Billy Stevenson, 43 is the founder of Film Crew 4u whose aim is to make film-making accessible to people who are experiencing difficulties in life, like mental health issues, physical disabilities or recovering from addiction. Based in Portsmouth, Film Crew 4u wants to give people within the community a chance to learn the various aspects of film and media production as well have the opportunity to be involved in film making from beginning to end using basic and accessible equipment.
Billy’s journey with Film Crew 4u began back in 2016 after he relocated to Portsmouth while recovering from alcohol dependency. Billy saw this as an opportunity to make a fresh start and try and do something different. Exploring various volunteer positions, Billy was given the chance to do some hours with the Portsmouth Film Society. Having never worked in the film industry Billy quickly became involved with the Portsmouth Film Society and enrolled on their film production course. Having found something he was passionate about Billy made the decision to pursue this as a career.
Using some basic equipment and some free software Billy began to make short films. Initially with family members and then producing short promotional business videos for people within the recovery community. From this that he discovered that maybe he could start his own small project or business.
On benefits and unsure where to look with starting a small business Billy was encouraged by a friend and previous Inspiring Enterprise participant to enrol on some upcoming workshops in Winchester. Billy attended the three workshops and engaged with mentoring where he learnt all aspects of setting up a social enterprise, how to best structure his business. Learning more about Community Interest Company’s made him believe that this was the best way he could give back and building his skills and confidence helped him find the courage to transition off benefits.
“I loved the course, loved hearing others ideas and sharing this journey with them. I feel I am on the path I’m meant to be on” said Billy. He goes onto say that he found the mentoring really valuable especially the Virtual Coffee Meeting during lockdown, being part of the Inspiring Enterprise programme has filled him with confidence, knowing that the has the right support behind him to help support him in his own business as well as encourage other participants to continue on their social enterprise journey.
Having successfully launched his CIC with a business partner, a volunteer he met at the Portmouth Film Society, he has secured funding, generated income and been accepted on to this years School of Social Entrepreneurs. Billy is really excited about his future and the opportunities that lay ahead and has an increased confidence in himself and his abilities to continue and develop a sustainable social enterprise. He hopes to continue to grow the company so that he can increase the capacity to employ more people and support others through film.