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Free online events to help business owners with their wellbeing

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The new ‘Listening Ear’ service is hosting a series of free online events later this month (February) to help local business owners with their wellbeing.

Listening Ear was launched by independent charity Devon Communities Together and Devon County Council at the start of the new year. It gives business owners anywhere in Devon the opportunity to talk informally to an experienced volunteer about the pressures of trying to keep a business afloat during the pandemic.

While they don’t offer business advice, they can signpost you to agencies that do, and Listening Ear provides an experienced, impartial person to talk to, so people can take time to focus on themselves and their mental wellbeing.

As part of its Listening Ear service, Devon Communities Together is hosting a series of free online events, starting on Tuesday 23 February, designed to support Devon SME and micro businesses and the people behind them through COVID-19.

The first session will feature two expert guest speakers: Lynsey Riddett from the South West Growth Hub who will speak on support opportunities; and Matthew Porter, Business Coach at Devon Communities Together, who will speak on the innovative ‘Balanced Horizon Canvass’ – a model that helps people shape their businesses and their whole selves. There will also be facilitated networking and peer support.

“Running a business is stressful at the best of times. Running a business during a pandemic is even harder,” commented Dr Louise MacAllister, Project Manager at Devon Communities Together.

“This session is designed to think about business support holistically, from learning and development, to finances and how your business intersects with your everyday life, and the importance of self-care and peer support.

“Your wellbeing is important to both your health and the future of your business. Talking to one of our Listening Ear volunteers is a way for you to prioritise your own mental wellbeing, especially when you may not feel comfortable talking to your friends and family. Many of our volunteers have run their own businesses or have coaching experience and they are all keen to support Devon’s business community at this incredibly tough time.”

Photo of Councillor Rufus Gilbert
Councillor Rufus Gilbert

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Councillor Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “Listening Ear is an incredibly valuable service to support business owners in Devon with their mental health and wellbeing. I would encourage SMEs and micro businesses in the county to sign up to the online events – they’re free and they’ve been designed with you in mind, helping to support you through these current challenging times.”

To book a free space, visit: The event is open to any business owner located in Devon (including Plymouth and Torbay) and they do not have to be accessing the Listening Ear service to attend.
Listening Ear has been developed as a response to a need for business owners to have somebody to talk to about their general stresses and concerns. This need has been identified by Heart of the South West Growth Hub and other business support advisors. It is funded by Devon County Council and it is initially a pilot until March 2021, with the possibility of being extended and expanded in the future.

If you would like to find out more about talking to our experienced Listening Ear volunteers, and book your session please visit the Devon Communities Together website, or contact or call 01392 248919.