BNest Incubator Programme 2016/2017 Participant
Liam Fleming created some very successful walking programmes – it all started by simply going for a walk with few friends and neighbours, then getting more people involved by participating in Operation Transformation, next doing the first Couch to Mountain Top programme and then organising over 120 walks in the local area.
In 2016 in Clogheen, Co. Tipperary and surrounding areas about 500 participants have completed over 120 walks – that’s about 27,000 km between them!
How it all started? Liam knew one thing: Clogheen is a beautiful area. But it isn’t popular on the tourist’s map, and it isn’t well known by the locals either. He is very passionate about changing that and helping people to rediscover the country roads, forest’s paths and hidden local gems – parts of the community you rarely (if ever) visited before.
Another reason behind the instant success of the local walks was the fact that it is great way to get active.
“Walking is a simple activity, accessible to all.
Anyone can be part of Siul Eile walking community. There is no need to buy anything – walks are casual. And you start easy at any level – each at their own pace. The vast majority of walks are between 3 and 8km.”
“Meeting people, socialising – it was a big winner for all people participating in the walks.
We believe there is no replacement for a real social interaction. Opportunities to get social are disappearing and that needs to change.”
“If I didn’t participate in the BNest Programme, Siul Eile definitely wouldn’t be where it is now
– it would probably still be centred around Clogheen only.”
The most obvious advantage of the BNest for Liam was the positive environment and encouragement the programme provided:
“There is a way – there is a solution, whatever challenge your organisation might be facing.”
All parts of the program were very valuable.
The first 8 weeks gave us the opportunity to see where we were – it was vital.
But this was only a start – after that we had to dig deeper and work on developing our own enterprises. One-to-ones and resilience sessions were also crucial.
Liam admits he enjoyed every challenge, but the exercise where all participants prepared and presented a pitch to potential funders, was the one to become the highlight of the programme:
“It certainly wasn’t easy, but it helped to step up the game and get more comfortable with this type of conversations.”
He also praises the delivery of the programme:
“It was easy to follow. Every aspect was covered in it, maybe even more than I needed.”
Main takeaway from the programme?
On other programmes you might hear – ‘you have to do this’ or ‘you have to learn that’. But BNest was different – The one thing I really got out of it was:
“My own style is good enough.”
The Next Challenge
“Ireland is beautiful
– we need to get to know our own localities, explore your environments.”
“Programmes need to be based in YOUR community, YOUR local environment & country roads.”
Beside scaling up and reaching more communities, Siul Eile is now also looking into organising a 100km adventure walk in the next 18 months – ambitious plans, but Liam is confident:
“Through BNest I got enough confidence that it will work.”
If you’re considering taking part in BNest – just go at it and go wholeheartedly into it – it definitely be worth it.
No matter what idea you have – there is a solution for you.
No matter what stage you’re at – If you’re up and running – it will help to develop it further – if you’re at the idea stage – it will help you to figure out the way to bring it to life.
The time and effort invested in BNest programme was totally worth it – the road from Clogheen to Limerick isn’t the best, but I enjoyed taking that road to go to BNest every Friday!