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23Sep
Student Reflections: Mission : Edventure 13
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We’ve been joined by our 13th team of Edventure Start-Up Students. They’re sharing their edventure here…

By Emma Trefzer Waters

What is this Start-Up project all about?

The Walled Garden at Mells is a small ancient walled garden in the heart of Mells village, Somerset, three miles from Frome. Set in an acre of grounds, the garden is split between a plant nursery and a pretty rambling herbaceous garden with a cafe. The cafe sells cakes and pizza and is open between March and October every year. The plant nursery specialises in cottage garden perennials with a focus on bee and insect friendly plants.

The Vision

… is to create a community plant nursery propagating and selling perennial plants to fund a program of initiatives, events and workshops that alleviate the health and well-being effects of loneliness, whether as a result of social, economic, geographic or generational isolation. This will include gardening based activities and events for the elderly to improve physical well-being and provide opportunities to socialize and connect; vocational and experiential learning for young adults, especially those with disabilities to improve their mental and physical wellbeing as well as their employability and participation in society; an outdoor learning environment for young children so that intergenerational learning can take place.… 

Three, Two, One … (Edventure 13 launched with a) … BLAST OFF !!

The first week was primarily dedicated to getting to know each other individually and forming as a team, meeting people from the local community in Frome, getting clear on the challenge brief as a team, setting individual goals and intentions for what we want to learn and a take away from the programme and sharing what skills, qualities, resources and interests we are bringing to the group!

At the heart of the week we were set our first team challenge: to plan, organise and deliver a community evening dinner event. Around sharing home-made soup (made by one team group) at the Walled Garden in Mells, locals were invited to come and meet the team with the hope that many would be interested in supporting our project idea in some way, either through volunteering their time and skills, through donating personal resources, offering useful networks and contacts, making suggestions and insights based around their interpretations of the project vision etc.

The “Community Building Phase”

Monday:

We introduced ourselves by going around in a circle saying our name, where we had come from and what had led us to making the decision to be here.

We then paired-up and did an ice-breaker exercise where we answered questions on the other person, such as what their favourite film is, what their hobbies are etc. without actually asking them, so essentially guessing the answers to these questions based on our initial impressions of the other person. It was a very humorous way to get to know each other! 

We then did a team-building exercise called the “lava river”, which involved getting the whole group to the other side of the building in single-file with the instruction that we had to do so without touching the floor (lava) at any point whilst transporting four full cups of water to the destination, getting a “unicorn” to the destination with two people having to be holding it at all times, leading a blind-folded member of the group and two mute members of the group to the destination (also without them touching the floor) and passing around a large courgette which had to be held by all group members. Once finally at the entrance to the “cave” destination, after losing many to the scorching hot molten lava beneath us (meaning those who fell in had to go to the back of the line), each group member could only enter by first having to answer a unique “password question” and squeezing through a hula-hoop ring without any body parts touching it. It was a great way to break the ice and get us to work as a cohesive team early on. It was lots of fun too!

After the tea break we dedicated time to co-creating a team “manifesto” which was pinned up on the team pin board and which will be used as a reference and guide to refer back to throughout the process.

In the afternoon we all went to the Walled Garden at Mells to meet our “client” Samantha who, very kindly, provided the group with delicious pizza for lunch, baked in the Mells Garden café pizza oven. We spent time listening to her vision and expectations for the project, reading over the project brief in more detail and walking around the gardens to get more of a “ feel “ for the space (i.e. what is already established and what areas need improvement and redevelopment).

At the end of the day, some of the team decided to walk back from Mells to Frome, about a 1.5 hour beautiful walk through woodlands and meadows, alongside rivers and streams and past some ancient buildings nestled in the undergrowth. It was a great bonding experience for those who went on the little adventure and was thoroughly enjoyed by all!

Tuesday

Today’s check-in was done using “Dixit” cards. Each person chose a card to represent how they felt that morning and then shared it, going around in a circle, with the rest of the group. Following this, the team were treated to a building tour at “The Wealsh Mill Hub” (where Edventure has its “base”), and got to explore and understand more about how this co-working space operates.

After the morning break, we did a team exercise called the “River of Life”. We were given 20 minutes to create a visual representation on paper of our individual life stories up until this point, emphasising the significant things that were formative in shaping our directions and paths and which were influential in shaping who we have become as people. We were given 2 minutes each, going around in a circle, to share our stories with the group. This “deep dive” into our personal biographies took a lot of vulnerability and courage for each of us but it, no doubt, helped us to build trusting, open, honest and transparent relationships with each other very early in the team formation process.

After Lunch we all headed up to the amazing “Rye Bakery” in Frome to hear a talk by a very well-known and very well connected and involved community member – Peter McFadden – who spoke about the history of Frome and how it came to be such a thriving community hub.

Wednesday

The morning was spent doing a group activity to practice the “consensus decision making model”. This became useful later on in the day with the process of forming and deciding on our ideas around the Edventure SOUP community event we were hosting in Mells that evening.  During the intense “brainstorming” phase, facilitated by (the very courageous) team member Julia, we definitely went through the classic group process of ‘Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing’, which the Edventure facilitators told us very often happens in groups when they come together to collaborate on a task or project.

Following this, we split off into separate groups for the rest of the day leading up to the evening event (divided into a shopping and soup cooking group / project presentation group / set-up, communication, information-gathering group).

Despite the on and off rain, the SOUP event that evening at the Mells Walled garden was a great success! We had about 20 people turn up from the local community. They were given a presentation about the project vision, a garden tour, a choice of 3 delicious home-made soups and an opportunity to give their feedback , ideas , suggestions and opinions about the project idea in a creative and interactive way!

