Viewing posts from: November 2000
13Mar
April’s Start – Up challenge ‘Making things and supporting mental health’
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Applications are open for Start – Up, a free 10 week course for 18 – 35 year old’s where students learn by setting up a community enterprise in a team.

Starting April 23rd, students will work on a challenge to set up an initiative inspired by the Frome mens SHED. Our new initiative aims to bring young adults together to connect to others whilst making products, crafts and art in the Remakery workshop.

The idea of this new Edventure start up is to:

  • Provide an inclusive and welcoming space for all forms of creativity and productivity.
  • Support mental health – we know that things like depression and anxiety are helped through connecting to others, being a part of something and keeping busy in positive ways.
  • Give people a platform to begin selling things they make and moving towards a meaningful livelihood.
  • Provide an ongoing, regular activity at Edventure for anyone aged 18 – 35 including past MAKE and Start – Up students.

The Frome mens SHED is based in the building where we run our Edventure courses.

Through coming together to do practical activities, SHED members meet others and get to feel a part of something.

“Mens SHEDs are community spaces for men to connect, converse and create. The activities are often similar to those of garden sheds, but for groups of men to enjoy together. They help reduce loneliness and isolation, but most importantly, they’re fun”.

The Frome SHED has inspired us to set up an equivalent for young adults. The student team will research young people’s needs locally as well as similar projects in other places. With this information they will design and set up a weekly event.

A team of Remakery start up students in workshop

We imagining that during these events our community workshop and co-working space will be filled with people doing things like woodwork, metal-work, clothing upcycling, screen printing and painting.

Although the initiative will not be directly focussed on mental health, we would like it to support mental health. Most people through their lifetimes experience some form of mental health challenge, in particular young people.  We would like this space to be somewhere where people can be open about what is really going on for them in their lives.

Edventure also wants to support people to create livelihoods that matter to them and we know that there are many young people who dream of making an income selling the things they have made. Part of the students team challenge will be to find avenues for the makers to sell their creations.

Through this challenge, students will get the opportunity to go through the stages of setting up a social business – from market research to business planning, from generating ideas to project planning, branding and launching the idea. All of this whilst learning to work in a team and step into leadership.

We are looking for 18 – 35 year olds who are up for a challenge and want to make this idea happen. To find out more and to apply click here. If you’re interested in this project and would like to get involved in other ways please email [email protected]

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30Jul
The Edventure Residential – A course highlight
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At the end of each Start – Up course, the student team and staff go away for a few days to reflect on what has been achieved, what has been learned and to celebrate achievements.

For many of the students this is a highlight of the course.

Julia who took part in the Spring 2018 course has written a story about their teams residential which took place in Dorset.

The Edventure 10 residential

Week 10 of the Start up course felt like it was waiting for us just around the corner. After 9 intensive weeks, developing the Edspace project, learning various aspects of setting up a social enterprise and organising one big final event, the Edventure team had booked three days away with the students to wrap things up.

On the Monday morning we all met at the Welsh Mill Hub tired from the previous week but excited for the week ahead. We planned the food menu for the week, made a quick stop to food shop before heading south to Monkton Wyld Court in Dorset.


Monkton Wyld is a beautiful community centre set in a large country house, in the idyllic landscape of Dorset. It’s a place that focus on sustainability and low impact living, has a wonderful edible garden and some very cute farm animals. It is also located a stone throw away from the infamous Jurassic coast. Needless to say that our time was away was therefore shared between some down time at the farm, cooking some excellent meals, strolling along the beaches and cliffs of Lyme Regis searching for fossils and even a quick dip in the sea for the bravest!

However, the residential trip was not just all about leisure time. Our first evening we had a feedback session around the fire place together with Johannes and Amelia, followed by some future thoughts for Edspace.


The following morning we did a timeline walk, going through the course as a whole. The afternoon was spent on the beach, reflecting over the previous weeks, collecting the gold dust of what we had achieved and learned at Edventure. Graham joined us in the evening for another great meal and an evening surprise organised by Amelia and himself. Not much will be said about this in case future students read the blog apart from the fact that it was very exhilarating!

The next day we did some reflective drawing, had one-to-one sessions with Amelia and Graham talking about our future steps and eventually gathered as a group to talk about our future ideas and how we could help each other to develop them.


