My ‘Why’ of Becoming a Social Entrepreneur

In April 2015 I started my journey on a path to the unknown as a social entrepreneur. I was one of the lucky ones who, after entering a competition run by Beyond Business at the Bromley by Bow Centre, was shortlisted from over 100 candidates to pitch my idea for N.ableD in front of private investors from Investec Bank. Thankfully, I didn’t have long to find out their answer and the rest, as they say, is history. I owe everything to Beyond Business who have been running their yearly competition to find people who, like me, want to turn their social enterprise business idea into a reality.

I see N.ableD as my chance to put right for others what went horribly wrong for my dad. For those of you who haven’t heard this story yet, my reasons for starting N.ableD are because of the following true story which I will share with you here.

Three years ago my father was hospitalised for an existing medical condition that required him to stay on a ward as an inpatient for 3 months. Prior to this admission, he was working in a respectable job for a local government office and was living a comfortable life in his rented flat in South London. Around the same time my dad was hospitalised, I had already decided to change careers to work in the health and fitness industry.

By the time my dad was discharged from hospital he could no longer walk without losing his balance and falling over. His speech was slurred and the people who didn’t know us would always ask me whether he had had a stroke. His rapid decline was an awful thing to witness and I was horrified by the number of changes I saw in his overall mobility, mental well-being and confidence.

The medication he was prescribed on the ward for his existing medical condition seemed to be playing a huge part in his deterioration as these changes only started happening once he was in hospital and being medicated. The staff on the ward told me that his brain scan had shown loss of white matter, suggestive of early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. What I couldn’t understand though was how someone could go from being able to walk, work in a government office and able to use public transport to then 3 month’s later being unable to work again or walk without falling to the floor.

Several months passed by and my father was now under the care of Adult Social Services as he needed round the clock care at home from double-up carers who visited him four times a day, 7 days a week. My father never left the flat, other than to go to hospital in a patient ambulance. He wasn’t offered any additional support in the community to access services nor was he eligible for any home visits by the NHS community physiotherapy team because the cause of his rapid deterioration was still under investigation.

So I took it upon myself to find my dad his own private physiotherapist who, for £100 an hour, willingly came to his aid. I knew we couldn’t keep paying that kind of money indefinitely but at the same time I had to do something to help him from losing all his mobility and independence! Sadly my dad just wasn’t enjoying being passively mobilised and wanted to be left alone. I had to respect my dad’s wishes even though I knew it would be a bad idea in the longer-term. The physiotherapist said they would be happy to show me the exercises that I could do with him but my dad was having none of it.

I later enquired with Age UK about chair-based exercises and was given a number to call for Falls Prevention. After phoning them, I was told that my father would be expected to attend group classes in the community as they didn’t offer home-based support. I tried to explain that my father couldn’t get out of his flat because he couldn’t use public transport nor was their a ramp on the estate to get him down to street level (whenever I had to take him to hospital the ambulance staff had to use an electric stair-climber and there was only 1 of these available in the borough). The Falls Prevention team told me that it would be up to the community NHS physiotherapy team to visit my dad at home instead.

So here we were, full circle. And here it was that the seed for N.ableD was planted.

From what I could tell there was no service available, that even the GP was aware of, that sent experienced, knowledgeable and trusted exercise professionals into a person’s home who could work on improving that person’s strength, mobility and confidence – all of which is easily achievable once a person starts the journey of becoming more physically active. The situation I had found were that the services that already existed either had an excessive waiting list, wanted to charge around £100 per hour, didn’t return calls or worse still, simply refused to assess the person.

What upset me even more than this was that it is so well documented in scientific journals, the media and on the NHS’ own website about the importance of physical activity in keeping both the mind and body healthy. I just couldn’t understand why preventative measures, such as helping someone to stay physically active and independent at home, weren’t being taken seriously as a way to ensure that a person’s health and well-being was maintained and their risk of developing further debilitating medical conditions was significantly reduced (e.g. Did you know the chances of someone developing osteoarthritis is reduced by a whopping 83% if they are physically active? Statistics all readily available on the NHS website)

And yet the same month my service was being brought into existence, my father was being moved into a 24-hour nursing-led facility – the place where he would now begin paying nearly £1000 per month in fees. By this point, he had deteriorated so badly that he wasn’t even opening his eyes, speaking or eating. He was quite frankly, dying.

Now it is my mission as N.ableD’s founder and director to help those people who are struggling at home with their health who are looking for an intervention. We are a team of specialist exercise professionals, physiotherapists and nutritional therapists who work collaboratively to support those who are hidden away in our communities who want the help to become well again – all by making positive lifestyle changes. Starting the journey of becoming more physically active and making the right food and drink choices will certainly go a long way to ensure that both you and your loved one’s mobility, well-being and independence is preserved…well into the future.

Written by Nadine Denneth, Founder & Director of N.ableD

13 Comments

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  3. Posted September 12, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

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  4. Posted September 12, 2016 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Really Appreciate this post, how can I make is so that I receive an alert email every time you make a fresh article?

  5. Posted September 13, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the feedback – you can join our mailing list as an option (I usually send them out once every 2 months or so) as the content I create goes to my mailing list subscribers first.

    http://www.nabled.org.uk/newsletter/

    Thanks again

  6. Posted September 12, 2016 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Thankyou for all your efforts that you have put in this. very interesting information.

  7. Posted September 13, 2016 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your site? My website is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would really benefit from a lot of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Cheers!

  8. Posted September 13, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Hi there, thanks for asking first – I appreciate that. I guess it all depends on what your website is promoting – if your content is related to medication or pills, i.e. anything made in a laboratory for commercial purposes, I would not be keen to be affiliated with this.

  9. Posted September 13, 2016 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and all. Nevertheless think about if you added some great pictures or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and video clips, this website could definitely be one of the very best in its niche. Good blog!

  10. Posted September 13, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Hi there, thank you for your suggestions about the video clips, etc. I agree with you and am in the process of creating a webinar so people can see the person behind the blogs. I’m glad you enjoy the content, really appreciate the feedback. Nadine

  11. Posted September 14, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

  12. Posted September 16, 2016 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    I am speaking with our web developer to resolve this. Thanks for the feedback!

  13. Posted September 15, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting subject , thankyou for putting up.

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