Speed of Sight is a unique Swinton-based charity that provides life-changing driving experiences for people with disabilities. Set up by Mike Newman, six times Guinness World Record holder, and the world’s fastest blind man on land (achieving 204mph), water and in the air, the charity employs five people as well as providing work experience for disabled volunteers.
The charity’s goal is to build its own purpose-built centre for blind and disabled people, who would love to drive, to experience the thrill of being behind the wheel of a custom built car on a race track. Speed of Sight also runs a successful corporate team building and events operation. Sighted drivers can experience driving at speed while blind folded.
John Galloway, Speed of Sight’s Head of Fundraising, first heard about the Business Growth Hub at a Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) networking event. Impressed by what he heard, he wanted to know more about the all-round support the Hub could offer.
“A key challenge for us is how best to move the organisation forward and raise our profile to enable more disabled people to enjoy the experience of a driving day,” says John. “But we also wanted to know about the type of funding we could access, ask for advice around employment and explore new ways of gaining support for the organisation through commercial alliances and partnerships.”
John started to work with Nicola Warwick from the Growth Hub’s Mentoring team, who explains: “Our relationship with Speed of Sight is in the early stages and we’re working with them through a wishlist of things they want to achieve.”
The list includes Leadership and Management training, as well as using research to investigate possible sites in Manchester for their new centre. Both Mike and John have accessed the Growth Hub’s mentoring service and take advantage of the chance to tap into the expertise and experience of the Growth Hub team.
“We have also facilitated introductions to other businesses that have a synergy with Speed of Sight, or could help by providing services,” continues Nicola, adding that the two mentors matched with Speed of Sight have brought specific and relevant expertise, making a significant contribution to the growth of the business.
“The ongoing advice and support available through the Hub, from funding input to the opportunity to work one to one with a mentor, is invaluable. It’s helped us take our income to the next level and to focus on our strategic approach,” says John. “But from our point of view, this is just the tip of the iceberg and the start of a long relationship.”
"The ongoing advice and support available through the Hub, from funding input to the opportunity to work one to one with a mentor, is invaluable."