Hello! It’s Tammie here. After having been a student on the last Start-Up project (setting up the community plant nursery in Mells) I’ve come back to assist with the facilitation of the current course.
The original brief for the team was to create a community bike workshop for Frome, and it was great to see such enthusiasm and interest from everyone who came to the SOUP event on the 11th of March.
Sadly but understandably we have now had to postpone that plan due to the impact of COVID-19. Recognising the role edventure plays in supporting the community, we have been looking at how we might adapt to meet the present and evolving needs we will be facing over the coming months. We have transitioned to continue delivering a reshaped version of the Start-Up course online, with facilitated project focused and personal development sessions, skill sharing and mentoring.
The wonderful group of humans who make up the Start-Up student team have been working on how they might create initiatives that will support others and themselves at this time, (while navigating working remotely and relying on digital communication…I am sure many of you can relate to the challenges of this!).
One project that has come out of this is a Frome community Exhibition- ‘creation from isolation’, an opportunity for people to create something over this period of isolation that will be showcased at a community art exhibition once we are able to come together again. Stay tuned on our social media networks for more updates and how you can get involved.
This unprecedented situation we are in is causing a lot of hardship, and I recognise that the impacts look different for everyone. What I hope, and what I have seen, is that people coming together on projects like this is creating a network of support that will help ease the struggles we face, and as we navigate what is unfolding, create connection and give purpose.
It feels as though, in the last few days we have all been forced to take a step back from our ‘normal’ lives and plunged into an unknown. In that space, we at Edventure have been reflecting on how we can continue to can come together (even if not physically) to work towards our mission.
We are following official advice to avoid social contact and beyond that, we also want to re-orient ourselves to be of service in these unprecedented times. We are exploring ways to support social connection whilst socially isolating. We are re-focusing all our courses, events and projects towards what is most needed now.
Our flagship Edventure Start-Up Course will not continue with the creation of a Community Bike Workshop. Instead, the team is exploring ways to help with the current situation. They are listening to what people most feel they need here in Frome. Please do comment here with your suggestions.
Our upcoming short courses will be moving online until further notice, and this also means that we are able to offer them to everyone, worldwide, for free. You’re welcome to sign up to any/all of them.
MAKE: Shed Frome has been postponed until further notice. We are seeking ways to create an online space for young adults to meet and create together.
SHARE – A Library of Things is now closed. Our team are exploring ways that we can continue to support SHARE-ing in Frome throughout the coming weeks. Your suggestions are very welcome.
Community: Fridge Frome is now closed. The volunteers who run it are committed to continuing pick-ups from local supermarkets and are currently exploring how this food can be distributed locally – we will update you in due course.
Many of us are experiencing this as a time of loss, grief and endings. Can we also come together to create new beginnings and new ways to support each other?
When I first joined Edventure I had made the decision to change my path in life from one of sitting in an office, bored, to one filled with things that I was interested in and passionate about and ideally one that had a positive impact on other people.
I had always wanted to start my own social enterprise, so I started looking for ways to make that happen. Edventure was the first step towards that goal for me. I was recommended the course by multiple people who had said it was a great way to get involved with the Frome community, build confidence, and figure out what you’re interested in. And I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed!
I wouldn’t be where I am today without Edventure as a stepping-stone. I learned a lot about myself through continuous group work and reflection on our performance. Being challenged by different points of view and experience levels allowed me to grow as a person, and I gained experience in those areas that I feared (like public speaking!)
The best part was that we were able to mould the experience to our own interests. We also had time to reflect further on our path in life, and the Edventure team provided the supportive environment I needed to explore that.
I leveraged the experience of working on our Start-Up challenge to get my first full-time job in London. Where I had the opportunity to work closely with 100s of early-stage start-ups as they went through the challenging journey of founding a company and raising funds.
The Edventure experience helped me reflect on what did and didn’t make me happy at work. I soon knew that I wanted to be closer to the exciting start-up life. I wanted to experience more of what I had at Edventure: being placed in leadership positions, trying to figure out the unknown, trying to fix something that was broken, and having a positive impact on other people.
I was lucky to stumble across a fantastic early-stage social enterprise in London called Appt Health. It was just the founder working tirelessly alone for the first year, and he had won coveted Innovate UK (the government innovation arm) funding about a week before offering me a job. I’m now in a role I love: product and general marketing, and software implementation. The company has now grown to five people, and our platform is currently used by over 50 GP practices in London!
