Alex Leighton’s SYST Story
Shropshire Youth Support Trust’s (SYST) mission is to empower young, disadvantaged people into sustainable self-employment or employment. We also use this as a tool to help raise self-esteem, self -value and build aspirations.
The idea of starting a business can be daunting, especially if you’re starting. We help with the process of starting up through our ASYSTED Programme, which aims to provide the beneficiary with a bespoke journey to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to run a business. One of the charities’ beneficiaries has been using the most from SYST’s services.
In July, Alex Leighton first joined SYST on their ASYSTED Programme and has hopes to start her own Embroidery Business. Threadway Embroidery is the creation of Alex, who founded the company to create a range of bespoke products and services.
Alex’s journey has been filled with numerous loops and hurdles, completing large amounts of our programme in such a short space and time, even acquiring a business mentor. The eagerness and dedication are something the charity loves to see from its beneficiaries. Jason Fullwood, a member of the SYST team, has worked closely with and supported Alex on her journey so far. He said the following: “I am amazed at the commitment from Alex. So far, she has completed most of our Core Modules and has taken advantage of the sub-modules based on various business start-up support. Additionally, she has taken part in our wellbeing and mindset support”.
Chief Executive of the charity, Richard Nuttall, added, “A vital part of the ASYSTED Programme part is the opportunity for the ASYSTED Business, in this case, Alex, to have a mentor allocated to her to give her ongoing business and personal holistic support. This support helps greatly with building the confidence and self-esteem of the young people we support. We are very grateful for the support of our volunteer mentors, most of whom are from locally based businesses”.
Alex has also presented to the charities’ own dragon den style panel, called the ASYSTORs. In this mentoring and funding project, the charities beneficiaries can gain valuable insight and a grant, if necessary, from local and well established Shropshire and Telford based businesses. The ASYSTORs project is managed and led by Marketing expert and Trustee, Mike Paul but her journey is far from over, as she intends to return to the panel in 2022 for funding. During these panel sessions, the beneficiary gets feedback on their business. Also, steps are suggested, including allocation of a specialist mentor/consultant to the ASYSTED Business.
Speaking of her experience with SYST, Alex has said the following: “Working with SYST to start my business had been a brilliant opportunity for me. The workshops I’ve done have taught me a lot about the logistics of running a business and kept me motivated on my business journey. SYST were able to set me up with a mentor, and through this, I’ve been given even more support that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to access.”
Anthony Morris-Eyton, The High Sheriff of Shropshire, kindly visited SYST and Alex was present to meet him. She was reflecting on her experience.
“Meeting the High Sheriff of Shropshire was a great opportunity. I was able to learn a lot about the work he does and how he can help local charities like SYST and share my story with him. I decided to start Threadway Embroidery because I’d recently become unemployed and wanted my next steps to be something I’m truly passionate about. I chose embroidery because I’ve always loved creative work and had some embroidery experience. I would not have progressed as much as I have without the support from SYST. Threadway Embroidery specialises in personalised gifts, and I love being able to talk through ideas with all my customers.”