Annie Scrimgeour runs Parable Pod in Kinross, a social enterprise she describes as offering ‘counselling with conscience’.
Annie’s portfolio has included art and design, midwifery, ministry, community work, youth work, education support, creative learning, communications and media, and a few other things in between.
She has a background in education, which often meant working with children and young people who required support, and training as a counsellor seemed to be a natural progression.
The enterprise journey
Annie graduated with a BA with distinction in counselling from Glasgow Caledonian University. She then went on to complete training with Firstport in Edinburgh, which also gave her some initial funding to help set up Parable Pod Counselling CIC as a social enterprise.
Explaining the thinking behind choosing to become a social enterprise, Annie says: “Being a social enterprise allows people to access the services at full cost, in the knowledge that they will be helping others who can’t pay full costs. All profits go back into the business to provide free or low-cost services to those in need.
“I wanted to respond to needs in the community by providing professional, accessible and affordable pre-crisis counselling services for anyone in need.”
Annie’s own story inspires her belief in helping others.
She says: “It takes a great deal of courage to make a big change in life. Sometimes ill health or circumstances out with our control can take our life journey down a very different path than that which we had planned.
“My biggest achievement to date is having had the courage to embrace change, return to learning and respond to the needs of others professionally with compassion, care and conscience.”
Alongside what Annie describes as “a huge amount of support and encouragement” from her partner, she also received professional support from Firstport in Edinburgh and from GrowBiz.
She first found out about GrowBiz through social media and attended a Women’s Enterprise Networking event in Kinross.
Annie says: “I was fortunate enough to meet a variety of other people there who were at various stages of setting up and running businesses.
“I also attended a couple of learning sessions and have had support and advice meetings with members of the GrowBiz team.
“GrowBiz support is very personalised and highly responsive which is brilliant. No question is too strange or too big or small and they have a wealth of skills and expertise at their fingertips.
“I think like most small businesses, solo-working may be one of the more difficult things about running a business, but I’m fortunate to be growing a great network of support through GrowBiz and also through my voluntary work in the community.”
Looking to the future
In the future, Annie says that she would love to see ‘Parable Pods’ popping up in other locations to serve the needs of communities further afield and would be looking to recruit like-minded practitioners to ensure that every future Parable Pod is staffed by a team of counsellors with consciences.
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