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27Apr
Putting Plans into Action, Edventure Week 3
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Business strategy and user research in Week 3 of Edventure Frome’s Start-Up Repair Course. Advertisements, Making money and making a difference

Written by Student blogger Abigail with contributions from poet Van Wajsblum.

We began the week with business planning. Johannes and Adam introduced us to three different social enterprise models;

External: When business and social activities are separate. The business may or may not be related to the social enterprise.

Integrated: When a business is created as a funding mechanism to expand and enhance a social mission.

Embedded: When a business and social programme are one and the same, i.e. the business was created for a social purpose.

Johannes also presented ‘The Ladder of Social Engagement’, a way of visualising the interest of your target audience.

Van perfectly summed up the first thought-filled day with the following poem;

Monday

Sunshine beams goals we dream

Tantalizing future visions

Fixing ourselves, through expressive creation

Conversations and well informed talking

Form restless and sleepsome minds

Seeking the clarity of whatever we can achieve

Potential

Harmonious, Contemplative, Potential.

By Van Wajsblum

Meeting with Gavin Eddy

Gavin is a local entrepreneur who has launched many successful businesses including Forward Space (a series of creative ‘workhubs’ for entrepreneurs) and the Frome Independent Market. We met him on Tuesday to discuss ideas at Forward Space, Frome. It was great to get feedback from someone with such a wealth of local experience and ‘Start-Up’ expertise. He advised us to clearly define our target audience and to consider ways of maintaining interest in our project long-term.

Speaking with Ugo Vallauri

Ugo is the co-founder of The Restart Project, a London-based social enterprise that encourages and empowers people to use their electronics for longer in order to reduce waste. Ugo kindly agreed to discuss the Restart model and our project ambitions with me over the phone. He explained how ‘Restart Parties’ (community based, free electronic repair sessions) reduce the barriers to learning and help people recognise the value in repair. During the conversation he gave me many insights into running successful repair events. He also mentioned the importance of recreating trustworthy relationships with existing repair providers. Read more about Restart’s research on the matter here.

Talking to the public

Throughout the week we developed a questionnaire to ascertain what kind of repair service people would most benefit from. You can read our full questionnaire here and if you are from the local area please take a moment to fill it out. Your input is much appreciated!

Presenting pitch 2

Informed by the week’s findings we presented a preliminary business plan to the Edventure team on Thursday.

Our mission is to launch a socially inclusive workshop space together with an online platform/mobile app focusing on ethical repair. By empowering people through creative skill-shares, we hope to strengthen social bonds, increase practical skills and reduce the amount of perfectly reusable household waste.

Guided by the initial response to our questionnaire we aim to concentrate on 3 avenues;

Regular affordable, themed fixing sessions.
Weekly, reasonably priced workshop-based classes.
An online directory to connect professional and amateur fixers, makers and doers.
Something to take away…

A poem from Van written on Tuesday when it was his turn to make lunch for us all.

The Sushi Situation

Best laid plans mislead big dreams

Unexpected time frames

Not bad for a first try

Saved by an angel and enjoyed by All

Earlier formation of pitch perfect questions

An air of arrival at what we can be

Morning information from a man

With proven know how

Big ideas on a small scale

We must know who they are

The providers, users and sustainers

Of our world

Cater, nurture and help them succeed.

By Van Wajsblum

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11Apr
‘How might we…?’ Generating ideas in the second week of Edventure Frome’s Start-Up Course.
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Written by Abigail – Student Blogger (Abi’s Lost Threads – ethical fashion blog)

What makes a good question?

The week began with a communications workshop led by Amelia and Judy Barber (Author of the book – ‘Good Question’). We learnt how to use an open questioning method to quickly develop ideas. By asking ‘clean’ questions, which focus on the person you are talking to Amelia and Judy demonstrated how we can enable others to see their goals more clearly, simply by reflecting their ideas back to them.

