Kelly Davies, a former footballer, wanted to find a way to use sports not only for fun but also as a creative way to address social problems. This led to the idea for Vi-ability, a Wales-based social enterprise that aims to engage young people and help them achieve positive life outcomes.
In 2009, Vi-Ability started in Colwyn Bay in North Wales. Their mission is twofold: 1) to reduce the number of disengaged young people by motivating them to contribute to their communities, and 2) to help sports clubs be run like businesses and thus create more jobs within local communities. They generate revenue through their “Run the Club” programme, in which they win contracts to deliver sports programmes. They also work with corporates to challenge them to engage more with youth. Being financially sustainable has been important to Kelly since the beginning because it allows Vi-Ability to be more competitive for the future and therefore grow and help more young people.
After Vi-Ability’s initial success in Wales, they expanded their work to London in 2014, showing an example of how social enterprises can scale successfully. While expanding into a new location was challenging, it also offered more opportunities to find financial support from like-minded investors such as Nesta, a foundation that seeks to tackle inequality and help marginalised young people.
Since winning the “Social Enterprise of the Year” award in 2015, Vi-Ability’s reach has continued to grow. They have engaged with thousands of young people and have run programmes on the international level, in places such as Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Italy, and India. They continue to seek opportunities to scale, always searching for new ways to reach more sports clubs and more young people.
Learn more about Vi-Ability here.