Thursday

Getting used to morning check-ins forming an integral part of the daily Edventure culture, the morning kicked off with sharing reflections on the day before, what we felt worked well and what didn’t go so well at the community SOUP event. The “Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing” model helped the group, now with hindsight, to get an understanding on what was happening in the group the day before.

Following this, we set our personal intentions and goals for our time at Edventure, writing them down on a piece of card and “posting” it into a collective “goals” envelope (which is now pinned on our big “project pin board” for us to go back to, so we can remind ourselves and each other of the “bigger” reason we are doing this).  The Edventure facilitators highlighted that the key to learning how to be an engaged and ‘active learner’, to getting the most out of the experience, is by setting SMART (specific, measurable, achieveable, relevant, time-bound) GOALS.

We spent the later part of the morning sitting outside the Edventure hub on the grass and pairing – up to identify our personal skills, qualities, networks and resources that we are individually bringing to the team.

The afternoon was spent delegating individual roles for next week such as who would take on the responsibility of being the “team wellbeing facilitator”, the “team project facilitator”, the “process documenter” (blog writer), the “team space fairy” (keeping our learning and working environment clean and tidy) – amongst many others.

Finally, we were treated to a visit and talk by Cassie, a previous Edventure Start-up programme participant who went on to being employed by Edventure and continuing to run the “Make Shed” initiative! She shared her “survival tips” on how best to get through the roller-coaster Start-up project process and how to maximise this unique 10 week opportunity!

What the team said about their personal achievements in Week 1 …

Zoe

“This week I allowed myself to be really vulnerable with a new group of people, and let myself see them too. I accepted and embraced the triggers and decided to work with them towards the greater goal.”

Diane

“I set myself quite a specific goal, to build upon my practical garden design skills so I can challenge myself and gain professional experience of combining and creating and credible design solutions”.

Dom

“My personal achievements this week include finding my feet in a new and alien place; overcoming my instinct to run away when the course got too intense; and reaching my fundraising target”.


Jack

“I managed not to rub people up the wrong way”.

Emma T-W

One achievement that I took away from week one is that I feel like I’ve made a new “tribe” of friends which has been formed, in my view, in two main ways:

1. Through “diving deep” into our own personal stories and biographies and having the courage to be vulnerable in sharing them with one another

and

2. Through working together as a team to rise to the challenge of organising and delivering a community event in a very short space of time – and it being, overall, a good success !


Young

“Making new friends for this week”.

Julia

“A personal achievement… Keeping my head under pressure! Also, a reflection, feedback to self: I should have sent everyone out of the room to have a 15 minute break and get themselves tea/coffee. That would have given me a chance to think through how to approach the session without everyone else around. Lesson learned!”

Zak

“This week I have achieved meeting lots of excellent new people”.

Jazz

“I managed to be on time (or even early!) and I managed to have breakfast”

Emma LW

“I learned trust the process and to generally just ‘let it be’ more”

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10Sep
My experience with Edventure continues to ripple through my life
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Rosa Beesley shares her story:

“My experience with Edventure continues to ripple through my life. I am thankful to making some great friends there that helped me find my home in Bristol. I am grateful for all the skills I gained while working with this vibrant community project; which undoubtedly opened up the opportunity into my current role.

I am working with a crisis support charity that tackles homelessness, food security and food poverty. I began by volunteering for their support centres that distribute surplus/waste food to the clients. Over a year later I suggested opening up a community growing project on an allotment they had been offered. Since July 2018, I have established two productive food growing sites, a dedicated team of volunteers from across the city, weekly drop in sessions at both sites, regular open events and corporate volunteering days with groups such as Bristol Poverty Institute and Pukka herbs…

…As part of the Edventure alumni I was gifted a place on the MOE Foundation Coaching course, I feel exceptionally lucky to now be a certified coach! I cannot express enough gratitude to Edventure in helping me get to where I am today, I hope in the future to be able to return the infinite love and support!

Rosa's Community Garden
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11Jul
Community Fridge Impact Report 2019
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The first UK Community Fridge that Edventure set up over 3 years ago in partnership with Frome Town Council is now saving a whopping 90.000 foot items a year from landfill. The new impact report is telling a very inspiring story about carbon savings, help for people in poverty, and a tangible community spirit. Well done to all the volunteers who are running it now.

Impact Assessment 2019

Kris Fowler on behalf of Frome Town Council

This short report outlines the environmental, social and economic impacts of the Frome Community Fridge. It begins with a brief background on the origin of the idea and its motivations along with figures on the scale of the problem of food waste in the UK and globally. It then presents data on the amount of food passing through the fridge and uses this to quantify the total waste diverted from landfill and to estimate the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as a result. It also looks at how the fridge is used and who uses it, explores some of the less tangible impacts of the project for its users and volunteers, and hears some personal stories of the fridge’s impact on their daily life.

Background

What is a Community Fridge?

A community fridge is as simple an idea as the name suggests: it is a publicly accessible fridge, for the use of the whole community. If you have food that is good for at least the next day but that you will not use, you put it in the fridge.That food is then available to be taken by anyone that can use it. The fridge in Frome is supplemented by a community larder for non-refrigerated items. Food is donated by individuals (uncooked food only), food businesses and supermarkets, and the collection, care, cleanliness and rotation of items is undertaken by a small team of volunteers.

Where did the idea come from?

