Spotlight On… Enterprising Learner Viv Bellamy

Viv Bellamy is a self-employed holistic therapist based in Bristol. Last month she was awarded her Level 2 Award in Enterprise and Employability through the city’s Centre for Capacity Building & Enterprise Development (CCBED), which has recently gained its IOEE Enterprise Academy status. This month we chatted to Viv about how the experience has not only given her a new qualification, but how the mentoring and support has given her the inspiration and confidence to embark upon a new and exciting chapter of her life and career.   

As a single mum to three boys, Viv knew that she wanted to create a career where she would have the flexibility to manage her time around busy family life with her children. Viv originally began her professional life working in health and fitness, before becoming a holistic therapist 15 years ago; a field that she is incredibly passionate about:

“I always had an interest in health and wellbeing, and worked in fitness with personal trainers – with a particular interest in martial arts! I studied several different types of martial arts, which might seem like quite a contrast to what I do now, but they’re both rooted in similar principles – learning how to defend yourself better, and the healing aspect of connecting with your body.”

Viv speaks with such passion, excitement and energy, but sadly experienced some personal tragedies and says that before she began working with CCBED, she had lost her confidence and faith in herself:

“When I first came on the course, I didn’t have much confidence at all. I wasn’t happy with where I was at in life, or myself as an individual. I’d withdrawn from active life for quite some time; both work-wise and socially. My fire for life had been completely extinguished and I had lost hope and inspiration, but being involved with CCBED reignited that spark of enthusiasm.”

Viv was referred to CCBED by a member of Bristol City Council and was put in touch with Jane Franklin, who would become her mentor, and Viv says how this relationship has shaped her journey:

“Because I’d withdrawn from life for some time, getting involved with CCBED was initially a bit daunting, but Jane put me completely at ease. I couldn’t believe the warmth and support I was greeted with from the outset. What Jane has done for me has been ground-breaking. There’s this idea that a fresh start means everything being different, but Jane said it wasn’t necessary to completely reinvent myself; that I could be happy with who I was and everything I’d achieved up to that point. She showed me that I could put all of my experience to good use, and reminded me of how to believe in myself, and that was completely priceless.”

Whilst Viv’s confidence was developing, she was also developing the core enterprise and entrepreneurial skills that would help her to gain her new qualification:

“The mentors really did hold my hand through the nerves, but it was much more than a handholding experience. They were truly inspirational, and from a multitude of industries, so their insight was varied and invaluable. There was also a real community of support between all of the learners too. All my peers were from different backgrounds, different walks of life, and meeting and working alongside those people was an opportunity in itself.”

Last month the CCBED held an awards ceremony and Viv was presented her certificate from Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor – Communities. Not only was it an enormous achievement to finally achieve that new qualification, but Viv says the event gave her another challenge and subsequent confidence boost alongside it:

“Yes, I’d got my qualification, which was immense, but the event also boosted my ego on a personal level too. It was a big deal, there was a camera crew and a photographer there, and I used to consider myself a bit of a wallflower – but there I was, getting up on stage in front of all these people! I realised that I had finally found my courage – that I’m a survivor, and that I’ve got nothing to lose. This is my time to re-establish myself, and give myself the opportunity to be successful. Being up there, I felt so empowered.”

Viv is now continuing her education by expanding into talking therapies too, such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), so that she has a wide range of healing and wellbeing offerings when she is fully established as a sole trader. She is also planning to participate in a holistic show in October this year, where she will have the opportunity to showcase some of her treatments. Viv says:

“I’ll be offering samples of therapies, like aromatherapy massage, Indian head massage, crystal therapy and reflexology. The show will give me a chance to put some of the skills I’ve learnt in the last year into practice, such as new aspects of marketing myself, and gaging public response, mixing old and new skills and bringing everything together.”

Despite gaining her qualification, Viv’s relationship with CCBED isn’t over yet, and she says that their ongoing support is helping her with every stage of working for herself:

“I love their ‘open door’ policy – knowing they’re always there is really reassuring. CCBED has already set up a meeting for me about sole trading, so I’ll be even more educated and more prepared for all the ins and outs of working for yourself. Don’t get me wrong, there have been a lot of nerves along the way, but the whole experience has been full of positive energy.

If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, then I’ve probably taken about three steps now, so I’m right at the beginning now, but CCBED has been my guiding light of inspiration. They’ve given me the courage to go for it, and I know I can do it! To anybody out there who is unemployed and feeling lost, I’d urge them to get involved with something like this. I have a new qualification and a new confidence, and I feel proud to be able to show my boys what you can do when you try. It has truly changed my life.”

For more information on CCBED, please visit