In the evening we celebrated with our final meal together and later gathered around the fire with the Monkton Wyld community for some beers, popcorn and acoustic guitar playing by Graham and Simon, one of the staple members of the community.

Thursday morning marked the end of the adventure. We tidied up the space and drove back to Frome in a rainy and gloomy morning. Back at the Welsh Mill Hub we said shared our last cup of tea together as the Start Up course students before braving the torrential rain into the next chapter of our own adventures.

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07Jun
Replicating Edventure – starting in Salisbury
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We are very excited to announce the launch of  Edventure Salisbury, who, in partnership with Quench Salisbury,  will be running the first Edventure course outside Frome this October.

Applications open June 6th June for Salisbury’s pilot 10 week course for 18 – 35 year olds. A student team will be setting up a Community fridge. They will be working alongside the Pantry Partnership, a social enterprise transforming lives with food.

The Edventure model has been said to “suck the life back into towns”. When a team  of young adults set up a community enterprise, they form networks and connections which often lead to opportunity and employment locally. Having gained Start – Up experience and confidence, a young adult is more likely to find employment or start an enterprise, that contributes to the local economy.

We would like to see more small towns thriving. For this reason, we have been working towards replicating Edventure since soon after we began 6 years ago. During these 6 years we’ve tried out different models and have evolved what we offer to create a replicable blueprint. Johannes Moeller, the MD of Edventure Frome received the Un-ltd Grow-it Award to help finance the pilot program in Salisbury.

This is not the first time we have successfully shared our work. Student teams set up the first Share Shop & the first Community fridge in the UK and over 400 people across the world have downloaded ‘ How to guides’ for setting up their own.

Over the coming year we will run two 10 week Edventure courses in Salisbury and after this we will reflect on what we have  learned and explore the feasibility of a social franchise or other means of sharing our work.

If you might be interested in setting up an ‘Edventure’ in your town, please get in touch  and we will keep you in mind next year when we start thinking about where to go next.

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06Jun
A clothing exchange with a difference! Announcing the theme of September’s Start – Up course…
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How much do you spend more on clothes?  Would you admit to being at least somewhat addicted to ‘retail therapy’ ? Is your wardrobe full?

Students on Edventure’s next Start-up course will work alongside two ethical fashion experts Liz Parker and Lizzie Harrison to develop a ‘Collective Wardrobe’ for Frome.

Starting September 10th, a team of 18 – 35 year olds will spend 10 weeks developing a series of clothing exchange events with a difference, aiming to be a practical, ethical, fun and affordable way for the people of Frome to break dependence on chain retailers selling poor quality clothing that all too often ends up in a bin.

The problem is global. In 2016, UK consumers spent £68.1 billion on new clothing and footwear. A study showed that 18-24 year olds in particular have succumbed to the temptation of impulse buying and ‘fast fashion’: cheap, low-quality yet trendy clothes produced by big global retailers, which they are likely to discard after 1 to 5 wears. Documentaries such as ‘The true cost’ and ‘Machines’ expose the the fashion industry’s unethical approach and environmentally devastating impact. 

There are however, more hopeful clothing trends emerging. Increasingly  people are reusing, repurposing, up-cycling, charity shop trawling, jumble sale rummaging, clothes borrowing, vintage shopping and clothes swapping. When buying new things, many people are asking where things come from and making ethical and sustainable choices.

Clothing libraries operate across Sweden, even in smaller towns. Much like Frome’s Share Shop, they require users to buy a membership allowing them to borrow clothes for a limited period of time. This is not only happening in Sweden, similar borrowing initiatives can be found across the the world. Here in the UK there are multiple clothing rental apps, websites and shops including Girl meets Dress.

As well as clothes swaps that might happen in living rooms between friends, larger scale clothing swaps are organised across the UK. Examples include the charity exchanges Frockswappers  and Swap in the City, who run upmarket clothing swaps, calling the activity ‘Swishing’. 

Lizzie Harrison was a founder of the Leeds community clothes exchange which was featured in the Guardian. She and her business partner Liz Parker will both teach on September’s Start-up course. They have drawn inspiration from existing clothing exchanges, clothing rentals and libraries, and want to try out a new model here in Frome in collaboration with Edventure. Lizzie brings several years’ experience of community based activist interventions using fashion design as the vehicle for change alongside her fashion product business Antiform. Liz coordinated Fashioning an Ethical Industry’‘, a project that supported a network of sustainable fashion educators.