The concept originated in Berlin, Germany in 2012 under the name of ‘Food Sharing’; in 2015 it emerged in Galdakao, a small town on the outskirts of Bilbao, Spain as a ‘Solidarity Fridge’; and in 2016, with the input of Edventure, ten of their community enterprise students, and the Town Council, Frome became home to the first ‘Community Fridge’ in the UK. Since then the idea has continued to spread and today there are at least 65 community fridges in the UK, while globally they are found as far afield as India, Bolivia, Israel and New Zealand.

What issues is it intended to address?

Common to Germany’s ‘food sharing’, Spain’s ‘solidarity fridge’, and the UK’s ‘community fridges’, the primary focus is on reducing food waste.They are not to be confused with Food Banks where food is distributed via vouchers in relation to an assessed need. Community fridges are about diverting as much good food as possible from going to waste in landfill, and as such are open to the entire community to make use of. In practice, of course, the food in the fridges can become an important source of food, particularly fresh food, for those in need.The latest figures from the UN estimate that 8.4 million people in the UK experience some form of food insecurity, so the presence of a community fridge will inevitably make a contribution to the alleviation of hunger.

Food Waste

The scale of the problem

Food waste is generally overlooked as a big environmental issue yet it is responsible for 8-10% of the total human-caused greenhouse gas emissions globally. In the UK most food waste comes from households, with significant proportions of edible food also wasted by manufacturers, retailers, and in hospitality and food service. When all of this thrown-away organic matter is dumped into landfill it breaks down to release a gas that is around 50% methane and 50% carbon dioxide. Globally this contributes up to 70 million tonnes of methane each year – more than from coal mining and natural gas leaks combined, and almost as much as is emitted by farm animals.

• Up to 35% of food in high-income economies is thrown out by consumers
• In the UK we waste 5 million tonnes of edible food every year
• The estimated value of total food wasted in the UK for 2015 was £20 billion

• One third of household bread and one quarter of vegetables in the UK that could have been eaten is thrown away

In addition to the landfill emissions, each item that is wasted has required energy to produce. The fuel, electricity and resources used to grow, harvest, transport, store, process, package, distribute and retail each item, as well as the energy to refrigerate or to cook it at home, are all wasted inputs as soon as the food is discarded, before it has even been transported to landfill.

In the UK alone the resources used to produce food that ends up as waste, and the emissions from its decomposition, generates 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide- equivalent greenhouse gases and uses 6.2 billion cubic litres of water every year.

The scale of the problem is shocking – environmentally, economically and socially – but that means the potential positive impact from a range of initiatives to avoid food waste is also very large. It has been calculated that reducing food waste globally could have almost the same impact on lowering emissions as onshore wind turbines by 2050 – avoiding the emission of 70 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases.

A recent study by Project Drawdown, a global group of scientists, entrepreneurs and environmentalists, ranked the top-100 ways of addressing climate change according to their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing food waste came in at number 3 – far above electric vehicles, solar panels and recycling.

Reducing food waste doesn’t simply mean less going to landfill – it also means less land across the world needs to be deforested and converted into farmland, in turn reducing the impact of a growing world population on the planet while ensuring all can be fed sustainably.

In the words of Project Drawdown, “reducing food waste represents one of the greatest possibilities for individuals, companies and communities to contribute to reversing climate change, and at the same time feed more people”.  Frome’s community fridge, and the others it has inspired, therefore play a significant role in tackling one of the biggest environmental, social and economic issues facing the world today.

A Week in the Life of Frome Community Fridge

UN Sustainable Development Goal 12:
Halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level by 2030

“I love to hear the comments from people from out of town.When I’m filling up the fridge people’ll come over and ask what’s it all about, and I tell them what it is and they think it’s amazing, what a great idea, and can’t see why every town in the country doesn’t have one.” Dave

How much food is donated to the fridge? How does it get there?

Environmental campaigns charity Hubbub runs the Community Fridge Network, and they estimate that 95% of food in the fridges is donated by retailers. The figures presented below agree with this and show that connecting with local supermarkets and bakeries is a great way to divert large volumes of food to people and away from landfill on a daily basis.

The word ‘donation’ doesn’t properly convey how the arrangement works, however. Some small businesses in Frome – such as the Rye Bakery – do physically donate their surplus food to the fridge, but in most cases it is down to the small team of volunteers to visit the shop to collect the food and bring it to the fridge themselves. In the case of Greggs, Lidl and Marks & Spencer this happens daily and the 8 volunteers each have days and shops that are their responsibility.

So it was on a Monday evening in March that I met with community fridge volunteers Pauline, Jim and Dave to make the collection from Greggs bakery. Inside the store at closing time were still-stocked shelves of sandwiches, filled baguettes, savoury pastries and cakes. Everything was within its best-before date and was being sold up until a few minutes ago, but would not be suitable for Greggs to retail on the following day. After a friendly chat between the well-acquainted staff and volunteers – this collection has been ongoing for three years – we started filling our bags with the still- warm produce, and with two big bags each wandered back over to the fridge. 

By now the arrival of Greggs sausage rolls and chicken bakes is an eagerly anticipated event and the assembled crowd – maybe 20-25 people – queued up and waited patiently as the fridge was filled and the items recorded in the fridge’s donation log book. Once complete the produce is there for the taking and one-by-one people helped themselves to the items. Some people took one thing, others a couple, some filled up small shopping bags, and the queue gradually diminished as people walked away with their food. Some tucked in there and then while chatting with others, and others returned home to share the food out with their family. Not much was left at this point, but Dave told me that he would come and top-up the fridge in the morning to ensure as many people as possible can access the food at different times of the day.

