Ongo’s business start-up project, Sparc, which supports local people to set up their own company or work for themselves, has seen its first success.
After finding themselves out of work during the COVID-19 pandemic, Trevor Donoghue and Sean Shadlock, friends of 25 years, began volunteering with Ongo’s homelessness service to paint a number of flats.
Both have qualifications and experience in the area, so from here they signed up to the Sparc project to look into the potential of setting up their own painting and decorating company. A business plan was then created, goals and finances arranged, and T&S Decorators was born.
The company, which is predominantly based in Scunthorpe, officially started trading in October 2020. So far, the two have completed private and commercial work for a number of clients.
Sean Shadlock, business partner of T&S Decorators, said: “Before working with Ongo I was in the worst place of my life, out of work and sofa surfing. This along with a pandemic to compete with meant I was stuck, with limited opportunities to get my life back on track.
“It was at this time Trevor got furloughed and we decided to start painting and decorating together. We then got involved with Ongo and from there our lives have just been turned around.
“They helped us make a plan and set everything up so we could have a proper business, and I cannot thank them enough. They’re still there if we need them for advice or mentoring and they’re helping us to get new customers too.
“If there’s anyone out there that wants to start their own business but doesn’t know where to start, or finds it all too complicated, please get in touch with Ongo, it could change your life.”
This year, Sean also said goodbye to sofa surfing as he moved into a new Ongo home, and is working toward gaining his driving licence so the business can expand across the region.
Within six months, T&S Decorators is aiming for a constant stream of pre-scheduled work; and after one year they’d like to be able to employ others, including apprentices to train with them. Then, their main goal will be to apply for larger contracts with local building firms.
Sparc was set up in 2018 to offer personalised guidance to local people as they create and develop new business ideas from initial research to full operation.
The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fud (ESF).
- Ongo puts up £20,000 to support local communities
- Ongo: What we’ve achieved in 2020
- Jo’s story: How Ongo saved my life
Jill Dickson, manager of Ongo Sparc, said: “This story is absolutely fantastic and is one our whole team is extremely proud of.
“It’s exactly why we come to work and to see the difference it has made to two, genuinely hard-working people is just great.
“Most of the clients we help come to us with no confidence and think setting up on their own is just too difficult.
“We’re here to help you through it and give you the skills you need to make sure not only do you set up, you make a profit and are successful.”
Dickson added: “We tailor all our support to you, so if you have an idea and the passion to drive it forward, please get in touch with a member of our team. We’d love to help.”
Image: Trevor Donoghue and Sean Shadlock, T&S Decorators
Are you a social housing professional? Sign up for a FREE MEMBERSHIP to upload news stories, post job vacancies, and connect with colleagues on our secure social feed.