Today we eat cake.
Today we eat cake and talk. We talk of the past, the now and of the future but the most important thing is that we talk.
The people we work with and those that work for us are from all political parties and some of none. The people who attend the workshops we run are the same; some Tory, some Lib Dems, some Labour and there are Greens in there as well. All corners are covered and there is still space for those without political interest to fit in as at our place of work we have a ` No Politics` in the workplace as we have seen the divide over the last few years and the space created in non judgemental. For some, including me, this is a challenge at times but the benefits of implementing this are massive.
The symbolism we have in eating cake today and the not in celebration way of victory but more in so with an eye on the future and this can be found in the conversation we have while eating. There is no pointing blame, there is no ` I told you so!` and what we find while we talk is resolution. We find ways to heal, to bridge gaps and to find new beginnings. We are not planning on coming back bigger and stronger because we are that already; we talk about the opportunities that will be presented to us, the hurdles we may well have to jump over and the continued strong benefits we bring to communities. We talk of new beginnings and how we will fit in with the disruption and change that lay ahead. We are not talking about this in a bad way but more in an excited way, more resourceful and the positives that disruptive change can bring. Our talk revolves around resourceful futures, the opportunities that we can create and the position we are in to take the lead and direction that many are now looking for.
The divide that has appeared in the community, in families and right across the UK will need to be filled and we need to come together and work together. Nothing positive will come from a divided society and today we bridged that gap in some small way by eating cake, not humble pie and we have no regrets for doing so.
I dare you, start that conversation, bake that cake and start the healing process. Nothing will change else and by doing this you can find the change you want to see.
Be the change you want to see.
2 phrases i picked up on over the last few days, Material Obesity and Stuffocation.
Basically being snowed under with too much `stuff` or the constant need to buy and surround ourselves with `Things`.
As I grow older I notice how society has changed, how more unconnected we are in a more connected world and how we have exchanged `things` and `stuff` for people.
Maybe its got me thinking because today is Black Friday and the internet is full of promotions to buy and keep buying more `Stuff and Things` as to reach that point of Material Obesity or maybe it because what we are doing ourselves with the TeX shop this time of year and The Time of Gifts. Our Time of Gifts are exactly that, Gifts and we give away for free. Yesterday it was coats and 17 have gone so far this week, today it is bedding and curtains and a lot has gone off the shelves in just a few hours. We ask for nothing in exchange but we often find that we get repaid over and over again through smiles of gratitude, a small donation of fabric to help in our textile workshops or even a pack of biscuits and this is far more than we expect.
I guess what i am getting at is waste and the situation society is in regarding waste. Capitalism will often drive the direction that increases waste through promotion and sales where we find we try to enable people to cut waste and constant consumption through gifting, swapping and sharing more in our communities. Our Time of Gifts being a good example and how we go about things through encouraging people to do different, free goods on the high street and we hope a happier community for it. If it sets up a happy day for someone, if it enables someone to have curtains instead of blankets in the windows then surely its a good thing and something we should all be doing, helping others a little less fortunate and especially this time of year.
I know i am often bogged down and over come with Stuffocation and to be able to de clutter at times is good for me; it like lifting that heavy, wet overcoat from your shoulders and the relief that comes with it and if i can help others in doing so, helping them by helping me, then its not a bad thing at all.
So today, you can keep your Black Friday and Material Obesity. I`m offloading, sharing and giving away the extras and I hope in doing so I can help others just that little bit.
We had some fantastic news in the last week and from Carling who are supporting `Made Local` and we have been lucky enough to be awarded a fund to get us mobile. The #madelocalfund will enable us to get out into the community and deliver workshops and events in new areas and help bring more people together through textiles.
Semble who are working with Carling on the Made Local Fund have been absolutely brilliant in this and since the award have guided us through the next processes and will be coming to join us in workshops to celebrate the award!
We simply cant thanks both Carling and Semble enough for this award as it will really make a massive difference to what we are all about. It creates more opportunities for those in the community; it will help bring volunteers in and increase hours for staff. Our TeX project will also be able to make pickups and deliveries of the waste textiles that would normally be sent to landfill as now we can use this in more and more workshops.
We are in the stages of planning our celebration event with Carling Team that will be held in January in a pub somewhere local and we will update as soon as we know so you may have the chance of coming along and joining in.
If you would like to find out more about the Carling Made Local fund then the link is here
A big thank you for all that attended the event on Saturday and i feel it was quite exciting for the future and the Tour Visit. As we were Co Hosts and our main part was to bring people together for the event, we think it went very well and the feedback was brilliant. We are now going to record and share with you the feedback and the outcomes fro mthe day + those that couldnt make it and their inclusion that was given before the event.
If you would like to be on the email list of updates and next actions then please email Debbie Henderson BTC who will be very happy to add you to the list. email@example.com
We are keen for the community here to benefit in brilliant ways from the Tour Visit and we hope to be involved further with development and delivery on the entertainment. We will also be adding our ideas to the `thinktank`and would hope some of the ideas get accepted on the day but from what i saw on Saturday there will be some very good competition for what goes on. As far as we are concerned ` as long as the community here are included and take part then we are happy` Its going to be fun to see what goes on and actually what 30,000 people look like in our town center !
