Wiltshire woman has entrepreneurial dreams to tackle mental health

A Wiltshire entrepreneur is hoping her dreams of bringing mental wellbeing and nature together will become a reality after successfully becoming part of the Aster Group social incubator inc.

For Rosalind Mann, who lives in Chippenham, it was taking part in a COVID related hackathon that spurred her on to co-found a mental wellbeing app and social business, Saku Mind.

She said: “I took part in a hackathon – an international competition to find ways to Build Back Better after COVID. Of the 100s of participants Team Saku found each other, with a shared passion to improve mental wellbeing and reset the relationship between people and planet.

I have personal experience of supporting family members with mental health issues and recognise the powerful positive impact of nature on my own wellbeing. I’ve also been striving to be more sustainable in my own lifestyle and recognising the reciprocal benefits of looking after the local and wider environment. All this has driven my desire to bring the Saku concept to life.

“I'm passionate about doing some good in the world. When I saw the inc. programme I knew it was a great fit - Aster is a company with such great principles and social beliefs and I knew the programme would be perfect for us.”

Saku Mind is a mental wellbeing app designed to connect people with fellow Saku explorers and the outdoors. It engages with activities relating to the five ways of wellbeing: connect, give, take notice, be active and keep learning. The Saku app tracks the impact of the activities on mood, wellbeing, and the environment and a Saku avatar tree grows as the wellbeing of participants blooms. 

Applicants from all over the UK applied to be part of the Aster Group inc. programme delivered by the Aster Foundation, a part of the housing association that invests in projects that improve lives and removes barriers to opportunity in local communities. Its objective is to develop businesses with a social purpose such as those tackling homelessness, mental health, financial exclusion, unemployment, and the economic recovery from COVID-19.

Rosalind has now now started the inc. 10 month business development programme designed to bring his ideas to market and connect with potential partners and investors. The programme draws on the resources and expertise of Aster Group, and its people, with mentoring and additional guidance being provided by established social entrepreneurs. It is the first scheme of its kind to be created by a housing association in the UK and is now in it’s second year.

Cam Kinsella, Aster Foundation director said: “Social innovation, community and collaboration is at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we created our social incubator, and we are so excited that Saku Mind is part of it. By working with our team of experts, we hope that Rosalind will be able to take her dreams to the next level and make a lasting impact in our communities, supporting our work in mental health and wellness.”  

The Aster Foundations Mental Wellness and Resilience programme trains and educates around 2,000 people and businesses per year to help them understand how to improve their own wellbeing, as well as how to support those around them.  Last year the Foundation trained 1,421 people and aims to help at least 20,000 people improve their mental health and wellness by 2030.

For more information about Saku Mind, visit www.sakumind.com

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