Speaking with the staff in Greggs I learnt that, prior to the collections, all of the food that we took to the community fridge would have been binned. The baguettes, pasties, wraps and cakes that were now feeding people would have ended up feeding animals, or decomposing in landfill – and Greggs would have paid for its disposal. So linking up with the community fridge is not a radical idea – it is an obvious thing to do, from both a corporate financial perspective and from the point of view of the staff who made and baked the food in the first place. No one wants to see it wasted.

Being on the collection made it clear how important the volunteers are to the effectiveness of the project. Without them taking the time to make these collections the food would continue to be wasted, and with records from just this one week showing 1780 individual items plus 134.5 kg of fresh produce collected, Dave, Jim, Pauline and the other volunteers are saving around 90,000 food items a year from going to waste.

The fridge itself is the hardware, but it can only function with a well-coordinated operating system. At present Frome’s fridge has 8 volunteers, some collecting one day per week, others on hand 5 days a week. It’s clear that the level of commitment of the volunteers is very high, but also that another couple of volunteers would help to spread the load of the daily collections and enable possible expansion to cover some of the other retailers.

The table above demonstrates a few things about the community fridge. One is that not everything donated to the fridge gets recorded – particularly items donated by individuals – so the numbers here are definitely an underestimate of the total amount of food passing through.The second is that there is potential to increase the amount of surplus food that the fridge makes available, given that there are at least another 4 supermarkets in the local area without regular collections. Enquiring into this revealed that there is capacity and willingness for more collections on the side of the volunteers, but that some retailers find it difficult to enable it, either because their operating hours make it difficult to offer surplus food after it is taken off sale but before it is beyond its best before date (e.g. Coop closes at 11 PM), or because of the health and safety issues and bureaucracy that arise in a large supermarket chain.

“I volunteer because I feel compelled to. I know that if I don’t make these collections then there may not be anyone else who will, and I can’t bear to think of all this perfectly good food going to waste.” Pauline

“I started volunteering at the fridge because I’m a stay-at-home mum and I wanted a community element in my life.The fridge is a really worthy cause because there is so much food that goes to waste.” Terri

Also apparent is the relative absence of food donated by households. Despite the huge quantities of food that pass through community fridges it is useful to be aware that the level of food waste from retailers – which makes up most of the fridge’s contents – only counts for 2% of the total food waste figure for the UK. The majority of food that is wasted in the UK (69%) is wasted by households, who make up only around 5% of fridge donations across the network. Some of this waste will be cooked food which cannot be donated to the fridge by households for health and hygiene reasons, but much of it will be items that were simply not consumed before spoiling.The community fridge is the ideal place to drop off any excess food (excluding meat, eggs, fish or opened milk) that will not be used in time, for example before going away on holiday. These figures do not detract from the benefits of the community fridge, but show that other activities linked to it – such as cookery classes, recipe sharing, leftovers suggestions, etc. – can strengthen its impact in reducing this household food waste.

Local Meets Global – Environmental Benefits

What is the Fridge’s Positive Impact on the Environment?

Beyond the simple and obvious good of redistributing surplus food and avoiding it going to waste, the impact of the fridge can be quantified in terms of its prevention of greenhouse gas emissions. There are two aspects to this: the prevention of additional emissions through decomposition in landfill; and the avoidance of emissions from additional production (to replace that which was wasted).

The figures for greenhouse gas emission savings that follow, based on a DEFRA study, are an under-estimate. While they include emissions from production as well as decomposition, they fail to include the emissions associated with the change in land use required to produce additional food. Deforestation and conversion of land to agricultural uses counts for 40% of the total emissions associated with food production for UK consumption, so in reality the actual savings from each fridge will be significantly higher.

The community fridge network is a significant part of the solution to this problem in the UK. The average community fridge redistributes around 500 kg of food per month, which equates to about 2.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions. The busiest fridges see around 4 tonnes of food passing through each month which equates to a saving of almost 17 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions.

A recent study by the WWF and Food Climate Research Network suggests that the elimination of all avoidable food waste in the UK could reduce the impact of food consumption on the environment by 15%, saving 38 million tonnes CO2-equivalent emissions annually.

Over a year the average fridge will have avoided over 25 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – meaning that across the UK network of community fridges an estimated total of 1,625 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions are avoided.

It is clear that a growing global population and continued food wastage rates of 35-40% in high income countries are incompatible, and that food waste requires a systemic approach, but community fridges play a fundamental role at the community level in reducing food waste and its environmental impact in the UK.

Beyond Food – The Fridge’s Social Impact

Who uses Frome’s Community Fridge?

Spend any time around the fridge and you quickly gain a sense of its rhythms and its nature. Unlike many of the community fridges that have been created subsequently which tend to be located in community centres, town halls, churches or universities, Frome’s fridge is far more public, located outside in public space and not really observed or overlooked by anybody. As a result it offers an even greater sense of freedom to those passing by, as well as a few extra challenges.

Frome’s fridge is currently making available 6,000 – 8,000 food items each month – roughly 2.8 tonnes of food – making Frome one of the higher-volume fridges in the network. This equates to an estimated saving of 11.7 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions each month, and roughly 140 tonnes annually – equivalent to driving 340,000 miles or taking 43 cars off the road every year.

“I use the community fridge every day. I usually come down when the Greggs collection arrives and take home a bag of food for my 3 kids and me for dinner. My eldest loves the chicken bake. I’m on benefits and my kids have difficulties, so the fridge has been a lifeline when we’ve had no money. I don’t know what I’d do without it.” Meg

School-aged children on scooters check out what’s in there and report back to their friends; elderly people look in and take a sandwich or a pastry for their lunch; people walk past and then come back to read the signs, curious, helping themselves – sometimes sheepishly – to a banana or a baguette; people experiencing homelessness or food insecurity return regularly at collection times knowing they will be able to get some sustenance, something fresh or maybe even a still-warm meal; others simply wonder why there’s a fridge out on the street!

