley Rebound Therapy Service CIC – logo below) when I was finishing up University as an Occupational Therapy student. I had ‘trialed and tested’ the idea from summer 2016 at our very first base in STEP (picture below) when I had the overriding passion and motivation to run some inclusive activity sessions locally. I worked for ENABLE Scotland part-time supporting children and young people to do fun activities around Stirling area. I remember thinking at the time “why is there nothing else locally that I could take XXX to?”. It felt like I was going to the same ‘local spots’ across the area. I knew a typical shift would be different if there were more services and/or places to go that was not only fun, but benefited these individuals health and wellbeing. Although I was only 23 years old, I felt I had a wealth of experience and the support of many organizations and funders locally to do take on this ‘project’! Little did I know this somewhat small project would turn into a registered social enterprise, scaling up fast and employing various staff! Well, that is a lie, I think I always had the ambition for this to happen – but turning it into a reality was always my dream! I often ‘fire ahead’ with business plans and start projects as soon as I can (typical entrepreneur!) but I do not take the time to reflect on the progress I have actually made. I remember in 2017 thinking if I could even afford to keep the service running by paying the rent and ‘even some’ of my time then I would have ‘made it’! Well, now not only am I paying myself a salary as an Occupational Therapy Lead, I have two full-time core Occupational Therapy staff, an additional 2 full-time short-term contracted Occupational Therapy graduates, a Play Leader & Marketing Officer full-time on the payroll as well! This is in addition to our part-time Admin Assistant & Cleaners. It is not just good luck that has got me here, it is bloomin hard work and determination…but my issue is that I am always a year or two ahead of myself! So, I saw us being here a few years ago…and in my head we are at a different stage of business already! I am excited to share a general reflection about our growth to date, whilst sharing some of our ambitious plans to become a sustainable business that can scale up!

Forth Valley Rebound Therapy Service CIC – our ‘original’ brand
Unit 115 – our ‘original’ therapeutic play room in Stirling… You can see here the main focus really is only the trampoline. It was a great, but small, room we had 1 year worth of fun in!

bOunceT: 2017 – now

bOunceT (Bounce OT) – our ‘re-brand’ happened in 2018
Our hoist in our new therapeutic play room (Unit 111)
Our ‘Sensory Corner’ – the egg chair is soon to be replaced by a pop-up Sensory Integration swing – yay!

I have had various different people support me, and bOunceT, throughout the years – this has allowed bOunceT to get to the stage we are at now. Some of these people are still involved now, even as a Director on our Board or Advisor within a subcommittee to the Board.  It has been one heck of a ride – with no sign of the ride stopping anytime soon! From the ‘business world’ to the ‘OT world’ there has been a lot to consider, prioritise, and complete…but I would not go back and change anything at all.

One of the main highlights (for me and for bOunceT) was when the First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon) came to visit our therapy room during OT Week 2019 (see video below)! We were only told the evening before that she was going to come, and there were loads of press/camera’s there (even BBC & CNN)! … what a day that was! We had so much fun – Nicola even got up on the trampoline for a bounce!

To no surprise, our biggest challenge in business so far has been COVID and its very long lasting effect – however, to be fair, this has also provided us with a whole host of new opportunities (e.g. by piloting a few new projects we might not have otherwise been able to). In addition, COVID has really highlighted how every business – no matter their legal structure as a charity or non-profit organisation – need to have core income from sales. Thank goodness for the grants we have been able to get during these challenging times, but I would hate to think we would be out of business – with many staff unemployed and our families unsupported – had we not been able to adapt our business model and be ‘topped up’ with these grants. So, we (or at least I – being the one to lead the organisation) need to embrace a ‘sustainable and business development’ focus from now on!

bOunceT – for another 4 years (at least!)

Thanks to recent funding from the Scottish Government, I am really looking forward to being the main staff member to lead forward the development of bOunceT – both the Occupational Therapy ‘part’ and the Social Enterprise / business ‘part’! Of course, we will continue with our flagship Inclusive & Meaningful Play project for the next 12 months (then hopefully get some form of an extension for this from our generous funders – The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland & The Robertson Trust). Also, I hope our membership model will take off and this can be one of the easiest way families access our services on a continual basis – either via session pass’ or as a monthly pass!