Our aims are to use accessible digital technology to get more patients into appointments that prevent ill-health (like screenings programmes, immunisations, and QOF reviews) while also reducing health inequalities in our population. We solve the problem of uptake in preventative healthcare by automating the tricky bits for the practices at the same time as making our communications to patients more persuasive and engaging.
Appt Health is entering an exciting stage now as we prepare to scale across multiple prevention programmes and all over the UK, and the Edventure course continues to resonate with me when I’m faced with a new challenge.
Sam speaks about making her ideas for a community plant nursery a reality…
Edventure Short Courses
‘I have been coming to Edventure workshops for the last couple of years. They have been key in supporting me to develop my skillsand to connect with a lot of other local people who are making ideas real. These connections have helped me to integrate into the community and I have called on them for support.
Edventure Short Course, “Fundraising for Non-Rocket Scientists”
For example, I did the Fundraising workshop last month and there were four connections I made that I am following up with that could be potential future collaborations. The Edventure short courses aren’t just about upskilling but they’re are also the best networking opportunities.
Local Entrepreneurs Forum
‘The workshops have led me on to bigger and better things with Edventure being the testing ground for my vision and ambitions. I participated in the Local Entrepreneurs Forum in June and had mentoring to develop my pitch that was really key in fine-tuning the idea. It forced me to get clear about my objectives and think about practical things like registering as a community interest company (CIC). The idea really became concrete when I had to present 5 slides in 5 minutes.
Dr Sam Evans pitching at The Local Entrepreneurs Forum for Frome
Its was a terrifying thing to do but now my elevator pitch is down to 60 seconds and I am clear about where I am going.
Edventure Start-Up Course
The LEF gave me a cohort of people who pledged support and it also connected me back to Edventure in terms of the offer to become the client on their Start-Up Course.
Edventure Start-Up Student Team who were Challenged to Create A Community Plant Nursery at The Walled Garden at Mells
So, I have gone from upskilling to articulating and developing a concrete business and then to implementing it practically with the Start-Up Course. All 3 of those elements have put me in a much stronger position.
For example, I am now submitting funding applications and finding that they’re really solid – my ideas are thought through and I am ticking all the boxes. I was expecting to get maybe 25% of the applications through but I am actually getting to the 2nd stage on about 80%.
So, I am getting my foot in the door as a direct result of the training, the LEF thought processes and having something tangible to show people as a result of the whole incubation process that has happened with Edventure this year. In addition to some very real and measurable impacts from working with Edventure, the other people I have met and those circular connections are the intangible impacts of Edventures work – I hadn’t fully appreciated those benefits at first but a year on those people are also now running their own projects and I keep connecting and reconnecting with them in all sorts of unexpected ways. From having a vision to becoming a start up CIC Edventures incubation process has been absolutely outstanding.’
Edventure Start-Up Community Plant Nursery – Launch Event
For details of The Plant Nursery at the Walled Garden at Mells, please click here.
Nursery at The Walled Garden at Mells Launch Presentation
…the growing climate emergency is a serious risk to the pursuit of Edventure’s community and charitable aims. We also believe that every organisation needs to address the causes of climate change, and that by making the necessary changes to sharply reduce emissions, we can create new, local opportunities for improved wellbeing, good livelihoods and a strong, resilient community in Frome.
Climate actions that bring our community together
The climate cause is currently dividing our communities – globally and here in Frome. When local school children joined the Global Climate Strike and blocked the road in Frome on September 20th 2019, voices on the street and online either shouted encouragement or abuse.
Edventure will focus on grassroots climate action that both recognises the urgency of the crisis and brings our community together.
We have made a start: An example is the Community Fridge which Edventure started in partnership with Frome Town Council – It saved 140 tonnes of carbon last year, it is visited by the homeless, students and green activists alike, and volunteers of all sorts of backgrounds are now running it.
Community Fridge: Frome
What we will do (and how you can join in)
1 - Courses
The student teams on our flagship courses – edventure START-UP & MAKE – will focus on starting community enterprises and products that help reduce carbon as well as meet other community needs. Explore our upcoming courses here and join a student team.
2 - Local Entrepreneurs Forum & short courses
We will help 4 other community businesses with a climate focus start up in 2020 as part of our Local Entrepreneurs Forum event. Anyone with ideas for starting up or growing climate or environmental initiatives can get training and advice at our upcoming short courses.
3 - Carbon neutral
We made a good start. Last year (September 2018 to August 2019), our initiatives enabled to save more carbon (about 232 tonnes) than we as an organisation have produced (estimated 52.3 tonnes of carbon through our buildings & travel). We will both reduce our emissions & resource consumption and fully offset any remaining emissions in 2020.