The fridge is used by a broad swathe of people, as it should be – it is necessary to reiterate regularly that it exists for the reduction of food waste, not as a food store for the homeless – but at the moment, at least whilst I’ve been visiting (March 2019), it is very clearly serving a particular purpose for those in need. It is indicative that the first three people I spoke with who were using the fridge all had similar stories to tell, of mental and physical ill health, insecure housing, food insecurity and struggles with money. Issues with the Universal Credit system and delayed, reduced or terminated payments affected them all.The fridge for them was a regular part of their day and a valuable source of food, interaction and community. It’s undeniable in their cases that this volunteer-run food waste prevention project is offering a more reliable means of acquiring food and achieving a level of wellbeing than a Government-administered social security system, and without the stigma some feel with visiting a Food Bank.

Beyond this more severe level of need the fridge also plays a valuable role in the household economy of its users and volunteers. In some cases the money saved by ‘shopping’ at the community fridge has freed-up money for other things that may otherwise not have been possible, such as transport costs to visit family, or enabling a small amount of disposable income.

The younger group using the fridge clearly enjoy their spoils but there is an impact beyond the free donuts. Some seem to wrangle with the fact that what’s in there is free and their access is unsupervised, and they are unconsciously dealing with questions of value, of fair-use expectations, and of respect for the food and for those visiting after them, or others who may be more in need. Volunteers have had issues to deal with related to this user group, some involving direct interventions over misuse, and others engaging with children via local schools. The issues that I’ve heard about, and the interactions with the fridge that I’ve seen, suggest that these problems have been greatly reduced, if not eradicated, by the users’ and volunteers’ own interventions.

It’s unfortunate that the stories of ‘kids throwing pasties and aubergines around’ or of other occasional abuses are repeated more often than the less apparent stories of people being fed and greenhouse gas emissions being avoided, so it is important that the positive impacts of the fridge are well-documented and shared often.

“I come down once a day most days. I only take one thing – a sandwich or a pastry. I just like to get out of the house and to be around people. There’s nothing for me at home,TV is boring.The routine of the community fridge and the people helps with my depression.” Dave

“The community fridge kept me alive for a while, when I was homeless and had no money. I’m a volunteer now – after seeing how it was run and the good it did, I stepped-in to help. For me it was a way into the community. It’s a kind of social glue, and it cuts across class differences in the town.” Richard

The Community Fridge in the Bigger Picture

It’s clear that the community fridge is more than simply a container for the storage and collection of food, and that its positive impact goes beyond the facts of feeding people and avoiding food waste. The fridge is a part of the community – it’s a hub and a meeting place, an event in the day for many people, even something to look forward to. As well as nourishing food it offers the respite that comes with a chat over a cake or a sandwich that some of us take for granted – for some the conversations that occur while waiting for the fridge to be filled may be their only interactions in a day.

What seems key is the notion of enfranchisement, ensuring that everyone feels that they ‘own’ it as a part of the community. By existing in a public space and being open to public use, the fridge breaks down the clear-cut relation between ‘business’ and ‘consumer’, and that sort of ambiguous situation is one that leads to new perspectives and different outcomes – people do not take all that they can from the fridge, they do not ‘maximise their own advantage’, and they inevitably think of those that may be coming after them. People also interact more, in ways that they wouldn’t in the queue at a shop. Some have likened the fridge to an example of a ‘commons’, in that it entails the self-management of a resource in the community outside of the workings of the market and the state, and relies upon a self-regulating (rather than legally enforced) set of rules and expectations. As well as all this, for anyone finding something that they want in the fridge there is the unmistakeable thrill that comes with not having paid for it!

For its volunteers, too, one word has has been repeated many times – purpose. Each volunteer I spoke with had a connection to their work for the community fridge that went well beyond the purely instrumental collection of surplus food. The role with the community fridge offers a sense of meaning and the chance to help others and the environment in a very real, simple and tangible way. It also offers a sense of control and a feeling of ownership, and the organised collections have very much become ‘my day’ or ‘my round’ for those that undertake them.This is particularly the case for those who are retired, or have otherwise faced some form of exclusion or sense of isolation (relating to housing or work, for example). For someone who may not feel much of a sense of agency or power in their daily life, or who wants to ‘do good’ but is not sure how their actions can be effective, the chance to discover that they can step up and do something of value is significant.

Research by the New Economics Foundation shows that social connection, physical activity, and giving to others or volunteering within the community are three of the five most important day-to-day actions we can undertake to foster and maintain our wellbeing.

This overall impact is not recorded in the log-book or added up at the end of the year, but it must not be overlooked.The positive impact on health and wellbeing is likely to translate into a financial figure – in terms of reduced or avoided interactions with health and social services – significantly greater than that spent on the fridge’s operation.

The community fridge is a catalyst – for community, for sharing, and for developing new perspectives. It taps into the instinct for mutual aid that is all too often subverted by the mainstream organising principles of the economy and society, and raises questions, however unconsciously, of the value of products, of the rationality or otherwise of a system that allows so much to go to waste whilst so many go hungry. When those involved with the fridge, as users, volunteers, or curious passers-by, become aware of the amount of food going to waste every day – especially when what was previously labelled as ‘waste’ is more properly thought of as ‘surplus’ – it becomes necessary to ask how and why we as a society, as individuals and businesses, can simultaneously produce too much and not have enough to go around. Frome’s community fridge is a physical object doing tangible good for people in the community and for the global environment, but it is also an economic and political lesson for us all.

