Square Peg delivers animation and film workshops to kids with special needs and/or from challenging behavioural backgrounds in Forth Valley and Stirling. Its founder, Indie Flynn, was a student on SSE Scotland’s Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme, 2016-17
I grew up around alcoholism and domestic violence, before being diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia when I was 18. So I didn’t understand who I was growing up. I was a puzzle, which made a challenging kid. Then I went to Edinburgh College of Art and got into animation – but I saw kids like me all the time and I wanted them to feel like they were worth something! So I decided to carry on animating but teach kids as well.
The programme completely changed me; I feel like a proper businesswoman now.
I was plodding along doing workshops with Square Peg, which delivers animation and film workshops to kids with special needs and/or from challenging behavioural backgrounds, and I was quite well known in the Scottish autism community. But I wasn’t taking any money from it, because I was enjoying myself! The Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme made me realise I needed to be sustainable – that even though I’m a charity, I’m a business too.
“I have dyslexia and dyspraxia and learn differently – but the group adapted to me and made me feel so welcome. I never felt like a burden.”
What worked best for me was the peer support and ‘witness days’ – where entrepreneurs come and share their experiences. The knowledge they gave me was especially useful starting up, and I was given freedom to learn differently too. I can’t sit still for long periods of time so I would get up and walk around, and the group adapted to me. I never felt like a burden. Interacting with people from such different backgrounds made me realise I deserve to do this; they made me feel worthwhile. I’m still good friends with those people now.
Today Square Peg is going from strength to strength. I deliver four to eight workshops per week, and currently work with around 40 children and young people. The youngest I work with is five and the oldest is 24 – we’re working towards him getting a portfolio together so he can apply for art college.
The programme completely changed me; I feel like a proper businesswoman now. I give advice to other people – I could never have done that before!