Frances is a retired former Occupational Therapist with some 30+ years experience of working in the mental health field.
Working in the NHS, Frances made the observation that although services were supposed to be client-focused, they rarely were. There was a tendency to try and fit people in with the services available rather than the other way round, and she wanted to see services be more responsive to the needs of the people it was serving. From this, Frances began to develop a long term ambition to pioneer a community service, run for and by service users.
Frances experienced severe physical ill-health problems in 2005 and eventually lost her registration as an O.T. because of this. In many ways, she felt her life and career was on the scrapheap and although never diagnosed with a mental illness as such, she became very depressed, thinking her useful life was over. When some treatment became available, she was able to achieve a level of recovery to enable her to think about doing something again with this long held dream. An opportunity arose to attend a ‘Taste of Enterprise’ course and through this Frances learned about Unltd who fund social entrepreneurs.
Having applied and been successful, Frances found that it was now possible to put into action some of the ideas she had long held. The idea to form this new community work came just at the time when there were many cuts being made in services for mental health service users, including the closure of the main day centre in Southampton. Thus, it was felt that the project was very timely and thus the idea for Creative Options was born.
Frances graduated from the Hampshire School of Social Entrepreneurs in October 2013.