FROME COMMUNITY FRIDGE SUMMARY

• Saves 90,000 food items annually – one of the most-used fridges in the UK
• Prevents 140 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions every year
• Emissions savings equivalent to driving 340,000 miles, or taking 43 cars off the road • The UK Community Fridge Network saves approximately 1,625 tonnes CO2e/year • Food waste is responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions
• Reducing food waste is the 3rd most effective way to cut greenhouse gas emissions • Eliminating avoidable food waste in the UK could save 38m tonnes CO2e per year

Frome Community Fridge Impact Assessment written March-April 2019 References available upon request to [email protected]


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09Jul
Seeking Young Adults To Make a Difference!
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Edventure: Frome have opened applications for our flagship Edventure Start-Up Course. The course is well-known internationally in the social enterprise sector and has attracted participants from as far afield as Vietnam, Switzerland and USA – besides of course Frome and surrounding towns.

If you’re aged 18-35 and up for a challenge, it might be just right for you. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve finished studying at University or dropped out of college, whether you are 18 or 35 years old, whether you are unemployed or want to make a career change.

 

The Edventure Start-Up Team who started-up The Frome Wardrobe Collective.
From left to right. Leah, Laura, Rosa, Iona, Amelia, Benedict, Ruby

 

The course will run part-time for 10 weeks from 2nd September, and includes a 3-day residential trip. It’s a free opportunity for young adults (aged 18-35) to work together as part of a team to actually start-up a community enterprise. 

 

Amelia Parisian, Edventure’s Programmes Lead says, “There’s nothing quite like the feeling of making something happen in such a short space of time with a group of people you’ve never met before. Start-Up offers daily opportunities to step out of your comfort zone and achieve things that you never thought possible.”

Past Edventure Start-Up teams have started-up many of the Frome’s unique community initiatives, including the SHARE – A Library of Things, Community Fridge: Frome, The Welsh Mill Hub, Remakery: Frome and Frome Wardrobe Collective.

 

The most recent team are responsible for creating MAKE:SHED  – a weekly group meeting on Thursday evenings based on the Men’s Shed – but for young people to work individually or collectively for themselves and our community.

Charlie Whinton, part of the MAKESHED Start-Up team says, “This Start-Up is a dynamic adventure – a lesson from start to finish. If you’re interested in rich, experiential learning, speak to Edventure!”

The Edventure Start-Up Team who set up MAKE SHED: Frome.
From left to right, Rosie, Leah, Beth, Cassie, Lucinda, Chloe, Felix, George, Charlie (quoted) 

 

 

Start-Up is not like anything you may have done at school – and we are seeking team members who up for a challenge, who learn best by doing and who want to make ideas happen. 

 

Are you are…

  • interested in starting a business or social enterprise
  • keen to work within the community sector
  • wanting to develop leadership and facilitation skills
  • up for trying new things and making something positive happen.

…Apply now at https://edventurefrome.org/courses/start-up

 

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03Jun
Discovering Discovery
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Our second week with the ‘SHED’ start up team was the Discovery phase.

The weeks brief was to eventually present the findings of primary, secondary and case study research. We were handed multiple bags of research tools as well as meeting with some aptly brilliant minds.

The working team taking on case study research met with the ever cool Patrick Abrahams. Patrick is the founder of the Frome men’s SHED as well as the affable host of the ‘SHED Happens’ radio show on Frome FM. Not only did we collect the nuts and bolts of how to structure a business plan for such a project, we also discovered that Patrick himself is an invaluable library of knowledge.

At the same time, the secondary research team were engaged with the ingenious Jenny Hartnoll of Health Connections Mendip. As service lead at HCM, Jenny has helped provide a framework of person centered care. She is connecting groups, services and organisations which promote health and well being to people that need them most. The HCM alongside the Mendip Symphony project have reduced unplanned hospital admissions by 30% by means of social prescription.

We were also introduced to design thinking processes and market research tools by the excellent Edventure managing director, Johannes Moeller. His detailed presentation style feeds the academic mind and wills a creative, pragmatic direction.

DT Flow by Lucinda Orrell

Michael Matania of Tough Cookie delivered us a mindfulness and meditation workshop . The message taken from the workshop was that everyone is susceptible to negative emotional behavioral patterns. We were introduced to some practical ways to develop our own resilience. Driving

Resilience Meme by Lucinda Orrell

The meme illustrates how reactive behavior limits our opportunities to live enriched lives.

We will always have adverse conditions that challenge us. How we respond to them and what we learn creates greater awareness and an opportunity to grow.

Altogether, some great discoveries to take away from the week.

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29May
Building Community
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A story by Cassie, a member of Edventure’s 12th Start – Up team.

A team of 9 students are working on a challenge to start a SHED equivalent for young adults. This new Edventure initiative will be a weekly event for young adults focused on productivity and creativity.

To get involved email: [email protected]

Sitting in the ‘thoughtbox’ at 9 o’clock, we wait to see who else will arrive to complete our team. Who knows what everyone else is thinking, but for me, meeting new people can be a real anxiety trigger.

A chronic health condition has meant that I have been unable to work for a number of years. With my symptoms recently improving, l’m on a journey to rebuild my confidence and preparing to return to what I love – working in the community and making a difference – it’s a mixture of nerves and excitement.