3 day design challenge:

Start an enterprise which…

  • Works with the theme of repair and repurposing
  • Utilises the workshop space at the Welsh Mill Hub
  • Generates revenue and helps to grow a repairing economy in Frome

We began by considering the problems related to repair and then asked the question ‘how might we…?’ address them.
On the second day we began to visualise the workshop with expert carpenter Thomas who helped us define our ideas by asking the questions;

  • Why do we need it?
  • What is it’s purpose?
  • Who is going to use it?

After a final session with Dominic (fellow Hub user and owner of a Tech Start-Up) on user stories we were ready to present.

Our Vision

On the third day we presented our initial vision for the project to a team of local entrepreneurs.

To create an open and accessible workspace and online network which enables skill sharing, engages the community and fosters an ethic of creative repair.

The presentation went well (Josh even managed to fix our flip chart during the pitch!) and we received valuable feedback to work on next week.

Who holds the power?

The week ended with a session on group dynamics led by Lauren and Joana (past Edventure participants). The day began with a team challenge, which we then analysed together. Lauren and Joana encouraged us to think about how engaged we felt, how much we contributed and whether we felt we had power and influence within the group. This brought up a lot of interesting questions that allowed us to be more honest with each other. Louis summed up the feeling of the day by reminding us…

We all hold the influence and power when we feel empowered as individuals. 

Something to take away…

Our six tools for developing ideas;

  • Start with the problem
  • Find Experts
  • Be open to creative chaos
  • Fail Often
  • Stick to time restraints
  • Have Fun!

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06Apr
Fix That Thing; A students story of week one at Edventure Frome
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What is Edventure?

Edventure is a social enterprise designed to combine education with community-based projects that work for all. As students, over the next ten weeks we will design and launch a repair enterprise that responds to the needs of the local community. With the help of Edventure’s team of expert entrepreneurs, communicators and educators we will learn first hand how to turn an idea into reality.

Why Repair?

Consumer culture has taught us that it is often cheaper and easier to replace broken items than it is to fix them. This throw away mentality has led to an increase in unnecessary waste and a decrease in practical skills.

Extending a products life through repair helps to embed values such as ownership, creativity and problem solving in our material culture. From an environmental perspective it is also more efficient than recycling. For example, 20-30% of the material content of electronic items like phones is currently lost in the recycling process. As well as being ecological, a repair-based culture has the social benefit of connecting members of the local community and encouraging the sharing of skills. Our aim is to create a meaningful repair service that will contribute to a sustainable economy in Frome.

 What we have learnt so far…

 ‘A good idea today is better than a perfect idea tomorrow’

We began the week by sharing our personal stories, a common theme was the sense of being uninspired or let down by the current education system. The prospect of self directed, experiential learning felt exciting and new. During the week we explored where ideas come from and what makes them successful with Johannes and Adam. We met with Cara the Resilience Officer from Frome Town Council and Biz to discuss repair, learnt about communication with Neil and witnessed social enterprise in action at The Men’s Shed.

 Something to take away…

As team we came up with these 6 key ideas for effective teamwork;

  • Let ideas flow
  • Delegate
  • Offer advice
  • Get stuck in
  • Bring an open mind
  • Put things to the test!

Post written by Abigail, an edventure student with a background in fashion design. Check out her sustainable fashion blog: LOST THREADS

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02Feb
Frome Enterprise Support Day – March 17th & April 21st
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Free for people in Frome and Mendip who are involved with a local business, social enterprise or start-up, and want to network, have a day away from the (home) office, reflect, and gain relevant skills and advice to grow their initiative. The day is hosted by Edventure Frome – a school for community enterprise in partnership with Enterprise Mendip and Frome Chamber of Commerce.

