Celebrating Female Social Entrepreneurs for International Women’s Day 2024

Rebecca Clacher – CEO, The Nest Holmfirth CIC

Winner – Best Start-Up Social Enterprise, Social Enterprise Yorkshire and Humber Awards 2023

Rebecca and her team have used their own lived experience to create a business that’s empowering and supportive for other local parents

Nurturing Parents, Building Communities

Rebecca, the Director and Manager of The Nest Holmfirth CIC (Community Interest Company) embarked on a mission to address the challenges and isolation parents face during the early years of their children’s lives. The story of The Nest showcases the transformative power of community connection, empowerment, and a commitment to mental wellbeing, and how female social entrepreneurs can make a real different in their communities.

A Birth from Personal Experiences

The inception of The Nest was deeply rooted in the personal experiences of its founders. The Directors, each having traversed their journeys through motherhood, understood firsthand the emotional hurdles, issues such as infant feeding difficulties, postnatal mental health challenges, and sense of isolation that can accompany parenting young children. Armed with a shared passion for change, they founded The Nest to become a haven for parents and caregivers alike.

In a study done by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 81% of women had experienced a maternal mental health problem. It is estimated that 10% of men experience postnatal depression. Research shows that experiencing mental health difficulties in the first year after birth can affect the bonding between parent and child. This can have an impact on the child’s intellectual, emotional, social and psychological development (Gajos and Beaver, 2017; Hogg, 2013).

A Hub for Holistic Support

The Nest’s mission revolves around supporting the wellbeing of parents with young children and focusing on early years development. The organisation has created a nurturing space on the top floor of Holmfirth Tech, a vibrant community building at the heart of the town. It is here that parents can find a myriad of classes, sessions, workshops, and support groups tailored to their needs.

They run classes, sessions, support groups and workshops, and also provide our space for private hire too. Current regular sessions include free drop-ins, mum and baby groups, breastfeeding support, dads group, messy and art play, music and dance, preschool Spanish, yoga, baby development classes and more. They have also run successful programmes of workshops, with topics such as maternal anxiety, postnatal physiotherapy, birth trauma, and babywearing.

The impact of The Nest’s offerings is profound and multifaceted:

  • Community Connection: The Nest serves as a hub where parents can connect, share their experiences, and form lasting friendships. Loneliness and isolation often accompany early parenthood, and The Nest endeavours to build a supportive village for parents.
  • Confidence Building: Through sessions and peer support, parents gain confidence in their parenting abilities. The supportive environment encourages self-assurance and fosters a sense of empowerment.
  • Mental Wellbeing: Recognising the prevalence of maternal and paternal mental health challenges, The Nest provides a space where parents can address their mental wellbeing in a nurturing and understanding setting.
  • Empowerment: The Nest goes beyond just offering support; it empowers parents to lead their own sessions, fostering their skills and confidence while contributing to the community.

Welcoming All Parents

One of The Nest’s core principles is inclusivity. Regardless of background, age, or parenting choices, all parents and caregivers of children under five are welcomed with open arms. This philosophy aims to break down judgment and create a safe space where parents can access the support they need without fear of bias or discrimination.

Income Generation

To ensure it continues to be a financially sustainable business, The Nest will fund their activities using income generated from paid classes, hiring out its space, café sales, as well as grants.

The Award’s Impact

Rebecca, Director and Manager said: “It’s already fantastic being a finalist. We have worked so, so hard to get The Nest off the ground. There’s been a lot of sweat, and a lot of tears! It’s certainly a rollercoaster getting a start upup and running, and winning this award is huge for us. 

Inspiration from Other Social Enterprises

The Nest finds inspiration from the wealth of local social enterprises that share their passion for community and wellbeing by working with and learning from organisations including:

Eden’s Forest CIC a Community Interest Company that provides a variety of woodland-based programmes for children and adults

Hunion CIC – a small Community Interest Company hosting art workshops around the Kirklees area

Arts for Health CIC – providing a range of arts and creative opportunities to support a better quality of life inclusively for people in the Holme Valley.

Fair and Funky CIC – delivering creative and interactive sustainability workshops and events to schools and community groups

The Nest’s commitment to its mission is buoyed by these examples, reaffirming its dedication to making a lasting difference in the lives of parents and their young children.

The Nest Holmfirth CIC is more than a physical venue; it’s a lifeline for parents seeking support, empowerment, and a sense of belonging. As it continues to nurture families and build a nurturing community, Rebecca’s vision for The Nest echoes the age-old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

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