SERVICE DEVELOPMENTS

Our membership model was introduced at the start of the year with many families getting involved in our 6 month trail! We have set the membership up in a way that we hope will caters to everyone’s needs such as having family led or having a play leader help whenever needed. To find out more about our membership model and/or how to become a member, click here! The next stage of this would be to offer a face-to-face and online OT On Call service!

For those families who wish to receive more ‘Specialist’ occupational therapy services and/or assessments and interventions, we could support this too by ‘doing more’ as we become more experienced, and recruit in the experience needed from other Independent OT’s! This would give bOunceT a nice ‘range’ of Universal, Targeted & Specialist support options for different families!

‘Meaningful’ branding

To keep things consistent as we grow, whilst keeping things consistent with the core values of Occupational Therapy, we have launched a few new features to bOunceT – available to stakeholders either as a member benefits or subscription:

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Meaningful Mail is our monthly mailshot – we also plan to share more detailed newsletters 3 times per year too.
Meaningful Meetings is something we tried pre-COVID and it went really well. We would love to be able to get this back up and running for our families ASAP – I think there will always be an element of online and face to face…instead of one or the other!

PRODUCTS

Other aspects to our ‘Meaningful series’ are new products – to be launched later this year.

  1. Meaningful Moments
These will be our own hard copy, and downloadable, resources that break down play ideas and strategies for inclusive and meaningful movement within our therapy sessions and/or at home. I think the tagline for this will be “Make meaningful moments with your family by doing……”

2. Meaningful Training (branding TBC)

We are going to launch a new CPD and learning pathway – from cost effective, online training by OT staff for parents and carers…to allowing organisations and workplaces to ‘certify’ staff as Play Leaders in rebound therapy…we have it covered! Our Play Leader CPD training course has been trialed already with some schools across Stirling Council & Glasgow City Council – what a hit it has been and we are already adapting the content based on feedback so far!

PODCAST

Meaningful Conversation – our new, upcoming Podcast on Spotify & Apple Music!

4 we did things to celebrate our 4th birthday…

As we have been leading up to our 4th birthday, we have been doing 4 ‘things’ to celebrate.

  1. Competition on social media – Click HERE to see our Facebook post about this give away opportunity!

2. Pictures of some staff at 4 years old – Click HERE to see our Instagram post about this!

3. Thank You (Video) created by bOunceT for all stakeholders who have supported us over the last 4 years – Click HERE to see our YouTube post about this!

4. THIS blog … + we finished early on Tuesday for a 1/2 day off work! 🙂

Our 4th Birthday party!

We celebrated our 4th birthday with as many of the team as we could over the weekend leading up to our actual birthday – of course, we still kept it as safe as possible.

I was being super nice and got all staff a ‘sensory goodie bag’ – take a look below what is in the bag…
There are some nice goodies in here – something to taste, feel, hear, see and smell (the So Sleepy bath foam from Tropic was something all the team loved!)

Finally, the pictures below show what we have displayed within the corridor of our office – its like a ‘timeline’ of our birthday milestones, starting with a picture of Jordan and I from 2018 when we turned 1 years old as a Community Interest Company!

1st Birthday Photo – Office display (Jordan – Business Development Manager – & me when we first moved into Unit 111, our second therapeutic play room)
2nd Birthday Photo – Office display (Chloe – OT – in our therapeutic play room)
3rd Birthday Photo – Office display (Board of Directors meeting + Francesca & Naomi)

So, that is it for now. If you have managed to stay reading this long then well done! Thank you again to everyone who has helped us get to this birthday – especially considering we nearly closed around our 3rd birthday when the first COVID lockdown hit us. On behalf of the team, and our service users, THANK YOU AND PLEASE CONTINUE TO SUPPORT US!

Here’s to another 4 years…at least!

Callum 🙂

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