Again, Thanks for coming, i hope you all enjoyed the food as much as the girls enjoyed cooking it and we hope to see many of you again at the next shaping event that we would hope happens in January.
Via Bodmin Town Council who wrote;
Cornwall will host the Tour of Britain for the first time in September 2020. The Grand Depart of next year’s race will see riders travel 170 kilometres through the Cornish countryside, starting in Penzance and ending in Bodmin. On Saturday 16 November, members of the Town Council’s Promotions Committee and Cultivate Cornwall jointly hosted an engagement event to discuss the opportunities this presents.
We would like to thank all the organisations who attended for their enthusiasm and wonderful ideas. We know that some organisations were unable to attend but are still very keen to be involved. This was a very successful event and thank you to Cultivate Cornwall who provided a fabulous lunch for everyone courtesy of ‘Try Thai’ street food.
We plan to hold another Shaping event in the New Year when we will have more detailed information from ToB organisers.
Over the Bank Holiday weekend we took time out from our very busy lives and made the bases of a film aimed at promoting Circular Economy in Cornwall.
We were quite surprised at the end result and in what we will use as part of an application into our search for funding to help us make a full docu-film on the subject in Cornwall.
Anyhow, here are the results from that weekend. Its Raw, its edgy and some might not like it but the truth is... its us, its what we do and its worth a view as you just might like it..c
Today is a day that brings smiles and hopes to our CIC.
Today is the day we open our second shop on the high street and its all very exciting.
This shop is different to the one we took on in February 2019 with that one being aimed at communities and bringing benefits to those people in the community.
The new shop is aimed more at production and industry and will be promoting Circular Economy, waste reduction and how this benefits the community of Bodmin and further afield.
The simple act of taking on a second shop brings benefit in itself by filling those gaps and promoting healthy high streets. The shop had lain empty for around 8 months and although not a long time, it is central; it is now a hive of activity.
The equipment to fill it has been a journey in itself with borrowed, donated and bought at cut price enough industrial sewing machines to be able to kick off production in a short period of time. The short term aim is to increase income for this space and although production has started we think it will be 6 months before sustainability is achieved and a year before any serious profits are felt.
Profit is often not the main aim for many CIC`s and they are often community centred, as we are, but profit will need to be found in this arm of our cic / social enterprise as we try to come away from being less reliant on funding and grants in the future. We believe that profit for purpose is a good think and that any profits made from our work in the Circular Economy can and will go back into the communities we work in.
Setting this up in an area that is of social deprivation and has suffered from little investment in the past can only be a good thing as it will create those jobs and opportunities that are often missing and in high demand. Paying a wage that can be lived on is also a very important part of the structure of our organisation and we have set out clear goals to be able to do this.
At present we are in serious talks with numerous companies based in the SW who are looking to find ways to reduce their waste textiles either through their production methods or through their end user waste. We offer a solution that not only offers real benefit to them but to the communities we are based in. This tells a great story and a `Win Win` for everyone involved. The benefit to companies involved with this is often very financially favourable as they eliminate or reduce their waste costs whilst the environment is gains from diversion from landfill and incineration as at times this for some has been the only other options.
We still have a long way to go before we are fully sustainable and the journey there will be interesting and its including employing more staff, working with more partners on waste reduction and actually fully equipping the space we have creating in our vision on bringing Circular Economy to the high street.
If you would like to find out more, reduce your textile or other waste, join us in creating a future that is both meaningful and of great purpose while simultaneously building more resilient and stronger communities, then get in touch or better still, come and join us and see how we are doing things.
Join us to celebrate the amazing things happening in Cornish communities and create a shared imagination of what the future could look like!
About this Event
What if we could see all of the positive things happening in communities across Cornwall? What if we were all connected, and could share ideas, resources and questions? What would that look like, and what would it take to get there?
All are welcome to this free event to celebrate the often invisible people, projects and ideas which make our communities so special. You'll get inspired by people you've never met before, make new connections for sharing advice and support, and be invited to imagine what the future of communities in Cornwall could be.
The event will be fun, friendly and relaxed, with a mixture of discussions, talks and activities.
We'll provide a lunch (with vegetarian and vegan options), and to ensure that the free places are held for community members, we ask that anyone coming in a professional capacity donates £10 for their food.
While the event will take place at the Visitor Centre, you are welcome to explore the site after 4pm, before Eden closes at 6pm.
For the tickets please go here
Over the last week we managed to spend 5 of those in a field in west Cornwall. Healey`s Farm was the venue and the Cider and Music Festival was the event.
This little festival has grown over the years but it has kept it soul and friendliness well intact. The fun starts for the public at mid day on Friday and its all over by midnight on Sunday. What goes on in-between those times is epic, is fun and is what is just needed after a long and hectic summer in Cornwall.
We go down on the Thursday to set up as we have a 3 meter x 6 meter marquee that we dress with lights, carpets, wall hangings and we even bring the leather sofa with us! This year we had a better idea of what to expect and we were well prepared for it. Stock had been made and created over the last few months, ideas had brought new workshops into life and we had a WOW with us this year to help us along in the form of a Solar Powered Sewing Machine !
