We had an email today ...
Congratulations, I am thrilled to let you know that you are a Cornwall Sustainability Awards 2018 finalist!
The judges met today and worked through all the applications, carefully examining the merits of each one. The panel were blown away by the calibre of this year’s applications, which made choosing the finalists no easy task. In turn, this means that being a CSA 2018 finalist is a real testament to the quality of your sustainability work and your commitment to environmental growth.
We will let you know how we get on..
Last week we held our first big soup event, having trialed them in Bodmin, about a year ago we now felt this was the time to go bigger and better. That we certainly did! With £500 cash and 12 months of business support, training and mentoring provided by UnLtd up for grabs.
A community soup is an event where people come together to build contacts and share what work they are doing in the local community, all over a bowl of soup which was very kindly made and supplied by Keep Cornwall Fed who wanted to support the way we were bringing real community benefit. We find food to be a great starter of conversations so coming together in this way is an amazing way of building your network. This is followed by a number of pitches by community groups which the public then vote on, deciding who wins the prize money, and in our case the business support as well.
We wanted to make sure that the event would be beneficial to everyone who attended and not just the winner of the pitches so the event was not just about pitching ideas but also building connections and growing networks, helping us create a community of people working for the betterment of their communities that supports each other in taking leaps forward.
With SSE -School for Social Entrepreneurs, Par Bay Big Local, Eden Project Communities, local County Councilors among others in attendance the event also provided for the community groups and workers that attended the chance gain access to new opportunities and build their contacts, helping increase their capabilities as well as strengthening relationships between community groups and funders as well as promoting the support available that can help community projects expand their impact and potential.
The Group, Spy Squad, Gracefully Made CIC and Better Lives were the four groups that pitched at the event, for many of them this was their first pitching experience though, you would have never known. They were professional, clear and when questioned on their ideas everyone remained unflustered, an outstanding achievement in its own right. Weather they won or not, we are pleased that everyone found it a helpful experience.
Coming out on top of the vote and awarded with the £500 and 12 months support was Better Lives, a community support group for those struggling with mental health problems. “We are a new group which means this money will really lift us off the ground. We will be able to pay for training and DBS checks on all our volunteers instead of expecting them to find the money themselves.” said Jack, the founder of Better Lives.
“It’s important that our foundations are solid and our volunteers are looked after.” He added “The event was brilliant for all kinds of reasons but mainly boosted our confidence as a group and gave us a real belief in what we are doing. We gained some valuable contacts and the event helped us network for the future. An all-round pleasurable and motivating experience."
Jack says the support that has come from the soup was invaluable, as he prepares to facilitate the first public support group with the help of local volunteers this funding will allow them to focus on supporting the local community rather than trying to secure money to rent a room for their activities.
We are really happy that this event will help support a group like Better Lives and hope that the £500 will help them to achieve their ambitions. Jack done tremendously well, his ambition and drive to support those in his local community is inspiring and we hope that this result will allow him to take a big leap forward. We wish Better Lives every success with their Community Support Group, it's a brilliant idea and of course, we all have mental health so, good luck to them.
We want to help the people around us wherever possible and with a Community Soup we can not only support Community Projects with funding and business support but, we can also use this event to facilitate the building of connections, supporting others in working together for a greater impact. As a result we are pleased to announce that as this soup was of such huge benefit to those that attended, we now plan to scale it up and make even more of a difference, in Cornwall, with more regular Soup Nights and Community Networking Events planned into 2019."
If you would like more information about the soup nights, how to apply in the future or information about any of the groups who pitched for the money on the night then please contact us for more information.
And A couple of weeks ago we were approached by a fantastic org here in Cornwall and asked if we can help out in a time of need.
Little Wrens Wardrobe are a children's clothing bank for those in need and are based in Bodmin ( www.littlewrenswardrobe.co.uk ) and during the run up to Christmas they deal with a lot of referrals from social services and the foodbank among others.
This year they wanted to make it more personal, more uplifting to those receiving the essential items they deliver in their hour of need and this is where we came in and can help.
The need is for us to provide bags that Little Wrens can use when they pass over the essential items. Knowing the work we can do we were only to pleased to help and that we were asked. Our aim is to bring people together through textiles and this fits in perfectly with our aims. We can use this exercise to teach those who would like to learn, we can bring sewers together on a more social side and we can help people come together in ways that can combat loneliness and isolation while helping others in need.
We have put together 6 workshops over the next month to start things off. We provide the space, the machines and the materials to make the bags. Some of the materials we have been using are Liberty, William Morris Inspired fabrics and a whole host of good usable fabrics we have been stashing away for just this kind of purpose.
The first workshop session was on Thursday 25th October and will continue for the next 3 Thursdays at Cornubia in Par. ( Contact us for more information.) In addition and through another group of ladies who wanted to help out with the bags and aimed at tackling period poverty we have 2 workshops sessions in Bodmin on the 30th October and the 6th November. These Tuesdays sessions will be held in the Community Hub at Kinsman Estate and we will provide all materials, machines and refreshments for those that join in. All abilities will be made most welcome and our skilled teachers will have you making bags before the evening is finished. If yo uare an experienced sewer then you will also be most welcome and we do need as many bags as we can make.
