Viewing posts from: April 2015
17Apr
Reflections by an Edventure Apprentice – week 4 & 5 of the apprenticeship
Updates

Chris, a current apprentice of Edventure, reflects on a couple of weeks of working as part of the team that has the challenge to set up “SHARE – a library of things” in a shop on the hight street in Frome.

 

WEEK FOUR: 30/03 – 03/04

Early on in the project, an expert came in to talk to us about social enterprise. She informed us that at certain points during any start-up a group will experience what is called the ‘groan zone’. For me, the ‘groan zone’ came on the week beginning 30th March 2015. The honeymoon stage of the project was over and it was time to make the transition from the planning stage to the doing stage. There seemed to be an overwhelming amount of tasks that needed to be undertaken and it didn’t help that a lot of the team were off sick. 

Thankfully, one good decision we had made previously was to separate all the many tasks into different categories, with each category overseen by one or two people. These categories and their respective overseers were the following: PR/Marketing (May and Jacob); Shop Design/Build (Dom and Zoltan); Engagement/Events (Biz); Systems/Finance (Maija); Brand/Logo (also Maija); Items/Volunteers (me); and Project Manager (Charley). The last role turned out to be crucial. It was so important to have a project manager monitoring the progress of each area, holding daily meetings and having an overarching view of the whole project. Charley integrated well into the democratic nature of the group, acting as a coordinator rather than a ‘boss’. As a whole this system worked smoothly, with the different work teams and the project manager seamlessly interweaving with each other.

My three highlights of the week were 1) the decision to name the shop SHARE: A Library of Things, 2) staying at the shop till 10pm on Wednesday to create an intrigue banner, which was particularly enjoyable because it showed us coming together out of a sense of enthusiasm for the project, rather than out of a grudging sense of obligation, and 3) April Fools Day, where we covered the floor of the Hub in hundreds of post-it notes, as a tribute to our dear course facilitator, Johannes, known for his tendency to incorporate post-it notes into every stage of the business planning process.

In regard to the smaller teams, Dom and Zoltan spent the week brainstorming ideas for the design of the shop, collecting images from Pinterest and creating a list of all the materials that would be needed for the shop build. May created a timeline for the PR/Marketing campaign, finalised SHARE’s key messaging and wrote a press release. Biz went to events like the ‘Money Matters’ event at the Cheese and Grain, Maija made a draft of the financial policy and I finalised a mail-out asking if people would be prepared to donate items to SHARE.

Despite all the progress described above (and perhaps we were too quick to forget our achievements), the group found the week challenging through being so thinly spread at times. At one point four people out of eight were off sick. The good news is that all the frustration brewing in the group was voiced at the weekly process meeting on Thursday afternoon. Some felt that there hadn’t been clear enough communication as to what the tasks were and who was doing what, and there was a general consensus that there needed to be a better planning meeting on Monday morning. I think this process meeting reaffirmed group unity, and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt this week, it’s that creating a sense of wellbeing in the group is perhaps more important than getting on with the tasks.

 

WEEK FIVE: 06/04 – 10/04

Moving on from the disharmony of Week Four, Week Five began much more cohesively. Biz organised fun activities to get the group going each morning, from dancing in SHARE with scarves around our heads to playing poo sticks over the River Frome. We also had a good initial meeting to discuss the tasks which had to be actioned that week. Charley, as project manager, facilitated this discussion brilliantly, creating a timeline for the week tailored to each person’s needs and skills. Finally, we worked in SHARE for the entirety of that week, which certainly improved our sense of togetherness. Sat around the table on our computers, we could get on with our individual tasks and share ideas when we needed to. 

On the Sunday prior to this week began, SHARE made its presence felt at the Frome Independent Market, thanks to Biz and Charley. People flooded in all day, adding items to our wish list and suggesting ways of making SHARE a dynamic shop. This is the really rewarding aspect of this project for us – engaging with the community and creating a space which will (hopefully) be a communal space long after we’ve gone.

During this week, Maija, with the help of her sister Ebanie, did a great job of designing the brand, utilising a programme that few else seem to know how to use: Photoshop. The brand now has SHARE written in white writing on an orange background, with images of tools, leisure items and household items displayed below. May got us launched online, setting up our Facebook account and building our website. Biz carried on with her role of engaging the wider community, networking with different organisations in Frome as well as creating a quirky postbox through which locals could post their ideas for the shop. Charley, as well as liaising with different groups, began the process of setting up SHARE’s database, using a framework from the sharing website My Turn. Dom and Zoltan began sourcing different materials, from pallets to paint to sanders, and I began collating information received from the many people who are prepared to donate items to the shop.