The day includes free co-working at the Welsh Mill Hub, an informal skill share and networking session, and practical trainings in the afternoon on topics such as team & partnership building and crowdfunding.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

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01Dec
Spring Start-Up course to spur fixing in Frome
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Illustration by Jessica Balla | ballawaves.com

When things break it’s often easier and cheaper to throw them away rather than get them repaired.  But this means that things are being needlessly thrown away that could be given a new lease of life if we had the skills and the opportunity to repair them.

There was a time when make do and mend culture was thriving, but our consumer-focused lifestyles have made us lazy or less imaginative when it comes to fixing broken things, or there are financial and practical obstacles in the way. But there’s a new trend re-igniting our imaginations when it comes to fixing, and communities are coming together in the process to share repair skills and enable us to give new life to old objects.

Initiatives like the ‘Restart Project’ hold events that connect geeky technicians with broken electronics with happy results for their owners. At the same time this helps to build a sense of community around fixing. ‘Repair Cafe’ is a worldwide network supporting people to hold events to teach people to fix all kinds of things from clothes, to toys, to electronics and much more.

We’ve already seen some events inspired by this movement in Frome, with Edventure enterprise ‘SHARE – a library things’ running successful Repair Cafes. “It is great to see so many people taking the time to fix the things they love, instead of throwing them away,” said SHARE co-project manager Helen Johnstone. “Lots of our visitors got stuck in with the fixing too, and several left saying they’d learnt a few things they’d try at home.”

Sweden has set a bold ambition to reduce waste by providing tax breaks when things are fixed. The aim is to lower the cost of repairing goods and incentivise fixing. This will encourage the creation of a new repairs industry, providing jobs and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. “I believe there is a shift in view in Sweden at the moment. There is an increased knowledge that we need to make our things last longer in order to reduce materials’ consumption” said Per Bolund, Sweden’s minister for financial markets and consumer affairs. (Source: The Guardian)

Edventure:Frome is an organisation joining the dots between education, community and enterprise to set up projects that tackle a local need and support young adults to have a go at turning ideas into reality. The Edventure Start-Up supports 10 people aged 18-35 to set up a community enterprise over 10 weeks. So far, past student teams have set up SHARE: a library of things, The Welsh Mill Hub, the community fridge, the Roundhouse Garden by the river, and Edspace: providing affordable living solutions, amongst others.

This coming March, working with SHARE, Edventure students will be given the challenge to set up a community start-up that encourages people to fix their things – from clothes to electronics to bikes and board games.

There are various ways to get involved: If you’re aged 18-35 and want to take part in the course, get more information here; if you’re a fixer and would like to get involved email us at [email protected] and if you’re curious about the project and want to be part of it in other ways, get in touch or attend our upcoming event Edventure:SOUP at 7pm on 18th January at The Welshmill Hub, Frome, BA11 2LE.

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27Sep
Folk Tails – The MAKE Textiles challenge
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The MAKE students would like to introduce you their newly created brand Folk Tails….

15259388_10157820349420284_1655072788772700591_o Join us at the Frome Independent Christmas Market on Sunday 4 December, outside SHARE. 

We will will be bringing you a range of handmade dress-up and play accessories to tickle the imagination! Each piece is unique and has been lovingly handmade using locally sourced materials

Folk Tails has been born from MAKE, a short course with Edventure Frome which focusses around learning to design, make and sell ethical products, with a three week challenge to design and make a range of products. This time the focus has been textiles, with local maker Debbie Powell. We have been make make making in our studio at the Welsh Mill hub and can’t wait to show you our creations!”

The student team includes a future archaeologist, two felt/fabric artists (both mothers of 3), two graphic designers who want to start using their hands and a woman from Brazil who is enjoying doing something completely new.”

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Debbie Powell, a local craft teacher turned the Cave at the Welsh Mill Hub into a cosy, colourful workshop.

Debbie told stories from around the world to inspire the students and has taught them how to wet felt, needle felt and make Dorset buttons.

 

 

We would like to thank the other people from Frome who have volunteered time supporting the MAKE team. Like us at Edventure, these people understand that by supporting young adults to develop skills, confidence and their career, they are investing into the future of Frome’s community and Economy.