The Frome Wardrobe Collective
4 - Partnership bids & programme development
We will be working with other local organisations to help resource local, sustainable climate action through partnership bids, and develop new programmes and initiatives that contribute to achieving net zero emissions by 2030.
What a wonderful couple of months these have been!
Now sadly coming to an end….
The final launch event and open day at the Walled Garden on the 31st of Oct was a big success. It was amazing to see the space being used as we envisioned, with the community coming together to spend time in the beautiful walled garden.
During the day we used the newly developed Poly tunnel space to run craft activities, everyone got stuck in with clay modelling and nature crafts. The pumpkin carving was very popular, as well as the pizza and hot mulled apple juice being served from the cafe.
The event was an opportunity for us to share what we have put in place for the foundations of this new community venture, and plans for the future of the garden.
The vision for the Walled Garden Plant Nursery is for it to be used by a diverse range of people, for them to come together and work in the garden. Currently there are groups from local schools who come to help out and learn gardening skills.
The Polytunnel space that we have developed will be used for activities and workshops, and is available for hire.
Over the last few weeks we ran a series of volunteer days which were met with a lot of enthusiasm and will continue every Wednesday until the end of December. There will be a new volunteer day schedule coming out in the new year, so if you have some time to spare and would like to help out please get involved!
Lastly, a huge thank you to everyone who has helped along the way, from all of the 13th edventure Start-Up team. Personally, I’ll see you around Frome, this town has caught me for now!
Our Edventure: Start-Up students are making their ideas real this week.
By Jake Inker
And we’re off!
After having recharged our Edventure batteries over the weekend we came into the new week ready to hit the ground running. Having been assigned our roles for the project we began to set out the plan of action for the duration of the remaining weeks. We collaborated group to group and deliberated on how we could begin to piece together the puzzle, each of us being an imperative building block within the process.
A gantt chart was implemented giving us a clear indication of how the final weeks would unwind. The gantt chart offered us clarity on the projection of our plan week to week as well as some transparency on when deadlines would need to be met and when exactly groups would need to collaborate with one another.
Communication is Key !
Wanting to reach as much of the community as possible the communications team had their work cut out for them this week. They got the ball rolling by contacting the Frome Times and having an article published, highlighting our current project for the local community to read about.
With the three volunteer dates as well as the launch event date now set into stone they began creating an advertisement in order to actively promote them. Following the completion of the advertisement it was put to print ready for distribution. Members from the Edventure team distributed the posters/flyers around Frome and the local community in order to maximise the outreach. The social media teams also began their methods of outreach by sharing the event online via Eventbrite, Facebook, e-flyers, etc.
Meanwhile other members from Edventure got down to brass tacks by visiting the Walled Garden and deciding a plan of action for the poly tunnel design/build. Dimensions and measurements totted up, ideas for the design and build of the polytunnel needing to be deliberated before implementation.
Alongside all of this the fellow Edventure students were preoccupied with their tasks at hand. We had all definitely hit the ground running. By the end of the week the foundations had been laid and the groundwork set. All ready and eager for the first volunteer date hastily approaching as well as the continuation of our pre-determined tasks going forward… However of-course, after some much needed rest over the weekend.
Our Edventure Start-Up Students are reflecting on different aspects of themselves…
By Zoe Houghton
DAY BY DAY VIEW…
This phase began on Wednesday afternoon after we had presented our ideas to Johannas, Sam and Amelia, and the rest of the group. It was amazing to see how far we had come with our individual presenting skills. We felt relaxed and confident and the Edventure team were very impressed. However, the review session with Sam afterwards made our brains go from calm → frazzled as she seemed to have many ideas of her own, and instead of continuing the flow of our condensed ideas, she opened up all of the potential possibilities of what could be achieved a lot wider than we had anticipated!
So, Wednesday morning began with a check in about how we felt about Tuesday’s entire session. It seemed that in general the group felt overwhelmed and thankfully, we found out that Johannas had distilled both ours and her plans the previous night, ready to give us a brief to go into the next phase. Then after lunch, we dived into the process of transforming ideas into plans…
On Thursday morning we organised our “to do” lists into weekly plans. Using post – it notes and a piece of paper representing each week, we began to create timelines. We had arranged the tasks into categories the previous day, and we broke into 5 teams to start noting ideas of what needed to happen when. The smaller teams then all came together to explain what they had decided on the time scale of now only 5 more weeks to go! The afternoon of the end of the week ended how it usually does, with an activity to decompress and review, facilitated by Amelia. This activity included each of us making our own pie shape out of circles, and dividing it into slices of advice for ourselves, as a source of self – help, so that we can be our best, thriving selves for the rest of the Edventure course. We found this to be a really therapeutic exercise, and then afterwards talked about what qualities we wanted to bring into next week working together.
