Aspire to succeed

Pauline became unemployed after working in the hospitality industry for over 20 years, she saw an opportunity to fulfil her dream of running her own cafe with the help of the Spire View Housing.

In 2018 Pauline became unemployed after working in the hospitality industry for over 20 years. So when a new state of the art Community Hub with a full commercial kitchen was built by her local housing association, she saw an opportunity to fulfil her dream of running her own cafe.

With the help of close family members to create a business plan, Pauline approached Spire View Housing Association with her proposal to operate a community café at the Roystonhill Community Hub. As negotiations got underway and the prospect of becoming self-employed became more of a reality, Pauline became aware that she would need to develop her digital skills to establish and run a successful business venture. Pauline told us that at this time she had very limited digital skills.

Through local advertisements by Spire View Housing Association and discussions with staff members, Pauline discovered Aspire Digital Space, a project funded by the Power Up initiative. She quickly signed up for digital skills classes that were on offer at the Roystonhill Community Hub and was one of the very first attendees at the sessions.

Following a skills assessment she learnt how to use Gmail which then led on to developing her understanding of Google suite products. She also learned how to download useful applications that would eventually benefit her business.

As Pauline’s confidence continued to grow, she decided she would open her new café at the end of February 2020. In the run up to the launch she continued to develop her digital skills through the Aspire Digital Space project with a focus on digital design. By learning how to use Adobe Spark, she was able to create her very own personalised flyers and menus which she used in the launch of the ‘Hub on the Hill Café’.

Pauline was quickly realising that learning digital skills had many benefits, alongside attending classes about basic online safety, Pauline accessed the support on offer to understand online banking. She became familiar with online accounting software and is now a competent user of the Invoices Maker App.

The Hub on the Hill café opened its doors towards the end of February 2020 and was just building up momentum when the Covid-19 lockdown came into force. This was a big blow for Pauline, but she was determined to support her community. She worked very closely with Spire View Housing Association to write a funding bid to the Lottery which would enable her to provide hot meals to local residents who were vulnerable or isolated. Between April and October, she prepared and distributed over 3,000 hot meals, working in partnership with the Royston Covid Response Group and other local volunteers.

Pauline was at the heart of the community response to Covid and as we entered the recovery phase, she was able to reopen her café whilst still providing hot meals to the local community. Business has picked up again quickly and Pauline keeps the community updated (and entertained) on social media.

Looking to the future, Pauline is already considering another business venture and is exploring the possibility of opening a community shop. There’s space in the hub to make this happen and she wouldn’t like to see it go to waste! She plans to take on volunteers in the café in the near future and will recommend that they attend the Aspire Digital Space project.

Pauline acknowledges the important part that the digital skills classes played in helping her achieve her dream ‘There’s no way I could have done all the digital things that I needed to do to establish my business without this project. I made my own flyers and menus and I am now very active on social media. I deal with emails confidently and can prepare and send invoices too’.