Medium mary murphy cropped photo

Every month we take the time to acknowledge and catch up with one of our very talented School for Social Entrepreneurs graduates. This month it’s Mary Murphy, project leader and practitioner from The Human Touch

What does your organisation do?
The Human Touch project reaches people in the local community and beyond to provide them with a range of affordable therapies delivered by a team of experienced practitioners in an open shared community space (except for massage which is screened)

How did you get involved with your organisation / What was your motivation for founding your organisation?
My motivation for founding my organisation originated in my personal history. 20 years ago due to lack of finances and knowledge, I believed I could not have any complementary therapies. During that period of time I went to college to study reflexology and I was required to receive treatments as part of the course experience. This made me realise the many potential health benefits to be gained from receiving reflexology. It taught me that by spending time for myself and trusting another human being to touch me, I was improving the quality of my life too. I had to provide clients as evidence for the course and drew most of them from the housing estate where I lived. Treating these people enabled me to see that there was a significant lack of affordable therapies. I promised myself that when I was in the position to, I would open an affordable weekly clinic.

What’s the hardest decision you’ve ever made as a social entrepreneur?
The hardest decision I have ever made as a social entrepreneur was asking a practitioner to leave the project due to their lack of commitment to keep my project going in the way I originally intended. HR is a challenging part of running a social enterprise.

Are you ever tempted to stop being a social entrepreneur and get a “normal job”? What keeps you going?
I am often tempted to stop being a social entrepreneur and get a “normal job”, however, so many things keep me going including the great feedback from clients, whose lives are improving as a direct result of therapies received in the project; great feedback from practitioners, who work for the project; being able to take time away when I need to, knowing I can delegate to any of the practitioner team; seeing the project evolve and grow, knowing there are already so many people who have benefited and knowing we will reach many more; and in particular my colleagues and their confidence in me and appreciation of me as their project leader.

What’s your top tip(s) for social entrepreneur’s on measuring impact?
My top tip on measuring impact is to record the evidence and translate that evidence into a language that can be understood by different groups of people, for example: potential funders or potential service users.

Who is your (social) entrepreneurial idol and why?
My Social Entrepreneurial idol is Lord Young because of the story of how he founded Which magazine, as well as the many other enterprises he founded and for his role in the labour manifesto that led to the first social housing, because he failed as many times as he succeeded but still kept going.

What would you say to your 18 year old self?
I would tell my 18 year old self that you have a great future ahead, you can do anything you put your mind to, and you are an amazing, intelligent, compassionate, empathetic, witty, beautiful human being. Go out there and show the world what you are made of, face your fears head on, don’t be afraid of failure but learn from it and celebrate success

Mary recently spoke at an SSE Hampshire taster session and is keen to promote the School whenever she can – She says:
I love witnessing for the SSE. It reminds me of how far I have come, of how much I have grown; of what a great entrepreneur I am and that I am a good role model for potential entrepreneurs. It gives me a great boost to my confidence and it inspires me to keep going.

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