Our first session brought in 11 people aged from 11 to 72 and we made 15 bags on the evening. It was fun, full of purpose and they all want to come back next week.
As part of a course I went on in April, I helped volunteer to run a Swish event in Sheffield. I knew then that this was something I wanted to replicate on my return home to Cornwall. The event was amazing! Run by Common Thread, their Swish was run monthly attracting as many as 100 people each time. The spirit of joy and support that brought the community together around a topic that I am particularly passionate about… sharing. I loved it and I knew you would too.
On my return home I know I had to find a way to make it work in a way that would be supported by the local community and also worthwhile for us. It took until September but, finally, our first Swish, held in Par on the 29th September, and what a success it was.
1 pm had arrived and it was time to open the doors, my first surprise a que of almost 50 already waiting to come in, with clothes to swap by the binbag, any previous concerns around if the support for the event was there was instantly shattered and in all 107 people turned up, not bad for our first swish, even if I do say so myself.
The rails were full, the atmosphere was buzzing and the people were great, helping out where they could. We could not have done it without the helping hand of volunteers and attendees, so thank you. The challenge was getting everything out on the rails fast enough, with so much more clothing than we had ever contemplated the pile was certainly getting out of control at times but, eventually, we caught up with the staggering 452kg of clothes that came through the doors.
Considering everything we learnt from our first Swishing Saturday, we are now ready to use everything we have learnt to make the next events even better. With that in mind it is with absolute delight that we can announce the next Swishing Dates which are Saturday 3rd November in Bodmin and Saturday 1st December in Par.
Our next Swish will be in Bodmin on the 3rd November. Contact us for more details and how you can take part.
One of the last events we took part in September was a Youth Exchange on an Erasmus + trip to the Czech Republic.
We had the great chance to take 4 young people out to to spend 8 days with 26 other youth from around Europe.
The topic was Sustainable Development and again the knowledge these people had on sustainable futures and development was amazing.
We were a mixed group but had one thing in common; the desire to make a better future.
We took an artist, 2 musicians and a chef who mainly cooks for refugees and the homeless and we found each could share experiences, teach new things and work together brilliantly especially when it came to their presentation to the group.
The week was spent learning about other cultures and countries including Poland, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic and us from the UK.
We shared knowledge, gained new insights, made agreements on actions we would take forward, realised the problems faced were not so different from country to country and came away feeling that the youth have the chance to make change.
The exercises we took part in were all run through non formal education and were delivered in a very professional way that often you totally forgot you were learning. The facilitators had years of experience in delivery and this is one of the best projects we have been luck to be in partnership with.
We will be involved with more in the future we hope, both training programs and youth exchanges so if you would like to be involved in the future either in the UK or in Europe then please contact us.
We got something to share and we are a little bit in shock about it to be honest.
We have been recognised as a community group who has seized the opportunity to add value to our work by engaging creatively with business partners.
We are delighted to confirm that we have been shortlisted as a finalist for a Groundwork Community Award in the Best community partnership with business category. We have been invited to join the awards ceremony, to be held at the House of Commons, Westminster, London.
We Are Going To London !!
This has been a UK wide community award and we feel very humble to be recognised for our work. We love what we do and we are still in a little shock about the selection.
We managed to get out and about again last weekend and what a time we had!
Little Orchard Cider festival was simply an amazing time for all involved.
There was 7 of us that went to mix in with nearly 5000 others at the festival, and we were mainly all involved with TeX – our textiles project.
Our set up was half for trade and half for workshops and repairs.
We traded from Friday until Sunday and for those 3 days we met so many friends, old and new, we laughed until our bellies ached and we ate foods from the four corners of the earth that included Pad Thai, Fish and Chips, Pulled Pork, Pasties and Nachos.
Our workshops we more aimed at children where we made pompoms, friendship bracelets and we painted faces- all for free and with them able to take away what they made. We also offered a free repair service that saw multipul bags, jumpers, shoes and we even had one man wear a tutu while we repaired his shorts.
Trade was so much better than what we thought, with our knitwear going down beautifully with the public alongside our wonderful hats that we make during the long winters in Cornwall. Unique, amazing, colourful were words that were heard often alongside the fast demand for business cards (that we actually forgot and hastily wrote out on request).
What these festivals mean to us is invaluable to what we do. It gives the makers the money they so often need to continue, it gives us the feedback we need to help find direction, it gives us the opportunity to get out and about as so often we simply can’t afford it due to living on such tight budgets and it gives chance to talk to people about sustainable fashion, industry waste and how we work to creating a circular economy. Things like Little Orchard Festival need to happen, not just for us to continue our work but simply for the fun it provides in the community, the way it brings people together and to remind us for just a short time that life is good and there are some beautiful people around.
We hope to be back next year as this year was such a blast !
Just over 12 months ago we made a film to promote Bodmin Town while it was undergoing major roadworks , a film that showed Bodmin was Open and whilst doing the film, through conversation with the local traders in one part of the town that was effected the most, Honey Fayre was born.
