Ageless Thanet: Helping isle’s over-50s to become business entrepreneurs

Dee Nolan and Brenda Blethyn

Over the past three years, Ageless Thanet has helped 127 entrepreneurs to realise their dreams of becoming self-employed or setting up their own business. The course is completely free and is aimed at local Thanet residents who are over the age of 50.

Dee Nolan is one person who has benefitted from attending Ageless Thanet’s Ageless Entrepreneurs course. After seeing an advert for the course at the Ageless Thanet Feelgood Factory, Dee thought it could be a great way to increase her income.

She said: “About six months before I found Ageless Thanet, I was made redundant. I had two knee replacements in that time.  I struggled to get work because I was limited to what work I could do, and who would employ me during my recovery.  I managed to find work as a passenger assistant taking children with special needs and autism to school which I enjoy but it didn’t cover the bills. When I saw the Ageless Entrepreneur course advertised I wondered if working for myself and selling what I make could be the answer.  I had always enjoyed making things and I thought this would be a good opportunity to see if I could turn this into something.”

The Ageless Entrepreneurs course offers Thanet’s 50+ residents the opportunity to gain the skills and expertise they need to set up small businesses, become self-employed or develop an existing business. The course is free and covers business basics such as marketing, social media, creating online selling accounts and much more, as well as getting the opportunity to meet other likeminded people who are also in the process of setting up or developing their business.

Dee, who now runs her Dee Sewing by Design business, added: “There was so much help on offer, my group are so supportive. Doing the Ageless Entrepreneur course and meeting so many wonderful and inspiring people opened up a whole new world to me. I now feel like I have a plan, and have taken control, and I am no longer just existing as part of the workforce.

“I am one of the many people who was promised retirement at 60 and have since had that goal post changed to 66.  I’ve now managed to get my business off the ground taking more orders on line and selling at craft fairs, I also have my makes in a shop in Canterbury called The Walrus and Oyster.

“I love being a passenger assistant but I can now retire four months after my 60th birthday at the end of the school year, or carry on working part time, it’s nice to have the choice. Ageless Thanet has given me a future I didn’t know I had. I was delighted to have a stall at the Ageless Thanet 50+ Festival last year, especially when Brenda Blethyn bought one of my cushions! ”

If you are over 50 and a resident in Thanet and would like some support in setting up your business, please call 01843 855155, or email [email protected].