Luckily I’ve been here before, two weeks ago. I completed the ‘MAKE’ course at Edventure. This time I have an idea of what to expect. Its amazing how much less nervous I feel just these few weeks later.

The team at Edventure and at the Welshmill hub provide fertile ground for personal growth and a sense of community support which is infectious. Having previously worked in roles that made me passionate about working towards a more inclusive society, finding ways to create social equity, being here I’m reminded of what is possible when people get the right support at the right moment in their lives – I feel re-energized – back in touch with what drives me as a person. I feel inspired.

Our course leader, Amelia, will undoubtedly use her facilitation wizardry to bring the team together, enabling us to grow as individuals.

I know two of the other team members too; Leah and Lucinda were also on the most recent ‘MAKE’ course with me. The experience of learning new skills together whilst developing products to bring to market has built a friendships of a depth you wouldn’t expect in a little over a month. We have laughed and cried together.

Six more people arrive by 9:15 to make up the team of nine – we each share a little snipppet of why we’re here and are almost immediately thrown into our first challenge.

It involves blindfolds, water, a unicorn and a hula hoop… The ice is broken.

Wednesday morning continued our getting to know each other and we started to learn more about effective teamwork. Thrown in at the deep end, we prepared for ‘Edventure Soup’. Five hours to organise how to present the project to around forty people. All hungry to know whats going on. All hungry to share thoughts and ideas and soup!

Diversity within the team was immediately and evidently advantageous as we broke off into working groups – although nerve-wracking for a lot of us, it was a beautiful experience to feel the community start to come together in support of the project….
What an experience. 

Thursday was a chance for us to reflect on an intense few days – laying the foundations of trust required to quickly form a productive team.

In review of what we put together in one morning, having only met the day before, our eyes were opened to how much can be achieved when a group of motivated and passionate people come together to make something happen. If we can make that happen the day after meeting, imagine what we can achieve in 10 weeks. 

As we sat in the dappled shade of the trees, we set our own personal goals for our time on the course. It was a much needed moment of shared calm and quiet. We returned to the Hub and each shared a goal so as to be able to support each other in working towards them. We closed the day by sharing a little more of our personal stories. I leave feeling privileged to be part of a diverse team brought together by a common goal.

And that was it… the first week was over and our journey had begun.

I hope you’ll join us and follow as we work together to create a ‘SHED’ for young adults in Frome. We are ready for the challenge.

So, let me briefly introduce the team (bearing in mind I only met some of them two days ago of course!):

  • Rosie is another previous ‘MAKE’ student (last year) and an Artist. She is pursuing her dream of making a living from her art –  I’ve met her around the Hub and she came along and supported us during our course – that’s the kind of community that exists here. 
  • Chloe has come to Frome especially for this course, she is living with a host family during the course (arranged with support of Edventure). She brings a calming presence and sense of serenity to the group and is choosing her own path towards a meaningful career.
  • George lives in Frome, is a professional Forager and within the team already, a lifter of spirits and a creator of smiles and laughter
  • Charlie is staying in Frome for the course. He was in Iceland the week before we began ‘just’ climbing a Volcano. He embodies a sense of unhurried calm and modesty.
  • Felix has recently moved to Frome from Ghana – he is a bundle of positive energy with infectious enthusiasm for learning.
  • Leah also lives in Frome. She worked as a chef, is a talented maker and is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. Nothing will stop this woman when she is on a mission.
  • Beth has come all the way from America to attend this course – she has an interest in community building and alternative education. She is witty and bright.
  • Lucinda – another powerhouse of a woman. Mother, artist and blessed with an aptitude for creative and original thinking that I could only dream of.
  • I could wax lyrical about these people all day long and I’ve only known most of them for three days.
  • And then there’s Cassie – that’s me. I took on the task of documenting our first week. For the duration of the course, one of us will be documenting our journey, no doubt in increasingly creative and surprising ways…


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Mentoring and coaching
23Apr
Would you like to join our board as a non-executive director?
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In brief

Edventure Frome is looking for up to two, new non-executive directors to join our board with specific expertise in finance and business development in the social enterprise / charity sector. As with a trustee in a charity, the non-executive director positions at Edventure Frome CIC are voluntary. Below is more information about the board, the roles, how to apply and some official guidance on what it means to be a director.

Thank you for looking into joining our team! 

The context

Edventure Frome CIC was set up just over 6 years ago, and has grown from a volunteer run organisation to a social enterprise which employs 6 staff and additional project workers. We have ambitious plans to develop our organisation in Frome and beyond, and are looking for board members who can support our next stage of development. The board consists of a group of local people who bring a high level of expertise and guidance to Edventure. Each board member has one or more specific roles based on their professional background, and assists the staff team through advice and guidance besides attending board meetings every two months. The role of the board is to provide strategic guidance, big picture oversight, and maintain effective internal controls. The non-executive board does not get involved with the day to day runnings of the organisations, and delegates to the MD, staff team, or external working groups/partnerships.

Role & person specification

We are recruiting to fill two roles, which may be filled by one or two people depending on their background and expertise. Besides specific skills, we are looking for people local to Frome who are passionate about our community, social/community enterprise and supporting young adults.

Finance Non-executive Role

The role involves leading on supporting & challenging financial projections, monitoring & improving financial systems, and evaluating financial decisions. The role would be appropriate for people with experience as an accountant, finance director or MD / CEO who has been responsible for managing a turnover/budget of over 100k.

Business Development Non-executive Role

The role involves bringing entrepreneurial experience to the board, helping to evaluate and advise on business development and start-up projects within the organisations. Its purpose is to enable the organisation to increase its trading income and decrease its reliance on grant funding. The role would be appropriate for an experienced entrepreneur or MD/CEO/leader of a (social) enterprise / charity who has helped grow trading income within the organisation.