Here is an update from Tessa, one of the students:15317810_10157756223570123_8657695608661156300_n

“We’re half way through our final week of making. We have a lot of felt made and are ready to turn it into products. Our marketing and business skills are coming along nicely. I saw our new flyers today, made by another student, which was really exciting.

Earlier this week we launched our Facebook event and Instagram pages (Please have a look).  We also had a great session with Neil about qualities that can be both good and bad. This was interesting and got us all thinking.”

 

The team were very impressed and would like to add a “final tip of the hat” to Kay and Andy from our partner organisation Somerset Skills Somerset Skills and Learning . SSLC are supporting Edventure to put on these free MAKE courses for 18 -35 year olds. Andy and Kay jumped in and got soapy helping with some felt making.

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19Sep
29th, 6pm: Europe’s community enterprise movement… launch of the CEAL network
Updates

Thursday Sep 29th, 6-9pm

Launch of the CEAL NETWORK

Are you interested in facilitating community entrepreneurship?

Looking for tools, methods and to learn from other european organisations?

Edventure has been part of a two-year european funded partnership to develop tools and processes for facilitating community entrepreneurship. We will be sharing our learning during an evening workshop and stall at Edventure’s 4th birthday celebration.

Please email [email protected] if you would like to attend.

www.ceal.eu
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logo-erasmusplus-eu

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10Sep
Two job vacancies: Head of Enterprise and Edventure Facilitator
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Applications are now closed – Edventure has recruited  two new team members starting January 2017. Thank you for your interest and please keep in touch for future opportunities.

Head of Enterprise & Business Development

Do you want to apply your business experience to make a positive difference in Frome by growing social enterprises locally and supporting people who are starting out in life and business?

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Support facilitator & coordinator

Do you want to apply your skills and experience to support young adults to progress towards a livelihood that matters to them by organising and running our courses and providing 1-to-1 mentoring?

Read more (opens new tab)

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25Aug
The theme of the Autumn MAKE course will be Wood
Updates

It has been confirmed that the theme of Edventure’s first 3 week MAKE course is going to be wood. We will spend three weeks working with local Woodworker Richard Wallace to design make and sell products made from reclaimed timber.

Richard Wallace has over 40 years of experience making beautiful products and art pieces out of wood in the UK, France and Mexico.
MAKE is a three week, part time course in Frome. The first course starts 12th of September.

Apply now: http://www.edventurefrome.org/make/

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17Aug
Applications are open for MAKE, a part time, 3 week Edventure course
Updates

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Autumn Course

September 12th – October 3rd 2016

Apply now 2013

Spend three weeks at Edventure this Autumn learning to design, make and sell products made from wood.

We will be working alongside local expert woodworker Richard Wallace. Richard has over 40 years of experience making furniture, sculpture and art out of wood.

What you’ll get:

MAKE is a course where you will get to try out lots of different things.

Are you are interested in creating a brand, designing packaging, or making things from wood? You can choose to spend more time on the things which interest you the most.

You are welcome whether or not you have experience or skills.

A chance to make money from what you sell

If you make money from selling your product, you will be able to use it to buy things.

The opportunity to meet new people

As well as meeting and being part of a team of students, you will make new contacts in Frome which could lead to employment, training or further education opportunities.

Help with your next steps and ideas

Do you want to start a business, get a job, volunteer or travel? We will do our best to help you develop and take steps towards these ideas while you are here at Edventure.

Advice and support from a mentor.

Our staff are good at listening, asking helpful questions, and giving you ideas for your future.

Access to a work and study space with free internet and coffee

When and where:

9.30 – 2.30 Monday, Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday (and one Sunday per course).

The Welsh mill Hub, Park Hill Drive, Frome, BA11 2LE

MAKE course Winter 2016

November 14th – December 5th.

Details coming soon….

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