Through running Everyday People and working with business owners, I get to find out about many wonderful people and organisations who offer practical support for small businesses. I was keen to share the array of help that’s available, so I created ‘Yorkshire Business Champions‘, a directory of small business support.
While doing some research I came across a workspace in Doncaster called Helm. With the magic of branding and content, I instantly got a good feeling about the place.
Helm host a monthly event called Doncaster.Digital, where creatives, digital folk and entrepreneurs catch up and listen to talks from fellow business owners. This January the speaker was a Learning and Development Coach called Kurt Edwald Lindley, who was speaking about defining our own personal definition of success. This interested me and I thought it might others, so I shared it. As a result, Kurt and I got chatting on social media, then on the phone.
We instantly hit it off, we share a similar trait, an eagerness to share what we’ve learnt. While chatting, Kurt was waxing lyrical about the place where he worked (Helm) and the people he worked with. It sounded like the 80’s TV show ‘Cheers’ where everyone knows your name, and a place where people were going to extra lengths to help each other out.
Intrigued, I asked Kurt how this culture had come about? He told me the story of the guy who runs Helm, Liam Swift. I wanted to meet Liam and see for myself what was happening there.
I knew Helm ran a session every Monday morning at 7:00 am called ‘Getting Shit Done’. I have loads of shit that needs doing; I wake at 5:00 am most mornings so I thought I’d go to that!
I arrived a little before everyone else, so it gave me the perfect opportunity to chat with Liam. I’m not sure how he’s going to feel about me saying this, but if I was his Mum I’d be so proud!
Liam has had his head screwed on since he was at least 14 and he has a massive heart. Alongside Helm, Liam runs a branding company called ‘Attract’. Attract’s strapline (for the want of a better phrase) is
“Make Them Feel on Top of the World”
Can you imagine if everyone strove for that?
The building was originally the home of a start-up (Apothecary 87) that Liam worked on. Apothecary 87 instantly took off and quickly outgrew the space, so Liam decided to use the building to create a community:
“where entrepreneurs could work together, learn from each other and help each other grow.”
These are not just words on Helm’s website. Liam and the Helm community members live and breathe this. On the wall is a flower painted by a member of Helm, Liam Glover, a talented CAD Designer and gifted artist. The flower details how each member can help and what they need a hand with. I was chuffed to see I’m able to help Liam. He feels he’s not so good at self-promoting and sharing what Helm has to offer.
Not only is a Helm a place where ambitious entrepreneurs can thrive, but it’s also a hub for the local community.
Helm is home to an inspirational woman called Angela Cousins who teaches children who need extra help and often have been let down by the UK education system. While I was at Helm a co-worker Aaron Jack was running a oversubscribe coding workshop for some of these kids.
Another organisation that calls Helm their home is b:friend. b:friend pair volunteers with isolated older neighbours in the community.
After the session, I managed to have a quick chat with a few people.
“People are unconditionally positive and helpful”
Liam Glover (AKA Hairy Bastard ) the artist who created the flower, told me that the ‘Getting Shit Done‘ session really helped him focus on what needs doing, also giving him a feeling of being accountable to actually get things done!
“It’s also great to know that you have people who will go out of their way to help, or even just listen if you need to run your thoughts passed someone.“
I then got a chance to catch up with Kurt, who told me:
“Helm is a home for good! It’s more than a desk, a plug socket and WiFi. Helm is a community, a place of shared interest and investment, where we have fun in our personal and collective endeavours.”
Kurt also opened my eyes further to the impact places like Helm can have, and the importance of spreading the word.
“It was only by luck that I found Liam and Helm. So yes maybe whilst Liam is awesome at creating a space where businesses can grow, but he needs support spreading the word so Helm can help more people like me, who would otherwise be working alone in their living rooms or hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop.”
I asked Arron Jack an App Developer, why he joined Helm.