The conversations with the shop traders on the street told us that they wanted to increase footfall, that they wanted to highlight the area, its diverse independent shops and they wanted to break the negative talking down of the town. From a few coffees over a few weekends meeting them and listening to then and in return them listening to ideas it was apparent that the best way was to hold a pop up market that was youth centered with the addition of support from community benefit groups.
We spent a month marketing the event through the normal channels, we got young enthusiastic entrepreneurs involved and within a few short weeks we had a massive crowd who wanted the event and 21 traders who committed themselves to be there.
The week leading up we made flags and bunting to decorate, we met and spoke with community groups who would be there to promote their work and we built up a small army of volunteers to help with the day.
6 am and the morning soon came around to start it all off. The feedback from social media was so positive we just knew it would be well supported and we had so much lined up for the first market for many years in a town that desperately cries out for community events like this to happen.
By 9.30 the traders had turned up, a couple got last minute nerves and pulled out but it left with 17 stalls who had put in so much effort to trade their wears and creations.
We had music, the most amazing youth street dance ( KBSK ), food and fantastic craftwork from youth as young as 13.
The whole day was very well supported by the public and the community really came together to show support. The mayor even turned up to pay a visit as she was very much in favor of this happening.
The over all feedback is for more and it was heavily suggested that seasonal would be best to start off with and with this we are looking at holding another in the run up to christmas. This in itself will create a few problems with organising as the area is a wind tunnel at times but the desire to create a covered area / walk through was put forward and we are eager to explore this idea.
Trade was increased that day, one shop said they had doubled takings which to us was fantastic news. A young disabled chap who made fudge sold out by lunch time and he was simply over the moon with the interest. The kind messages of thanks from the young people was amazing though and with them asking if we could do this all again as this helped lift a great barrier for them when it comes to trading and testing their creations on the public.
So.. We hope to see you in December where we will grow off the feedback, involve more young people and do what we do best.. bring the community together.
If you would like to be involved with the next market, to trade, to volunteer, to offer support ( financial would be most welcome !) or if you know how we can create a covered walk way then please get in touch, message us and we will make this happen.
Thanks to all those that came and to Councillor Frost who believed in us enough to help finance a couple of gazebos that enabled people to trade.
Another date for your diaries - Saturday 8th September.
We will be running a pop up market - Honey Fare - on Honey Street, Bodmin.
We chose this location due to it being traffic free central in Bodmin, the independent traders are fantastic with so much to offer and its perfect for what we want to do.
The traders on the market will be Youth Enterprises, Social entrepreneurs or community groups. There will be bringing their locally made goods and services and it’s a great chance for them to highlight the fantastic work that they are doing.
The event has been made possible through a small amount of funding from Councillor Leigh Frost and supported by the Mayor of Bodmin Sara Kinsman as they are both very positive on promoting the great things about our town and the work we are doing.
We hope that this is the first of 4 markets we would like to hold each year and this can happen if it is supported by the community.
The venue is perfect for this with easy accessible parking, very supportive local traders and the fact that Honey Street is already pedestrianised meaning no road closures needed.
It’s been around a year in the making and after talks with the local and county council broke down last year it nearly never happened. However, after engaging with the local traders, youth and community groups they stressed how good this would be for them and we simply had to make it happen.
There is no cost for the market traders to be there as this will encourage more and it will give them the help they need to promote what they are doing as it is so often on a very tight budget.
The day will see some beautifully made crafts, fantastic mouth watering foods, music from buskers and street dance to set the atmosphere and entertain.
Come and join in, there may be space to trade if you fit the description above or just kick back, enjoy a little shopping, sample some of the great delights on offer and be part of the vibrant community of Bodmin.
We have been involved with Erasmus + for around the last 4 years either as participants, hosts or as partners on Erasmus + projects.
September will see our involvement enter a new experience with us being able to mentor a Young Entrepreneur from Turkey.
The Young Entrepreneur project that Erasmus runs is a fantastic opportunity for people to travel, learn and repeat on return to their home countries.
Yusuf will join us with the aim of learning and replicating part of our textile business back in Turkey on his return. Yusuf is from a family of Tailors and this will be the perfect opportunity to build on skills, knowledge and experience within the textile trade and for finding new opportunities in the future.
He will be with us for 2 months, staying with a local family to gain best experience and the whole program is funded by Erasmus and will give him expenses that will cover his stay, travel and living costs while here. Everyone wins on this program.
We also have another involvement with Erasmus during September and we will be leading a team of youth out to Czech Republic to take part in a youth exchange on the subject of food. The 4 young people will be meeting 38 others from across Europe in their first time visit to the country. The experience will see the participants look at food, the future of food and the differences in habits between the cultures. This again is funded by Erasmus and is aimed at creating new experiences and engagement for youth. Or part is mainly to guide them and offer support while they travel and find their feet in a new to them country. The experience is often a brilliant one and fun is high on the order of things.
We set off on the 22nd September for 8 days and really can’t wait as it will also be our fist time in Czech Republic and a country we have wanted to visit for a very long time.
Look out for updates, infoblogs and ways that you can join in on other projects with Erasmus.
Our blog is designed to keep you up to date on Cultivate Cornwall news and all the different projects we are working on.