Womenspire: Teenage mum who left school early sets up her own business to inspire others

Video report by ITV Wales Journalist Kate Lewis

Lora Payne was a teenage Mum who left school with very few qualifications. She found employment opportunities were limited and recalls being told that she was “going to live on benefits and not make anything of her life”.

Just over a decade later Lora is a director of her own company and wants her story to give hope and inspire other women.

“From a teenage Mum who was basically told that I was going to live on benefits for the rest of my life and wasn’t going to make anything of it and I was just going to be stuck, I wanted to change that perception massively", she said.

After having her son, Lora began doing temporary work through an agency. She found the hours and travel involved inflexible and difficult to juggle as a single parent.

That’s when, in 2010, she decided to return to college to get the qualifications she needed. Lora then went on to University and got her degree. The whole time she was working in order to bring in money to support her and her son.

Lora employs three other women and hopes to continue to expand her business.

Soon after graduating however she was made redundant from a job she had been in for 5 years. It was then she decided to start her own business.

“I was fed up, really fed up and I wanted to create something which meant something to me and help other people in my position because it was so hard to do. I had to work for an agency and the placements were everywhere. The travel was not always great either and I wanted to be there for my son, I just created something we could all benefit from.”

Lora created LCVA Services, which she describes as an ”extra pair of hands a business needs”. Her company, which now employs three other women, offers support to businesses in many different ways from administrative to event management.

At the heart of Lora’s business is her staff: ”The main ethos of the business is we promote flexible working, we promote growth, personal development.”

Her staff members come from all different walks of life and bring with them a wide range of expertise.

Marianne Halstead has been with the company for over a year and says she now has flexibility as well as fulfilment from her job: "I needed a job that worked around life. I came from a job that was very much 9-5 or even longer hours and trying to find something that had a work life balance where I could make sports day, be a parent and be present for the children but also feel like I was valued and added value to companies it was difficult to find."

Lora hopes to continue to expand her business and in doing so will be able to offer more opportunities to other women. She says she will also work hard within the business sector  to ”champion flexible working for all”.

"All I want to do is help people in the same position as I was. I want to be able to say don't listen to those negative comments and if you believe you can do something, go and do it. go and show them that you can do it."

Lora is a finalist in the ‘Rising Star’ Category of this year’s Chwarae Teg Womenspire Awards.

The Awards are in their 7th year and will take place on 29th September 2022.