Like last week, we gathered at the shop on Wednesday evening, this time to scrape and level the uneven floor. With Bob Marley in the background and a couple of beers at hand, it was nice to be doing physical work after the conceptual work of prior weeks. It was also a relief to be starting work upon the physical transformation of the shop – with four weeks to go, the shop build was a priority. At one point, a kindly man came into the shop and told us what a great job we were doing, which spurred us on with greater enthusiasm. As I said earlier, the value of this project really lies in those little interactions with locals…

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15Apr
Job Opportunity at Edventure Frome – April 20th Application deadline
Updates

SHARE – A Library of Things 

Our most recent group of apprentices is currently setting up “Share – a library of things” in a shop on the hight street in Frome, due to open April 30th. We are recruiting for a freelance manager who will take over the running of SHARE from our apprentices.  The Job description is below. Application deadline is Monday, April 20th, interviews will be held on Wednesday, April 22nd.  The handover / start date is Thursday 30th of April.

To apply, please email your CV and a cover letter outlining why you are interested and what you could bring to the position to Johannes Moeller: [email protected]

For more information on the project, please visit the SHARE facebook page: www.facebook.com/sharealot

Share Manager Job description

Flexible, free-lance contract with Edventure Frome.

Salary: £ 8/hr

Hours of Work: 21 hours per week

Start date: April 30th, 2015.

Days of work: flexible, between Wednesdays and Saturdays during shop opening hours (tbc).

Responsible to: Energy and Recycling Officer, Frome Town Council

The purpose of the role

  • The shop manager will have direct responsibility for managing the Share Shop. This will include day to day running of the shop, recruiting and managing volunteers, recruiting and dealing with members, accounting and managing the shop’s budget and income and promotion. The shop is being set up to:
  • Promote and develop the sharing economy in Frome, i.e. increase the number of items shared and people participating
  • Reduce embodied carbon and waste
  • Increase community cohesion through members getting to know one another / supporting each other through sharing resources
  • Increase access for all, especially those on lower incomes, to a range of quality items
  • Promote repair and re-use where possible
  • Develop a replicable, sustainable model which other towns can follow
  • Success will be measured by the extent to which the job has enabled the project to meet these objectives.

Background

SHARE has been set up by Frome Town Council and Edventure, working in partnership with other organisations such as Sustainable Frome and the Cheese and Grain. The shop is a pilot and the terms of the lease mean that we can be asked to vacate the premises with a month’s notice. Experience of charity leases elsewhere indicates this doesn’t often happen but this eventuality needs to be incorporated into the design of the project i.e. it needs to be easily transferrable – physically and or virtually (i.e. through sharing platforms such as Streetbank).

Main responsibilities and key tasks

The Shop Manager will be responsible for:

Staffing the shop

1. Recruiting and managing volunteers to ensure the shop can be open at least three days a week

2. Ensuring that health and safety policies are in place to protect all staff and volunteers

Recruiting members

3. Promoting the shop to ensure the shop is well used and provides a useful service for those that need it most

4. Ensure that members are logged, provided with relevant information and sign appropriate forms

Stock management

5. Ensure that the shop has a wide range of useful items available for hire at all times.

6. Promote the shop to ensure new items are donated

7. Ensure items are in good working order (and PAT tested where appropriate) before being lent

 Budget management

8. Be responsible for day to day handling of cash, weekly banking and accounts.

9. Ensure the project is within budget

10. Explore income generating opportunities including funding to ensure the shop can become continue beyond September

Reporting

11. Provide monthly reports including a financial statement and monitoring of social and environmental impacts.

The Shop Manager will be responsible to Frome Town Council’s Energy and Recycling Officer and one of Edventure Frome’s Directors who will meet monthly to discuss progress and plan activities. The Recycling Officer will provide additional support around promotion and fundraising where needed.

General

  • The post holder has personal responsibility for safety in accordance with Health and Safety legislation and policies.
  • All staff and volunteers are required to abide by and promote equalities.
  • This job is a temporary position on a self-employed basis. The contract will be extended according to income secured.
  • The responsibility for the smooth running of the shop may require extra hours and hours outside of normal working times on occasion.

Person specification – Energy and Recycling Officer

  • Qualifications essential
  • Educated to GCSE level (including B in Maths)
  • Knowledge & skills (essential)

Evidence of:

  • Excellent project management skills (organisational, planning, budget and time management) Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to develop good working relationships
  • An ability to manage time and workload in order to be able to deal with tasks swiftly and effectively
  • A professional and courteous manner
  • A flexible approach to working weekends and evenings to coincide with events or meetings
  • Ability to use initiative and to be self-motivated
  • Decisive, logical thinking with creative problem-solving ability
  • Hands on and practical approach

 Experience (desirable)

1. Experience of running a similar project or shop
2. Experience of managing budgets
3. Experience of working as part of a team

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