On Monday morning we were assigned the task of curating roles for all the different things that needed to be done after putting them into categories. The group divided into their small teams again to come up with roles, which were then presented to the group, although we didn’t feel like we left enough time – only 10 minutes! In the afternoon, we had a guest called Andy come in to do personality tests with us, using “colour energies” and trying to see which people resonated with what colours the most. He did this by encouraging the group to work both individually, and to give personal feedback to the rest of their team members, in an aim for people to understand what kind of roles might suit them the most. We found that this was fun and a nice way to empower people with positive feedback. We did however feel that putting people into categories can also be limiting, and that, actually we may in fact resonate with many different ‘colour energies’ at different times in our lives.
Feedback from Tammie, Edventure student, for the session with Andy:
“I found that looking at the different aspects of myself and what that means to what I bring to a role really insightful, and has really helped me look at what aspects I can really draw on and what areas I need to develop and be kind to myself with.”
The BIG DAY! On Monday night we were assigned the homework of deciding what role we wanted and why- categorised into our top 3, and on Tuesday morning we each had to “sell ourselves” to the group of what roles we wanted. The next part was awkward and tricky, to say the least, as a lot of people wanted similar roles and it felt quite confrontational to put people up against each other with everyone in the room. However, the team handled it really well, and we were all kind, reasonable and respectful in our insights and choices. After almost 4 hours of decisions, and Amelia and Zak facilitating, we were finally assigned to our roles, and not only roles we were good at, but also ones we wanted, so in general, everyone left the ‘interview day’ feeling satisfied. Then after lunch, it was straight into planning our 3rd presentation!!
Wednesday and Thursday …
On Wednesday morning the team put together a presentation where they described what roles they had decided, and what needed to be done by when, with key dates and rough plans. The team divided into lead and co-lead roles to do this, and in general we found that we felt a lot more relaxed for this presentation. Amelia, Johannas and Sam were impressed, and left us, this time, with more digestible feedback than last time, so that we could crack on with the doing, and enter the next phase ready with energy and enthusiasm for “action”.
Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning involved us diving into our tasks, and fulfilling our roles, and then on Thursday afternoon, as per custom, we had our weekly review, but in a new and greener setting. The team went to a nearby wild forest spot to build a fire, share food, and feedback on this phase, and how we felt moving into our “independent” roles. This afternoon was our favourite so far, being so nature-based as a group, we found it a highly nourishing experience!
A constructive, creative, cooperative week for our Edventure Start-Up Students…
By Julia Bergamin
This phase felt very positive and joyful in many ways. Ideas want to be seen, talked about, developed and celebrated – they crave love and acceptance. During the research phase of this project it was often difficult for all of us, including Sam our client, to hold back on the ideas. We held back because, as we had learned from Johannes, research should be focused observation of what actually is not what could be. Jumping ahead can lead to oversights or dangerous assumptions being made. After diligently working on our research topics to gain insights, finally, we were allowed to let our ideas burst out, and so they did, enthusiastically and in great numbers!
We were treated to a fantastic training session from Jude Claybourne who showed us ways to be physically embodied throughout ideas generation and how to sync our rhythms together so that we could collaborate effectively as a team. We did this by using a form of group play that sharpened our focus while bringing out optimism and humour.
Jude also taught us about 3 distinct stages or ‘hats’ to wear while working on ideas; the dreamer, the realist and the critic.
The dreamer has no limitations, all ideas are good! We practised celebrating each other’s ideas, shouting “HELL YEAH!” and building on wild ideas spontaneously, thick and fast. This was a fantastic exercise and we all felt liberated and energised. The realist then puts on his hat and says, “Great idea -so, how? who? when? what will be needed?” This stage takes the wild and wonderful ideas of the dreamer and builds them hypothetically, making them more real by adding detail. Finally the critic enters the room and picks holes in the work of the previous two, essentially trying to break it by finding its flaws and weaknesses. This is not for the pleasure of bringing an idea down, of course, but to make it stronger and more viable. Could this idea in fact work?
We worked in teams to develop ideas for 3 intertwined areas of the project: the offer, the physical space and communications. The greatest challenge we faced was to cope with the huge quantity of ideas that we came up with. Post-it notes galore!
