Heartfelt Hands Therapies CIC
Ruth Zabbar established her complementary therapy business in 2018, operating initially as a sole trader, and then subsequently in 2020 registering the business, Heartfelt Hands Therapies CIC – as a social enterprise providing holistic complementary therapies through a mobile and in-house service in Enfield and Hertfordshire. The specialist services Ruth provides include treatments for disabled adults and children and for older people in their homes. “We provide a range of complementary therapies to everyone in the community, for those who can afford it and those who cannot: Touch Yoga for adults with disabilities and complex needs, Movement Shiatsu Therapy for pregnancy and for treatment of chronic conditions, Remedial massage for sports, injuries or tissue dysfunctions, Yoga, Reiki Healing and Female Energy awakening system work.”
In January 2019, whilst operating as a sole trader, Ruth applied to access help and support to develop and grow her business through Enterprise Enfield’s Inspiring Women Business Growth Programme, a scheme part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, which offers 12 hours’ support to women in London running early-trading businesses. As well as receiving tailored advice and guidance from her allocated Adviser, Ruth gained new business growth skills attending key topic seminars including ‘HR Essentials for Your Business’ and ‘Know Your Clients’.
Having completed the Inspiring Women Business Growth Programme, Ruth was keen to receive further specialist business support to develop the knowledge and skills that she needed to grow her business. She applied for and was accepted onto Enterprise Enfield's Female Founders Accelerator Programme in February 2020 – just prior to the first national lockdown.
The lockdown had an immediate impact on Ruth's business, her home visits were affected, as were the services she provided as a complementary therapist at University College Hospital, although she was able to continue to offer some therapy services in some settings. Ruth found the support and new business skills gained from the Female Founders Programmes vital to her ability to adapt to these new circumstances. The marketing support was particularly beneficial, especially the advice on using social media effectively – making the most of Facebook and Instagram platforms to promote her business. Applying social media skills has been important - to enhance the marketing of her services, particularly by encouraging “word of mouth” recommendations to her business. She said - “It has ignited the fire in me again.”
During the past year Ruth has also been able to establish a stronger online presence for her business by developing her own website - which includes a useful blog with regular articles covering different aspects of holistic therapies.
In 2020 Ruth was successful in securing a Bounce Back Loan which has helped to sustain the business during the pandemic. She is exploring other funding and business development opportunities including building relationships with local authorities and community providers - and now has working arrangements with a local Community Centre in Enfield where she has access to a therapy room.
In May 2021 Ruth received well -deserved recognition - and was voted the 2020/21 London & South East winner of the Corporate LiveWire Prestige Awards - in the category: Sports Massage Specialists of the Year!
Ruth is planning to take her business to the next level by developing a team of complementary therapists to deliver specialist services to the community. Eventually she would like to expand the business and establish her own therapy centre with community facilities such as a cafe and library.
Heartfelt Hands Therapies CIC is a member of Enfield Voluntary Action and is also service provider for a local online directory, Simply Connect Enfield, which is open to the public and can be used for referrals by Link Workers from Social Prescribing NHS, voluntary sector Health Champions, health professionals and via self-referral from local residents. Ruth is a member of the Federation of Holistic Therapists and the Shiatsu Society UK.