Through the process of setting up this clothing project, students will get the opportunity to go through the stages of setting up a community enterprise – from market research to business planning, from generating ideas to project planning, branding and launching the idea.

We are looking for 18 – 35 year olds who are up for a challenge and want to make this idea happen. To find out more and to apply click here. If you’re interested in this project and would like to get involved in other ways please email [email protected]

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03May
The MAKE students present – “May Contain Wood”
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A message from Zach on behalf off the MAKE course student team.

“May Contain Wood” consists of 6.5 young local wood lovers under the wing of master woodsmith (Harry Samuel). As part of the MAKE course, we have prepared a stalls worth of hand crafted goods within a time frame of 3 weeks whilst enjoying ourselves at Edventure. Please come and visit our stall at the Frome Independant Market this Sunday. 

 

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13Feb
Week 2: Discovery
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Written by student Rory.

Edventure 10 has come back together for week two, bundled up against the frosty morning air, but brimming with energy and ideas from the events of our first week.

We have now had the chance to settle as a group, learned about the history of the project and the parties involved so far, hosted an event in which we talked to interested members of the community, and ended the week by looking inwards on our personal goals for the course.

Now was the time to further our discovery into the possibilities and parameters for our challenge. Maxine (our facilitator for this week) started our morning check-in with some dancing and stretching to loosen us up, ready for the next steps. 

After that, we learnt more about the accreditation of the course, and then moved on to design thinking.

This is a process has a lot to it (the full workbook is 80 pages long!), so we watched a brilliant 80s American news segment about a group who were showcasing the design thinking process by developing a shopping trolley. It was led by a guy who looks a bit like Ned Flanders from The Simpsons and sounds a bit like Kermit the frog from The Muppets, and through this session we learned the importance of:

  • Having a diverse group of people with different experiences and methods.
  • Brainstorming ideas quickly and getting them written down, without initial judgement of those ideas.
  • Having a facilitator to keep the creative chaos in check by time-keeping, giving gentle reminders to keep on track, and to ensure everyone gets an equal chance to present.
  • When doing research, talk first to people who might be ‘experts’ on the area you’re working on.

One key phrase I took away from this was “Fail often to succeed sooner”.

To use this process ourselves, we brainstormed ideas that came out of the soup event and our existing knowledge of the project. We split our thoughts by evaluating what we know and what we don’t know, in order for us to clearly see what research would be needed. What parameters are we already constrained by? What are some of the riskiest assumptions we might make?

In preparation for a research presentation at the end of the week, we had a big discussion about these key ‘don’t know’ points and people who wanted to contact, all linked to the three main sections of our brief, which we used to split out into sub-teams:

  1. Design and Build
  2. Business Development and Sales
  3. Social Model

We then went on a little field trip to go and visit the first prototype Edspace. It was a really valuable experience; we got to see the space close-up, ask about how it’s been to use, what issues they’ve had, what’s worked well, what would they change. We collected this useful information and headed back, once again energised by the real world application of this work.

On Thursday, each of our sub-groups delivered a short presentation and it was really interesting to see everyone’s findings and different presentation styles.

  • Social Model
    This group presented their findings on a whiteboard, each writing a different sub-section. Hettie talked about the interesting and varied details of planning regulations, as well as the potential opportunities to connect with other organisations such as community land trusts and homeshares. Adam discussed his findings regarding different types of tiny house communities, including one that houses homeless people, and elaborated on the benefits that these communities have experienced. Maxine revealed more details on the investment goals of Edspace and what relevant funding there is out there that Edspace may be able to use, as well as surprising many of us with the potential personal finance options for individuals buying tiny spaces!
  • Business Development and Sales
    Tom and Lawrence created a mind-map on the computer, which went out into five paths:
      1. Current business financials and business development goals
      2. SWOT analysis of Edspace (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
      3. Identifying customer markets
      4. Researching our potential competitors
      5. Branding methods
  • Design and Build
    This group (which I was in) did a powerpoint presentation in order to show large visuals and images that we referred to as we spoke. Niki presented first where we drew inspiration when thinking about the design, in particular the interiors, from narrowboats, container homes, and other tiny homes, and then went on to show what interior design concepts were most applicable to our project, and how we might do so. I (Rory) explained our parameters and xplained what I learned from speaking in depth to the craftsman who currently makes our Edspaces, in order to find out about the offcuts we want to use in the interior design, about the materials being used and the pros and cons of those, as well as the construction methods and the plans to streamline the process and how that would help.

