Tag Archives: Salford

FOXY Trades Places to support First Step Trust

I have been invited to take part in the First Step Trust (FST) Trading Places initiative to raise awareness levels of their social enterprise good work. Our connection is to do with their London and Manchester garages called SMaRT Garage Services that are all FOXY Lady Approved.

FST helps young people with mental health problems back into the workplace. This is a very topical subject with one in four of us suffering mental health problems of some sort throughout our lives. Some of the individuals I have met at SMaRT Garages have had very challenging issues to deal with in their young lives and yet they come to SMaRT where they are supported, learn new skills and are helped towards a new career that gives them hope, independence and future opportunities. These are life-changing opportunities for individuals that really need them, nothing less.

Few of us know enough about this illness, the downward spiral of depression and the unfair stigma that so often comes with any mention of mental illness. I am honoured to have been invited to shine a light on this subject to share with women drivers in general and Club members in particular.

Readers of my blog will know that FOXY is a not for profit organisation that is all about identifying and promoting better motoring services for women and working with businesses that go that extra mile to do a better job for women. Without these businesses we’d be unable to do our not for profit work for women drivers, spreading the word about car and tyre safety issues at business events across the UK for example, so we particularly identify with the SMaRT Garage Services business model.

When I say ‘for women’ read ‘for men too’ in the SMaRT Garage context but my point here is that it is rare to see ANY garage organisation so actively involved in everyday training for individuals (whether as mechanics or pastry chefs) hence my huge admiration for FST.

Trading Places Supporters

Here are some of the individuals that have already participated in the Trading Places initiative.


Cathryn Moses, Small Business Saturday UK
Chris Graham, Wates Living Space
Cllr Denise Hyland, Royal Borough of Greenwich
Hannah Stafford, Buzzacott Chartered Accountants
Jack Hopkins, Jobs & Growth, Lambert
John McGirr, Royal Borough of Greenwich
Maureen Thone, Royal Borough of Greenwich
Mike Freeman ARC BITC
Neil Airey, Royal Borough of Greenwich
Nicholas Campbell-Watts, Mental Health CERTITUDE
Peter Holbrook, Social Enterprise UK
Philip Breslin, Royal Borough of Greenwich


Rachel Hubbard, Deaf Umbrella
Ray Calcutt, Boston Garage Equipment
Sean Kelleher, Business Connector BITC
Steve Nash, Institute of the Motor Industry
Stuart James, Retail Motor Industry Federation


I am not sure whether to pack my hiking boots or blender when I report for duty on 9 March because First Step provides garage and catering career services and I am equally as incompetent in both areas.

But I do know that I shall meet inspiring individuals who are all as committed to the success of the business as I am.

Finally I’d like to pay tribute to FST’s tenacious CEO Ronnie Wilson OBE who works tirelessly to fund their work and who we are delighted to work with to promote their genuinely female friendly garages to local female motorists in Woolwich, Bexley, West Norwood and Salford.

To find a FOXY Lady Approved garage in your area