Wee Seeds picked to receive support from Big Issue Invest’s Power Up Scotland scheme

Wee Seeds picked to receive support from Big Issue Invest’s Power Up Scotland scheme

One of my lasting memories was hearing my son screaming as he left the hospital wing, his cries carrying back down the corridor to where I lay. I’d been admitted after being diagnosed with Type One diabetes, aged 37 and speedily hooked up to various drips, including insulin: the drug I now have to self-administer for the rest of my life.

After two days, sessions with the nurses, who showed me how to test my blood sugars, and self-inject insulin, I was sent home to start my new life as Type One diabetic. It’s a relentless condition: keeping yourself alive 24/7, 365 days a year is tiring.

In all honestly, I struggled mentally, physically and emotionally with this life-changing diagnosis, and, realising I had to help myself, I downloaded a meditation app I’d spotted. Within a month I could feel a real positive difference in my mental well-being. Yet it soon became clear my hospital admission and diagnosis had left my son Fin (then 2-and-a-half) pretty upset and in the months that followed he started asking “if Mummy was going to die?”, or “be taken to hospital again?”.

I had to do something to help him, and so I searched ways to teach him the things I was learning through my new app, but there was nothing for his age group. So I started thinking up fun ways to self-teach him breathing and mindfulness. It helped, and not just then, it’s gone on to help him in other challenging situations, like starting school, arguments with pals, and through the darkness of Covid.

And so the idea for Wee Seeds was grown! We’ve gone onto develop and test our mindfulness and meditation exercises for early years children, thanks to the Good Ideas Academy (run by The Melting Pot), financial backing from UnLtd, Scottish Enterprise, 125 crowd-funders, plus support from Business Gateway,

Our first toolbox of mindfulness exercises has been well received. The Wee Seeds’ impact report from our initial work and early testing shows a positive difference for children (and parents and nursery staff) – and clearly outlines the positive changes practicing mindfulness from an early age can bring.

We’ve also launched our social impact programme – so for every purchase, we pledge to give one away to a family in need, through our Plant One, Pick One programme to ensure our mission of mindfulness for all.

But our journey has been challenging, often reaching the finals for funding awards, or nearly securing investment – and that’s why we were so excited to learn we’d been chosen as just one of eight social ventures for this year’s Big Issue Invest programme.

The Power Up Scotland programme is funded by partners, abrdn, University of Edinburgh, Experian, Places for People and the Scottish Government with legal support from Brodies LLP. Successful applicants receive mentoring and business development support, with the opportunity to pitch for development loans at the end of the programme.

Speaking about all those chosen, Danyal Sattar, CEO of Big Issue Invest, said: “It is challenging as a social venture to secure early-stage funding. We are, therefore, so pleased, working with our brilliant partners in Scotland, to be able to support these organisations with the investment and business development expertise that they need in order to make an even greater difference.

“We are incredibly excited about working with this year’s Power Up Scotland applicants. The work they do in their communities is incredible and it will be an honour to help them take this further.”

As we emerge from the shadows of Covid, we believe now is the time for us to invest in the future of our children.

The World Health Organisation estimate 20 per cent of young people worldwide experience mental disorders, and this was pre-Covid. It’s expected statistics will paint an even bleaker picture in the light of Covid. In the first seven weeks of lockdown the NSPCC reported delivering 17,000 counselling sessions to young children worried about their mental health and wellbeing.

That’s why we’re so excited to join the incredible group of social ventures chosen to be part of Power Up Scotland. A dedicated team of volunteers have worked these past few years to plant the seeds of Wee Seeds, and now, it’s time for us to grow. This will enable us to contribute to helping parents and professionals support positive mental health and wellbeing in the early years where prevention matters most.

Watch this space!

Thank you. 

Christina and the Wee Seeds Team x

To follow our journey, come join us on Instagram, our Facebook and our Twitter – and you can find our mindfulness and meditation tools at www.weeseeds.co.uk