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Latest News // From Isolation to Inspiration – How Scalextric Transformed Ian’s Mental Health
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From Isolation to Inspiration – How Scalextric Transformed Ian’s Mental Health

“CSW is a great organisation, I’ve been getting support from Nev Morrish. He’s an amazing guy, who’s listened to me and my ideas, and I can’t thank him and CSW enough for all the support they’ve given, and continue to give, to help me reach my goals.”


Ian moved to Cornwall from Essex 10 years ago to improve his poor mental health. For a long time, Ian wouldn’t leave the house or speak to anyone. Since working with CSW Health Works for Cornwall, Ian has achieved a huge amount of success.


Before joining CSW Ian joined Skillshare, run by Jon Langford. At first, he would sit in the corner, not engaging or speaking to anybody, but with help from Jon,  Ian slowly began to interact with group activities.


To help Ian become a more active member of the group, Jon allowed Ian to use some of the space in Skillshare to build a 8ft vivarium for a reticulated python, as snakes are a big passion of his.


Shortly after this, Ian met CSW Advisor, Nev Morrish. Ian approached Nev and asked if he could spare some time to speak to him. He was very keen to engage with CSW Health Works for Cornwall, hoping to gain new skills in the field of woodwork.


Nev arranged a meeting with Ian and they spoke about many different things, briefly touching on Ian’s passion for Scalextric. Ian shared that he held a very small meet at his house once a month. He invited like minded individuals who suffered with mental health conditions to come and relax while using, setting up and discussing Scalextric equipment.


Following this, Nev and Ian discussed whether this would be a potential career option. Ian started to build on his collection of Scalextric equipment. Whilst purchasing some items for his collection he came into contact with a presenter from St Austell Bay Radio, who offered to promote Ian’s meets on his local radio show for free. This led to an increase in the number of people attending Ian’s Scalextric meetups.


This was the spark of motivation that Ian needed, and during their regular one-to-one appointments, Nev and Ian spoke about Ian’s social media presence and promotion of the meets. This is something that Ian struggled with, as he only had a smartphone to work on.


Through CSW’s collaboration with Digital Inclusion, Nev was able to get Ian a new laptop. As he opened it, Ian said that he had never had anything new before. He was over the moon with the laptop and used it to increase his online presence.


Eventually the number of people attending and size of the Scalectrix track meant that Ian’s meetups outgrew his front room and he asked Jon at Skillshare if he could use the larger space to hold the group meets.


Soon enough, Ian’s story was picked up by the BBC. They loved how Scalextric helped Ian’s mental health, and how he was offering the same opportunity to others. Ian took part in an interview which was broadcast live on BBC Radio Cornwall, followed by the BBC local television news.


The media exposure led to National Radio attention and Ian was interviewed for BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show. Unfortunately, this turned out to be more about the Scalextric than how it helps with mental health, which left Ian feeling a little frustrated. However, the coverage led to Ian being flooded with invites to display his Scalectrix at all manner of events.


Ian then spoke with Springboard, who recommended that he look at the possibility of creating a CIC (Community Interest Company). This is something we are currently looking into alongside Jon from Skillshare, who has previous knowledge of CIC’s.


Ian is currently discussing setting up a permanent base for his meets at Skillshare, and with support from Nev, is looking to open a separate bank account and secure public liability insurance.


When Ian is ready, the next phase of his journey is to look into how he becomes registered as a CIC business with the HMRC.

From Isolation to Inspiration
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