We ended the week by discussing how that all went and touching on the idea of feedback culture, to ensure we continue to learn and grow in a supportive environment. Onwards and upwards! Next week we unleash more ideas!

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01Feb
Edventure 10 begins: A week in polaroids
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Welcome to the Edventure 10 team.

Edventure’s 10th Start – Up course began last week and a team of 8 students have begun a 10 week project to develop Edspace, a community enterprise building flat pack tiny houses.

The team is made of of 18 – 35 year olds who have experience in areas including film making, advertising, business, photography, the charity sector, economics, facilitation and community organising.

Please follow the teams progress over the coming weeks here and get in touch if you want to find out more or get involved with the project: [email protected]

Below is a polaroid pinboard documenting week 1 of the course created  by Students Niki and Tom.

 

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25Jan
What the Edventure 9 team achieved in 9 weeks
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Written by Student Ben Goody.

The end of our project came so quickly. This week we finalised each of the parts to make a complete whole, as well as planned and smoothly executed an event at which we fed, presented and partied with all our supporters.

This event was special to us because it represented the culmination of 10 weeks of hard work and it was a first chance to show the community what the future of the SHARE shop will look like and to receive their feedback.

However, we realise that not all of those who wish to support SHARE and Edventure could make it to the event. So, for those of you who missed it, here are our major achievements and the changes that you can expect to see in the new and improved, local, library of things:

  • A new layout and revamped appearance

After tireless hours and a couple of late nights ( one with cider and chips), we finally finished redesigning the layout of the shop.

Upstairs now has new storage units and as a result it is more spacious and easy to find things. The work bench for fixing workshops is also upstairs, giving more room for storage downstairs and more space to work upstairs.

In the shop, there is a new desk area, new storage areas – a ‘garden shed’ area and a pallet wall – as well as a more clear window display, so that the many people walking past and looking in the window get a clearer idea of what the shop does.

  • A new referral scheme to help those with financial difficulties in the local community

We knew that SHARE has a lot to offer people, and that this was especially true for people in financial difficulties. One of our main missions became to build upon community partnerships to organise a referral scheme so that we could offer use of the SHARE shop for free – with no barriers for those who need it.

SHARE can give people access to things that they can’t afford, save people money, as well as making ‘sharing and borrowing’ the new ‘buying and throwing away’.

Making SHARE available to everyone will also create greater social inclusivity – a win-win scenario for our current members and the Frome community.

If you would like to support us in this mission, please visit our crowdfunding campaign.

  • A crowdfunding campaign

The crowdfunding campaign that we set up for SHARE was the cause of a lot of frustration and stress – making its completion a great achievement.

We wrote and rewrote the story, trying to convey the message in a way that demonstrated how much we cared about this cause and that was presented in such a way that meant the Frome community would support it, too.

We had a lot of fun building the video and spent hours filming interviews, scenic shots of Frome, and a ‘party’ dance scene. Editing came next – around two days of staring at a computer screen intensely.

And all that effort is paying off as our total money raised towards free memberships for those in need is slowly climbing! Even if it doesn’t reach its target, the campaign design was a great learning journey that we can draw upon in the future.

  • A volunteering scheme to complement our current volunteers

We knew that some aspects of running a successful project like the SHARE shop take a lot of time and effort. It’s not just about managing the day-to-day operations of the shop, but is a whole host of other things like marketing, social media, events and workshops, and more.

To free up Helen, Aliss, and the current volunteer team’s time to focus on running the shop, we have introduced a volunteer scheme for specific roles such as building a community around SHARE on social media, running repair and rehoming sessions, and doing research for the development of the shop.

We knew that this could be another win-win scenario because it could provide someone with valuable experience as well as help boost the social impact of SHARE.

  • A series of posters to spread our story

People want to hear more about SHARE! That was the feedback we got – a regular reminder of what items we have and to ‘borrow, not buy.’

We started to drive an ongoing campaign to reach the Frome community and expand our community through a collection of ‘sharing’ themed posters. The majority of the shop owners in Frome agreed to put them somewhere in their shops, and a few put them up more permanently in their window – an incredible response.

