A couple of months ago we welcomed a new director, partially hoping that the work load might get a little easier; well, we were a little wrong but for all the right reasons and we are now in a good place with lots more opportunities for community work within reaching distance.
To say we have been a little busy would be so far off the mark. In the last couple of months John has finished and passed his business degree at university; then getting to share one of his proudest moments, his graduation with his family. His 12-year-old son was his inspiration to going into higher education and then sticking at it, through all the ups and downs. At Cultivate Cornwall we are particularly passionate about raising aspirations and this is an amazing example. John’s son now comes from a family where both mum and dad has a university degree. John is an inspiration to many and has opened the eyes to many people that anyone at any time in their life can opt to grow their skills, achievements and qualifications. John comes from a background quite the opposite but now, well, that’s all changed. Congratulations John, you are a credit to yourself, your family and friends.
Not only has John been busy getting his Bachelor Degree but he was also the main person behind Bodmin’s Share Fair. This you likely have heard about through past blogs and social media posts. The event was fantastic and showed what can be achieved when the community comes together. What the team put together went beyond our initial expectations and we cannot thank those that attended and took part enough, you really did make it a special day. In the coming days, we will be uploading a video of the event so make sure you check our blog and social media so you can check it out.
During the Share Fair Lin with some help from John undertook some community organising with Devon and Cornwall Community Organisers. Far too often you see the words `Community Led` projects, events, etc. when in reality the community is the last to be included. With community organising the opposite is the case; through asking, talking listening and engaging the community you can easily find out a few simple things; what they love, what they don’t like and what do they want to see change in their communities etc. The best part though is finding out what the community are they prepared to do to make those changes and that is often what makes this different.
Anyhow, Lin comes from 4 years of Community Organising and we need to have a coffee with her to find out what was highlighted by the community and how we can help implement and ideas and changes that have come to light from the community organising. Although, from our discussions with Lin and the community on the day some ideas have already been considered and some follow-up has started, including planning future markets, organising community support groups, providing carnival clubs and much more.
We believe the outcomes of the Share Fair will reach deep into our community and there will be changes and progression as a result. One of the main things uncovered is the uneven field for community groups that work in Bodmin. An example being the charges placed on Cultivate Cornwall for the Share Fair which were seen as unjust by so many (including us).
The Share Fair was to bring our community together after a rotten year of roadworks and change that has split our community. Originally the plan was to have a large parade through the town, taking in the new road and to bring our community together, shake off the old and welcome in a new beginning. Sadly, this didn’t work out but we done our best with the money we had despite the charges made by the Town Council.
In the end, it cost around £1000 to run the Share Fair which was the limit of what Cultivate Cornwall could afford at the time and although a fantastic Crowdfunding Campaign brought in around £500 towards this, John also personally contributed the differance as he strongly believed this would be a great benefit to Bodmin. After paying the council around £500 it left just enough to cover the other costs. In the end, we fed over 600 people, tea and coffee was given away by the gallon. For John, it was worth every penny; conversations were started and we are sure positive changes will be made and that is what is important.
Lastly the Share Fair has bought us to have a coffee and a chat with the Bodmin Mayor. Now, if you are from Bodmin you will know that we do have a new Mayor, Sarah and she really nice. The last one, many said they found unapproachable but Sarah is a Bodmin Girl and knows the town very well, she also cares deeply about making changes to improve the lives of all in the area. We invited her up to the Hub on Kinsman which was a bit of an eye opener for her and one that seems to have stuck with her. We would also like to express our thanks for the gifts Sarah presented to the hub, they mean a lot and have been very gratefully received. It just leaves us to find flooring so the kids don’t have to sit on concrete floor but that is another ask for another day. Anyone know Anika? could you ask her please?
Moving on and looking to the future.
You may have noticed that we have Travel Grants running at the moment. This is down all down to Harry. Now Harry rarely sings his own praises but we think he needs a special mention here and hopefully this will give you a better understanding of why we love working with him.
Harry is 20 and he is from down west, deep down West Cornwall. He knows the effect travel can have on people, how it opens doors, conversations, minds and hearts. He is very passionate about getting young people to travel for the reasons above but also to help increase employability, broaden horizons increase confidence etc. Now the thing is that in Cornwall, if your young you are often skint as well. It’s hard enough finding the bus fair to work, college or to visit your mum let alone a plane ticket to Rome for a weekend and this leads to why we love Harry.
See, he knows just how hard things can be here and instead of just sitting moaning like many might, he has got up, spent months planning, working, building and now running a Travel Grant fund so he can then give away money to young people to help them to travel. For those who simply can’t afford it.
Here at Cultivate Cornwall HQ we work mainly trying to tackle poverty being a barrier to progression and participation and this is exactly that; poverty being a barrier to the life changing opportunities and vast benefits travel can provide. So often you hear about all these schemes that amount to nothing and in fact are nothing more than lip service. Well Harry has seen a change he wants and knowing him and his personality we know he is not going to stop until he sees the change he wants. Working to the best of his ability to make this change happen. Young people will benefit from his actions in ways that they would have previously thought impossible. Although this may be the first year of the Travel Grants, we think they will run for years to come. Ace stuff Harry, you lead where others will follow.
Additionally, we have been busy writing applications for further community projects. We do have high hopes but also feel nervous whilst we await the results of the funding as competition has become incredibly fierce. The projects are all quite different but will mainly involve helping young people, volunteers and community groups and workers gain better skills, knowledge and understanding. At this time we have to be a little less vocal in sharing the ideas and information as this year we have had a few projects stolen from us with others going on and being paid to run them. It’s a shame as we don’t want to take a competitive approach but just want to help the local community as much as we can however it has become clear that some prefer to have more benefit for themselves than the community.
All we will say is watch this space. More information will be given further down the line.
We are going to make good things happen, for good people from a good place that need a good break.
Our blog is designed to keep you up to date on Cultivate Cornwall news and all the different projects we are working on.