Ilva Rollason, IDS Services CIC

A beneficiary of IDS Services enjoys a day out at a farm

We caught up with Ilva, a Start Up and Scale Up fellow who founded IDS services. Discover how The School for Social Entrepreneurs supported her throughout her journey. 

What does your social enterprise do? 

IDS Services provide a person-centred Day Service for adults with learning disabilities and complex health needs. We run a person-centred Day Service for adults with learning disabilities promotes choice and independence so that individuals can live a fulfilled, meaningful life. As we are a Community Interest Company all profits are reinvested into the service we deliver, so after making a profit in our first year we expanded and improved our service, moving to bigger premises (3x the size of our original premises) just 16 months after opening. We are also employing 3 full-time and 2 part-time members of staff in addition to a full-time and a part-time director and we continue to have many dreams and visions about where we want the service to go in the future!

What motivated you to start your social enterprise?

Working as a Social Worker I felt disillusioned by the fact that resources were often a bigger factor in deciding what support we offered to individuals and their families than achieving the best outcome possible, which went against everything I firmly believe in. So I decided to take a pay cut and accepted a post at a Day Service for Adults. Unfortunately with the financial cuts that hit the public sector, the ability to work in a person-centred manner was once again severely restricted and I increasingly felt like a trouble maker for advocating for the individuals I worked with and wanting to achieve good outcomes for them.

When a colleague told me that he was setting up his own service and suggested that I could do the same, I was terrified by the idea but at the same time, I knew that it was the right thing for me to do. The learning curve has been steep and there have been some challenges along the way, but setting up this service has been the best thing I have ever done!

How has the School for Social Entrepreneurs supported you?

Being on the SSE programme has been invaluable in so many ways. It was great to have the feedback, support, knowledge and insights from the other entrepreneurs as well as the SSE staff team, when I was full of questions or in doubt about something. It was also great hearing from more experienced social entrepreneurs and having them share their stories during the witness sessions, it really helped me to put my experiences into context.

The other social entrepreneurs in my cohort never seized to inspire me, the experience has made me feel very proud and privileged to be a part of such an amazing group of individuals that have so many wonderful ideas, so much enthusiasm, heart, knowledge and energy to make the world a better place.


If you’ve been inspired by Ilva’s story take a look at our courses and see how we can help make your idea a reality.


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