A FAMILY support worker who spent over 20 years in the public sector before losing her job has told how she bravely took the plunge to start her own business.

Jacqui Jack successfully launched a range of play and learn sessions for youngsters after she accessed expert help from the Business Gateway advice service.

It marks a major shift in her career, moving from Inverclyde Council to her own enterprise, and she says that while it was a nerve-racking experience, it has paid off.

Greenock Telegraph:

Her 'Play & Learn' sessions provide a safe, stimulating and nurturing environment that encourages creativity, exploration and discovery.

The sessions support the five main areas of child development, including fine motor skills, communication and language.

Jacqui had always had an interest in how children learn and during her time at the council she set up a group for parents of children under five to ensure they knew about the importance of play and how it can support early brain development.

Having been made redundant from her role last June, and buoyed by the support of her peers, Jacqui was encouraged to set up her own company to offer help to families across the district.

She approached Business Gateway last summer for help and support and they were able to provide one-to-one support from a dedicated adviser.

Jacqui said: “Despite having extensive experience working with children and their families, taking the plunge to start my own business was really daunting. 

"I was anxious about setting up.

“My Business Gateway adviser provided very helpful advice throughout the process, and their support gave me the confidence to turn my vision into reality.

"The feedback I have had from parents and families has been really encouraging. It has helped me realise what a unique and quality service I can provide for young children.”

Through Business Gateway, Jacqui was able to learn crucial planning and marketing skills and she also secured around £1,000 in funding to buy a laptop which she uses to run her online booking process and manage enquiries.

Alexis Watson, an adviser from Business Gateway, said: “It’s been so rewarding to support Jacqui with her business venture.

"The positive reception from the local community is a testament to her hard work and commitment over these last few months.

"I’m sure her sessions will continue to prove popular with families across Inverclyde for years to come.”