Check out some of our posters below and in Frome shops:

We have also printed these on quality poster paper and are offering them as part of our rewards for donating to the crowdfunding campaign.

  • A new website

The SHARE website needed a refresh and redesign. After 3 years it had become cluttered and hard to use for visitors and our team.

After one long weekend of staring at the computer, it was finished. We gave it a completely new design, with a new layout, new images, and new writing.

One thing that we noticed was that many of SHARE’s members had no idea that there was an inventory of all our items online. Although it is an easy to use way of checking if an item is reserved or in-stock, nobody was using it or knew it was there. One change that we knew needed to be made was to make it an easier and clearer route from the website homepage to our inventory.

If you are looking for more information on memberships, the history of SHARE, how you can get involved in our community, or want to check out what we’ve got, then please visit the site!

Conclusion…

What an epic journey it has been, and it all coming together quickly in one week. We started with a little knowledge and ended with a lot, and not only that, we helped move forward a movement for social good. We have helped towards the continued success of the first library of things in the UK and made a close support group of friends for the future in the process.

Here’s what each of the Edventure student team is taking away from the past 10 weeks:

Manda – “I will take away a greater confidence in my role in a group”.

Jasmine – “I learned that it is crucial to take the time to reflect, as a reflection deepens the learnings and our understanding of ourselves

Matt – “One of the most valuable things I have learned from doing a course at Edventure is the importance of putting yourself in roles outside of your comfort zone – of feeling the fear and doing it anyway, and surprising oneself at how capable they are at doing something they want to do, but may lack confidence in.”

Ruby – “Confidence in choosing correct solutions to set up my own business alongside a charity based shop.”

Ben – “I learned how to work successfully in a team and how important it is to have a supportive and encouraging team. Developing communication, group decision-making, and leadership skills has been invaluable.”

Finally…

Thank you to all our supporters and network that have helped us towards completing the project.

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05Jan
Jazzy Jasmine tells the story of week 7 on the Start – Up course
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The story of week 7 on the ‘Developing SHARE’ Start-UP course

Jazzy Jasmine from Vietnam visited edventure for 6 weeks and worked with the student team to develop the Frome Share shop.

Jasmine is on a year long fellowship program visiting enterprise education initiatives across the world and hopes to set up something similar to edventure in Vietnam one day.

Follow Jasmines journey via her video blog

Hey! This is Jaz. I am on my one-year journey travel around the world pursuing my passion for social entrepreneurship. I spent the past 6 weeks working with Edventure, a school for community enterprise. On the final week of our start-up course, we went on a residential trip to reflect on the experience, and of course, had lots of fun and memories together! Check out the highlights and lessons learnt from this memorable trip!
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12Dec
Gain a Professional Qualification at Edventure
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Edventure has recently partnered with UWE and is now offering students on the 10 week ‘Start – Up’ course the opportunity to gain a level 3 ILM (International leadership management) qualification in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.

Applications are open till the 18th of December for January’s Start-Up course where students will get the opportunity to gain this widely recognised qualification whilst working on a project to tackle the housing crisis.

The education system, both University and school, works well for some young people and not for others, but even people who have thrived within the education system often leave without feeling clear or confident about their future.

People aged 18 – 35, with or without any qualifications are welcome to apply for the Start-Up course and will be given the chance to gain a qualification, equivalent to an A level, that is highly regarded by employers. It shows the ability to put enterprise theory into practice.

Edventure provides opportunities for developing practical skills, business skills, community engagement skills and the confidence to make ideas happen by offering students a real life experience of setting up or developing an enterprise to tackle local issues.

Due to high rent prices and low paid employment, many young people in Frome and across the UK cannot envisage getting a mortgage or saving for a house deposit.

This January, a student team will spend 10 weeks developing ‘Edspace’ – a social enterprise building flat pack tiny houses intended for use primarily as affordable living spaces for young adults.

The team will design and make a tiny house interior, develop a business model for providing affordable housing to young people and set up a campaign for raising awareness and promoting the use of Edspace tinyhouses as one viable solution to the housing crisis.

Applications are open till the 18th of January for the next Start-Up course which begins 22nd January and ends 29th of March.

To find out more and to get involved in the project please email: [email protected]

Click here to apply now 

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