Camphill Communities of Ireland

Case Study

“Everyone deserves to grow up and live in a happy, fun and safe environment. 

Right Steps’ workshops teach how to deal with violence, bulying, fear and intimidation.”

BNest Incubator Programme 2016/2017 Participant

The Challenge

When Noel McCarthy applied for BNest Social Incubator Programme in 2016 his idea was to open a safety training centre for children, where they could learn about the safety in different scenarios of everyday life in a fun, interactive, scenario based training. Noel is a dad, so the idea of improving children safety was really close to his heart and he has visited a similar centre in UK.

I had an idea, and I’ve seen it work elsewhere, but I just didn’t know where to start.

Sometimes you can have a great idea, but you need some guidance, you need to be pointed in the right direction.

The Journey

After joining BNest programme Noel has realised this initial idea was too ambitious to start with and he quickly figured out how to transform such a big project into smaller into much easier to achieve steps.
He decided to use his martial arts & self-defence experience and training skills to create a confidence building workshop first.

This was actually the most positive experience I had during the programme – I sat down with Eamon and Kasia and I was a little anxious about changing my original idea, thinking: “I can’t change – this is not what I was going to do”. And they were like: “Why? Why not? It is all about YOU discovering what YOU are going to do”.

That to me was like a “lightbulb moment” – and it just took off from there.

It turned out that the foundation of the both projects was the same – helping children and young adults to stay safe.

Right Steps now offers a range of workshops on confidence, assertiveness, anti-bullying and self-defence, teaching people how to deal with issues like intimidation, fear, bullying or violence.

Its motto is: It can’t stop you from being a target, but it can stop you from being a victim.

While Right Steps workshops receives raving reviews from people of different ages, Noel believes that young adults are those who benefit most from it – “It’s all about common sense, situational awareness, intuition – those are the things that we, as adults have learned and developed over the years – our workshops give young people a shortcut. We also want to teach them about the consequences of their actions and inactions”.

BNest Impact

Before joining BNest Noel thought it would be a business starting programme – one of many you can find those days. And he was right – it was that, but he emphasises how important covering the Social Enterprise aspect was.

A lot of people don’t realise there is a lot of differences between commercial start-ups and social enterprise start-ups.

For Noel, the most obvious advantage of the programme was the encouragement he got.
He believes that, if he didn’t join the programme, Right Steps would still be just a nice idea. Or that he might have bring it to some point and got discouraged, thinking “it is not going to work”.

“BNest gives you the tools and get you to the point where you have a belief in yourself, that you can do it. There are a lot of people out there thinking “I have this idea, but I don’t have time, or I don’t have qualifications to do that, I don’t have the experience – it could be a million different reasons. BNest is giving you like a (very friendly!) slap across the face: Why not? Why can’t you do it? Who said you can’t do it?

Noel came a long way since starting the BNest programme, and he admits it exceeded his expectations.

When I joined the programme I thought to myself “I’ll just do it and see what happens”.

When I finished 6 months later I had my own business, branding, website, Facebook page – people were asking me to run my workshops for them.

I’m a hell lot further on than I was a year ago!

Programme was very easy to follow – I liked the way how i.e. two projects were taken as an example and we would work in groups to solve the real problems – but I could also see how those problems and solutions were transferable to my own project.

I also liked the way it was a mix of doing different things – i.e. sometimes you’re in Nexus building working on a project, and another time you meet with other participants, another time you meet with Pauline for a personal resilience session – it was never boring.”

The Next Challenge

Noel’s biggest challenge now is how to make a transition between a reliable, steady, full-time job and Right Steps being his source of income. It might take time, but he believes he will get there.
Noel also admits BNest Programme was a great reality check – in a positive way.

If you’re sitting there thinking “I have a fantastic idea – I’ll do this and that, world it’s going to be a better place, everything is going to be magnificent and I’m going to be a millionaire.” BNest gives you encouragement and guidance, but it’s also provides a reality check.

This is what’s going to happen first, this is what’s going to happen next, that’s not going to work for you – not in a negative way at all – it just makes you aware of what can go wrong or what will 100% go wrong – and you take the encouragement from that, knowing that it’s not going to work the first time, or second time, or third time. You will fail, but next time you’ll fail better.

“We all knew from the start it wasn’t going to be easy – it’s not all going to be brilliant, just because you’ve turned up at BNest – it’s not the way it works. But you learn how to overcome the challenges and are encouraged to keep going.”


One piece of advice Noel has for anyone considering applying for BNest Social Incubator is:

“Just do it!”

It’s very easy to sit on an idea for weeks or months or even years and then maybe even see someone else do it.

Maybe it will work for you, maybe it won’t – just do it and find out. Worst thing it can happen is you’d get to the end of this and you’ll say, “you know what – it’s not for me”.

It’s still much better point than sitting on your idea or watching somebody else bringing it to life.

+353 (0) 61 332 929

Nexus Innovation Centre
Tierney Building
University of Limerick
Limerick, Ireland