My greatest insight from this process was the understanding that ideas are not strokes of genius or the result of one person’s ambition, but in fact the result of mashing things together, constructive, cooperative building, with a genuine desire to solve a problem and meet someone’s needs.
I particularly enjoyed the prototyping element when we made quick mock-ups to aid in developing our ideas and to use as part of our presentations. I spent a couple of hours making a mock-up model of the walled garden space. Other team members made quick mock-ups of posters, mood boards and sketched designs.
Here we are all together presenting our ideas to Sam and the rest of the team at Edventure!
At the end of the phase we recapped our work and our learning as is customary at Edventure by doing something fun together – this time we played pictionary.
Finally, a big thanks from the whole team to Tammie for facilitating this phase! Well done!
This week has been all about inspiration and insight for our Edventure Start-Up Students…
By Emma Lacey Williams
Having spent the previous week laying the foundations and ‘building community’ through learning about each other and hosting the Edventure Soup evening, I was personally very excited and intrigued by the next step in the process – the “Research” phase. The team also grew in numbers as Jake arrived in Frome and joined us on our Edventure adventure.
I reviewed the details of the phase in our weekly Student Handbook:
“Discovery. It’s about gathering inspiration, insights, absorbing and making sense of information related to the group’s challenge. Your task is to take everything you learn through this phase and refine it into a presentation to give to the Edventure team and your client, Samantha.“
Right. Climbing K2 was suddenly feeling like a more achievable goal! However… we were not sent off into the wilds without supplies or survival skills…
Our journey began with the question “Where do ideas come from?” Discovering where ideas originate was merely the first step in this incredible process. But where do ideas come from? This was just the beginning…
Johannes supplied us with a series of tools for navigating our way through this challenge. These included considering different types of research, reviewing a fantastic 80’s video entitled “The Deep Dive – IDEO Shopping Cart” (I found myself wondering “How deep can you really dive in a shopping cart?”) and some tips on how to stay on the path to “good research”.
Having discussed the root of ideas and how to research, we were then advised to “hold off” on the ideas… “Right. Dive into research. Find inspiration. But then don’t have ideas”…. Hummm….
Climbing K2 whilst blindfolded was seeming like an easier option than this!
But nevertheless we donned our thinking caps and brushed off our enquiring spirits to take on the challenge. We split into 4 groups, each group taking one area of research from the following: 3 detailed case studies of similar initiatives; customer / stakeholder research including facilitating a stakeholder workshop; an interview with Sam as our client and a site visit and considering the ‘bigger picture’ through research and expert input. So, off we started on our different research paths, with only a few days before meeting back at the point of presentation.
I was personally involved in the group tasked with delving into customer research. The Stakeholder workshop was deemed a success with 10 people attending, all with lots to pass on about The Walled Garden at Mells and therapeutic horticulture. We posed three key questions which were “How could the space be used?”, “How does the space need to be adapted?” and “Who would benefit from using this space?”. Although we gathered a fair amount of insight from this research, surely there were many more people we needed to engage with to conduct our research?
We had some phone conversations, organised some meetings and stumbled across an opportunity that was almost too good to believe! The morning before the presentation, our research team, with support drafted in from the other teams, hosted a focus group with over 50 over-65 year olds at the Frome and District Day Centre.
Now the ‘easy’ bit had been traversed… the next step was to distill our research into four 5-10 minute presentations. By the following day.
K2. Blindfolded. Wearing flip flops. That’s all I have to say about that.
However, the teams took this in their stride and presented to our client Sam, to our facilitator team and to other members of the Edventure family.
These are some of the key points to highlight from each research group.
1. The Bigger Picture: present what you learn from the experts you meet and from reading about therapeutic horticulture.
2. Case Studies:present business plans and the physical set up of similar initiatives to show how they work.
Delving deeper into the case of Bristol-based initiative “The Propogation Place” at “St Werburghs City Farm”:
3. Customer Research:present what you learn from talking to potential stakeholders through a focus group and/or an interview format.
4. Client Interview and Site Visit:find out about the physical space, what are the restrictions, immovable things, assets etc.
Our very talented “in-house” designer developed this to depict some key aspects from our research about The Walled Garden at Mells.
So…having taken our various paths to our next stop-off point: “Research Presentation”, we regrouped, refuelled and rested, ready to embark on the next steps of our journey.
With a few spare minutes, we also put together our short “Top Tips for Fundraising” video – check it out on the Edventure facebook page!