Gill says “I set up Phoenix Health and Wellbeing in 2013 after a long career in marketing and strategic planning. After nursing my terminally ill mother, I retrained as a complementary therapist.
I volunteered at St Gemma’s Hospice alongside starting my own therapy business and saw first-hand how powerful therapies could be. I also realised that the people who could benefit the most from these therapies were the ones who could least afford to access them. That’s why the proceeds from our client treatments are used to subsidise treatments for people with chonic pain or low incomes.”
Who will it help/who has it helped already?
“Phoenix Health and Wellbeing offers counselling, acupuncture and massage therapies to people with chronic health issues and low incomes. We take patient referrals from medical and health care professionals.
The people that are referred to us present with a variety of conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, depression and anxiety, to name but a few. Regardless of their health issues, most have complex needs, low self-esteem and experience social isolation.
Phoenix offers these clients a nurturing environment where they can feel genuinely cared for and valued. We now support about 500 people each year.”
“I set Phoenix up to be completely independent of statutory funding. We operate a social enterprise business model. Anyone can come along to Phoenix for massage, acupuncture or counselling.
We visit businesses with workplace wellbeing offerings and provide employee assistance. The proceeds from these activities all go into our charitable fund to offer support to our referred clients.
This approach allows people who don’t have much time but have spare funds, to support those with health issues by improving their own or their workplace’s health and wellbeing.”
What have you learnt? Any challenges?
“The hardest part of this journey has been spreading the word about Phoenix and raising awareness. Help often comes from the least expected quarters. I have learnt never to judge any opportunity or person but to face everything with and open and appraising mind.”
“My aim is to set up satellite Phoenix centres in deprived areas of Leeds. I am aware that many people could benefit from our support but can’t get into the city centre – sometimes due to cost sometimes due to health constraints. It would be wonderful to off more locally accessible support.”
What advice, contacts or resources would help you?
“At the moment, I need help with raising awareness of Phoenix Health and Wellbeing. We get wonderful client testimonials and provide a really high quality of service to our referred and non-referred clients but we need help spreading the word.
It would be really good if I could speak at business conferences to spread the word about our workplace wellbeing products. By reducing mental and physical ill health in the workplace we may be able to prevent some people’s health from deteriorating and them from becoming referred clients!
We always need funds and help completing funding applications would be very valuable. It would also be a dream come true if we could be a business’ charity of the year.”
Why we’re sharing these stories
An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in the North!