There is a prominent need to provide tailored support and physiotherapy services to segments of the population that tend to be marginalized (for example senior citizens, people suffering from dementia or other cognitive illnesses), but the public health care system cannot accommoda those needs with the results being poor quality of services offered and further marginalization. The You First initiative aims to fund tailored services to these populations through funds created by “mainstream” services offered, crowedfunding (pay it forward schemes) and also initiatives supported in collaboration with other groups, associations, and NGOs.
You First once the process with the registry has been finalized, will be the first user community service for the elderly population (60+) and anyone with a disability in Ammoxostos. Operating as a non-profit social business of a general purpose, with money and investments reinvested back to the front line and community services. “You First” will become the first multidisciplinary rehabilitation service that supports independent living at home after an injury. It will also grow to offer dementia day activities focused on improving self-management activities of daily living, with the mission to slowly open the first specialist dementia day centre in Ammoxostos.
To provide a specialist multidisciplinary community service, led by physiotherapists. And supported by local therapy partners, a nurse; an occupational therapist; and a speech and language therapist with the mission of keeping our elderly and those with a disability active and independent in the community. YouFirst will also have a referring system to local care agencies and mobility asistance stores.
To become the leading community therapy service that will educate and support the elderly and those with a disability on the benefits of keeping fit and motivate them to work towards community rehabilitation goals. The philosophy and ethos are based on creating a service that will enable the elderly and disabled population to stay at home after an injury; in a safe environment and enhanced self-management skills for a better quality of life.
The team will be home based and will access our elderly via car. The team will have weekly face to face meetings at KEPA for free. The company will aim to have an office room situated in Paralimni Village, with an approximate 10-15-minute drive to all the villages of Ammoxostos.
Our services will be available for the elderly (60+) and the population with an acute or chronic disability and a discounted price compared to GESY and other care homes or rehabilitation centres.
The company consists Christina Machattou, a specialist community physiotherapist, with over 10 years of experience, who will take the role of the managing director and also the physiotherapist leading all therapies.
The vision of “You First” is broken down in 3 phases:
Phase 1: “You First” will be the first multidisciplinary services that delivers rehabilitation at home. This will be achieved with the support of the following essential partner disciplines; nurses; occupational therapists, speech and language therapists. A life coach and physio assistants will also become part of the team once financially possible.
Phase 2: Will consist of forming dementia community-based day activities at KEPA Centre, such as cooking and gardening etc.
Phase 3: The income the service makes will be re-invested in building the first specialist day center for people with dementia in Ammoxostos.
This case study showcases in an exemplary manner the social impact that a viable business idea can have, through social innovation, and identifying existing problems that can be addressed through social initiatives and private initiatives of a social scope. However, it also highlights the crucial importance of a clear legal and regulatory framework that would enable those business initiatives to operate as social enteprises and would support them in gaining funding, recognition, and closer collaboration with existing governmental structures.
The lack of this framework often stunts the growth of Social Enterprises and can create a lot of bureaucratic obstacles in their establishment and smooth operation. However, one of the most prominent characteristics of Social Entrepreneurs is their resilience, commitment, and perseverece in finding ways to operate and fund their ideas until such time where the regulatory framrwork would become enabling rather than discouraging.
You First still needs to complete the adminsitrative process of registering as a Social Enterprise, a process delayed by the luck of implementation of the legal framework in Cyprus, and the continuous delays in the commencement of the Registry for Social Enterprises in Cyprus. However, their business model is operational and they have secured initial funding and have resumed initial operations with the support of an existing NGO until their own legal status and type of entity is resolved.
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