Meet the Waterlooville woman inspiring people to be the best version of themselves – using PVC ‘Strength Cards’

AFTER a lifetime spent helping vulnerable families and children, entrepreneur Debbi Wood has struck gold – simply by addressing an issue she faces at work.

Saturday, 2nd March 2019, 5:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 3:08 pm
Debbi with a range of Strength products at 1000 Lakeside, Portsmouth
Picture: Habibur Rahman
Debbi with a range of Strength products at 1000 Lakeside, Portsmouth Picture: Habibur Rahman .

The 60-year-old from Waterlooville has been named among f:Entrepreneur’s debut Top 100 list of female business owners for her range of ‘Strength Cards’.

Made from PVC, the tiles exist to give a ‘positive affirmation' to anyone going through a difficult time – especially those doubting their personal abilities.

And since they were thought up one year ago, they have taken off among professionals working in mental health, education, counselling and speech and language therapy.

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Some of Strength products at 1000 Lakeside, Portsmouth Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Portsmouth-born Debbi, who works as a full-time administrator at the Troubled Families Programme in Surrey, said: ‘We use a lot of these cards with children and families to build self-esteem and confidence, but what we found is the majority are paper and they don’t last very long.

‘So I got these on PVC card so they’re waterproof and much more durable.’

She added: ‘They can be something that can give [service users] positivity in their life and can reinforce that when they’re feeling they’ve got low self-worth and low confidence. Reading them gives them a positive affirmation.’

Some of Strength products at 1000 Lakeside, Portsmouth Picture: Habibur Rahman

Available online, Debbi’s Strength Cards come in more than 20 ranges – catering for use with children and young people and adults – and are frequently adopted in one-to-one or group sessions with vulnerable people or those experiencing hardship.

And being her brainchild, Debbi has seen the fruits of their use first-hand.

‘Children sometimes forget, particularly young children, that they’ve got these strengths,’ she said.

‘If you explain it to them in a way they didn’t really appreciate before, it suddenly resonates and they are capable of doing things they didn’t think they could do before.’

Debbi was listed in the f:Entrepreneur Top 100 for creating the cards, while working full-time and juggling her voluntary role as treasurer for Hayling Sports Centre and Meridian Judo Club.

Now in its third year, f:Entrepreneur is run by peak b, a campaigning organisation with a strong reputation in the small business and enterprise sectors.

Both f:Entrepreneur and peak b were founded by Michelle Ovens MBE, who is also director of Small Business Saturday UK and chair of the Small Business Charter.

Michelle said: ‘The stories of these women are incredibly inspirational and reach outside the traditional bounds of business, including a number of cancer survivors and carers, amongst many other people who do so much more than their day job.

‘This may be a campaign that highlights the work of inspiring women, but it is something for men to recognise and celebrate too; showing everyone that even in the toughest situations in life, it is entrepreneurs who are the people that not only survive but thrive, creating purposeful small businesses and supporting their communities every day.’

All 100 entrepreneurs attended afternoon tea at the House of Lords hosted by Lord Young of Graffham and the f:Entrepreneur Campaign on Monday.

To learn more about Strength Cards, visit