Spotlight on Windmills Cafe

Specialist, Diane Peebles, discusses her work with Windmills Cafe in Motherwell helping to build a sustainable business model for the company which provides jobs and training for young people with learning difficulties.

Tell us a bit about Lifelink
Lifelink offers a range of counselling and stress management services for adults and young people in communities and schools across Glasgow City and with partners and networks.

How long have you worked with them?
Since late 2012.

What makes them stand out?
Chief Executive, Jacqui Taylor, took up the post in 2013 bringing a fresh approach and new leadership style to the organisation. She is very receptive to ideas and we have developed an excellent rapport.

I am inspired every time I visit and so impressed by what they do, and what they are striving to do, with quite limited resources.

What kind of work have you done with them?
I've worked with them on

How were you able to help?
I introduced them to the 9 Box talent matrix as part of their succession planning strategy and was also able to link them up with Stephen McQuillan, another IIP Scotland Specialist, who has provided them with business consultancy services on developing a tailored Leadership Development Programme.

What was their biggest challenge and how did you overcome this?
As Lifelink is a charity, financial pressures are always the toughest challenge they face. Creativity goes a long way to overcoming budgetary constraints. For example, as funds were limited, I carried out a Strategic Review as an alternative to a full Assessment. This represented better value for Lifelink at the time and still helped them to focus on priority areas for action.

I was also able to help them take advantage of the Scottish Government subsidy to carry out an Investors in Young People ‘health check’. This has helped them to move forward in terms of developing a more formal Young People Strategy and they know that they are making a difference to the Scottish Youth Unemployment landscape.

What's the impact of the work you have carried out with them?
I have certainly seen things move forward and the approach is more formalised. Ad hoc arrangements have been replaced by consistent business practices. Lifelink has an Organisational Development Strategy now that provides clarity and direction and the charity is also in the process of developing a Young People Strategy to help it achieve its goals.

What are the next steps for Lifelink?
There will be Annual Reviews for both Investors in People and Investors in Young People and I am keen to introduce them to the benefits of the Health and Wellbeing Award. There's also potential for me to work as a facilitator for them at their annual development.