With the help of a friend who managed Solar Power Farms across the UK, he managed to help create a Solar System that would power our Sewing Machines, off Grid and just about anywhere. The system would give us around 18 hours continuous energy with sun and years with. We needed it for the weekend and it did just that, it powered all our repairs and workshops over the weekend and all topped up by the Sun of which we had in large amounts. To say it was fun would be an understatement, as it grew lots of interest, requests to replicate and increased both repairs and workshops due to it being unique. I mean, who wouldn’t want a go on a solar powered sewing machine, in a field, in west Cornwall while listening to great music and drinking pineapple Rattlers on draft.
What we like most about this festival are the people who attend. (Although the organisers are kinda cool as well). The families who turn up seem to bring big smiles from miles around and really are interested in what we do and they turn up and join in. They like what we offer and we know this because they not only tell us but the participation we receive grows each year.
Headline acts this year were The Zutons and Reef and they rocked! It seemed like the whole audience knew and sang along to the bands and huge applause came after the songs. Once they were over there were Silent Discos, Secret Gin Gardens and other hangout found via going through wardrobes (thoughts of Narnia appeared) dotted all out the event site. Day time activates included the Rattlers Olympics, children play areas, foraging, yoga, sofa racing all mixed in with such wonderful street food from vendors. We think the Thai food was the best and the coffee from the airstream was hard to beat but that was only our opinion as the other traders seemed to have full lines of people most of the time.
All in all we simply had the best of time there and hope we get to go back next year.
We have just spent the day plotting and planning the delivery of new workshops in Wadebridge.
With the fantastic the support of Wadebridge Town Council and the determination of Robyn Harris, who will be heading up the workshops and activities there, we will now be able to start delivering textile related workshops that will be in the heart of the community and for the community. Robyn is best placed for this we believe as she spends her time as a local councillor finding ways to bring benefit to those living in Wadebridge and when she is not doing that then she is sewing and creating magic from textiles.
The workshops we will be holding can be found in the town Library from October and our menu of activities are below. The funding to enable this to happen has come through our Reaching Communities Award from The Lottery and it is for exactly this, Reaching Communities.
If you would like to take part, join in or simply anything else please message us to see if we can help.
These activities we hope are just the beginning and if the initial demand continues or grows we hope to have a place full time in Wadebridge so if you come along and support it then that just might happen.
Today started with some great news, I (Harry) have been shortlisted among 3 finalists from across the UK for Young Leader of the Year in the Groundwork Community Awards. I have been invited back to the London in November for the award ceremony, clearly last year we didn’t offend anyone with our more radical views, to the point that once again I will be hosted for an evening of celebrating all the great community work happening across the UK.
Everyone seems to ask the same questions; how does it feel? To be honest, I don’t know, I wouldn’t have said the news has sunk in yet and as I have some time off over the next few weeks I am sure my opinion will change as I reflect on what this could mean to me. For now, it feels great, after countless sleepless nights, added stresses and months of living on the breadline, recognition for my drive to make change and the efforts I have been putting in make it all worthwhile. Myself and for that matter, everyone that we work with, very rarely get opportunities to celebrate what we have achieved so, we do find awards are a great way of rewarding ourselves, from the networking and connections they provide to the opportunity to go somewhere out of the normal routine is a brilliant way to celebrate our success. While the further credibility awards like this bring, help position us well to expand our work and grow the positive impact we have on our community, it also allows us to have a greater influence on key decision-makers, making it much easier to bring about systematic change.
As I write this blog my excitement is growing and I am very much looking forward to the ceremony, seeing those from previous years again and meeting many new faces. It’s a great feeling to think that my work has inspired others and that I have been able to support numerous young people in realising their vision and aspirations. This year has definitely been a transformative one for us at Cultivate Cornwall and without support from people like The National Lottery Fund, my amazing team of mentors and Eden Project Communities, just to name a few, I struggle to see this becoming a reality. It has shown me the importance of surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and without their helping hand, taking the leaps forward that have amounted this year, would have never been possible. Yes, I am sure we would have progressed and achieved some great results but, to this scale and with such an impact, I find it hard to believe.
But this is still only the beginning, at the end of the day, I am only 23 and hope that each year that passes I can have a more substantial positive impact on the communities we support. Plans are in place for progression over the coming years and I have some big ideas that I hope to realise. To date much of our work has benefited local communities so next I want to look at how to generate change on a regional, national and international level as that is what is needed. The challenges faced by us all, particularly the younger generations are unprecedented and require a shift in almost every aspect of modern-day life, I have now shown that we can lead this change on a local level so next that impact needs to be scaled far and wide.
I want to finish by saying thank you to whoever it was that nominated me, this mornings email came as a pleasant surprise. This will help motivate me to continue the work we do, not that I was planning on stopping but, on those not so great days, this will give me something to look back on and reignite my passion and drive and as a reminder that what we are doing is so important to so many. Fingers crossed for the day but finishing in the top 3 in a UK wide award is good enough for me!
Our blog is designed to keep you up to date on Cultivate Cornwall news and all the different projects we are working on.