Are you interested?

1. Please email our MD Johannes Moeller ([email protected]) with some notes on why you are interested in one or both of these roles, and a CV or information on your background (before May 12th) – or if you have any questions before you apply.

2. We will invite you for an interview with the Chair and MD of Edventure.

3. A 6-month trial period would then start with the first board meeting you can attend. Edventure Frome CIC, March 2019

What does it mean to be a CIC director:

For more information, please click here to view the guidance from the Government Department for Business, Innovations and Skills, and see the specific extract from this document below.

The role of the Director

As with any other company, the directors of a CIC occupy an important position of trust and general company law imposes on them a range of duties to the company and other responsibilities. The directors (and in some circumstances the secretary) are also responsible for ensuring that the company meets its statutory and other obligations. In 3 Chapter 9 some cases the company can hold the directors personally responsible for defaults and can be prosecuted or subject to disqualification proceedings. In addition to these general responsibilities CIC directors (and, when they take collective decisions about the company, members) are also responsible for ensuring that the company is run in such a way that it will continue to satisfy the community interest test. In practice, this will mean having regard to the interests of the community the CIC is intended to serve, and in some cases giving more weight to those interests than to generating financial returns for investors in the company. In most companies the day to day management of the company is in the hands of the board of directors although certain functions may be delegated to specific directors, such as the chief executive or financial director, or reserved to the members. As a company gets larger the direct control of daily activities by directors becomes more difficult and functions have to be delegated to employees. It is essential to good governance that the directors clearly establish the lines of delegation. The authority and responsibility of those given delegated power need to be established and systems of control, including where appropriate internal audit, must be set up. It must be remembered that the term director includes anyone who performs the role of a director whether formally appointed or not. A person who directs the policy and makes major decisions with regard to the company may therefore be regarded as a de facto director or a person upon whose instructions the appointed directors act (excluding those giving professional advice) may be regarded as a shadow director. It is therefore particularly important with CICs where stakeholders are encouraged to participate in running the organisation to clearly establish people’s respective roles (see Chapter 9.2). It is also important not to take on the role of director lightly; it is not a matter of status, but a commitment to take on an important role and obligations. In particular, it should be noted that, while it is often a good idea to have “non-executive” directors, who do not work fulltime in the business, but who have particular skills and experience and can contribute an independent perspective to the management of the company, if things go wrong (particularly if they have not performed their duties diligently) they may well be held equally liable for any consequences with the “executive” directors.

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03Apr
A sponsored place to take part in the Young Ambassadors Programme in Switzerland
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Update as of 17th April, we now have an anonymous local benefactor who will cover the cost of flights to and from Switzerland. So, the sponsorship now covers full board, lodging, conference and training fee plus flights to and from Switzerland.

Edventure is sponsoring one young adult in Frome in partnership with the Caux Forum to participate in the Young Ambassador’s Programme 2019 (10th July to 19th July), which is focusing on “Building the Next Generation of Trustbuilders Across Europe”.

Are you aged 18 to 30?

Do you aspire to take an active role in transforming society?

Do you want to be part of a network of young Europeans willing to be actors for positive change in their communities?

Do you wish to learn skills that equip you with tools for social change, dialogue and peace-building?

Then this may be an amazing opportunity for you.

If you would like to apply then send a statement by midday 26th April (500 words max) outlining:

 – Why you would like to attend

 – What you think you will gain from attending

 – How you might use your learning for the benefit of your community.

Send it to Neil Oliver (Edventure Chair) [email protected].co.uk

Please also email Neil with any questions you may have.

Please note* The sponsorship covers full board, lodging, conference fees and training fee. It does not cover travel expenses to and from Caux.

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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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13Mar
Keeping the Faith in 2019
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We’ve been inspired and heartened by this article – 7 Reasons to Keep the Faith in 2019 by resident Welsh Mill Hub-er, Matt Melen, AKA The Ecohustler who says,

“As we shift to the post-industrial economy new types of businesses will succeed, new types of leader will take charge and a new world will emerge. Hold onto your hats… it is going to be a wild ride… and we are all part of the change that is happening”.

We are glad and grateful to be part of that wild ride and we’d like to invite you to join us. Our upcoming initiatives are all themed around the new economy that’s emerging. We can all participate in helping to create the kind of world we want to live in. As the article says

“These extraordinary times call for each and every one of us to stand up and do what we can for our home planet”

Please join us.

All the best,
Edventure: Frome

Tackling the Big Issues Together

We’re looking for people who want to actively transform their local economy. If you have ideas and want to get involved with tackling the big issues facing our planet, then please join us for this trio of short-courses hosted by deeply experienced activists…

The New Economy in Practice

The New Economy in Practice Tue 5 Feb: Explore ways to draw on our existing skills, knowledge & connections to build the practical initiatives required to face the ecological, economic and social challenges of the 21st Century. With Tim Crabtree of Schumacher College.

Transform Your Local Economy in One Day

Transform Your Local Economy in One Day Tue 26 Feb: Exploring citizen-led economic transition strategy – how to run a Local Economic Forum and leverage that into a broader community-led economic strategy. With Jay Tompt, Coordinator of the Totnes Reconomy Project.

Edventure Facilitation & Course Design

Edventure Facilitation & Course Design Tue 4 & Wed 5 Mar: Our action learning approach is rooted in our local community. This is for people who would like to do similar work in their communities, either by replicating our work or using our learning as a building block to design their own courses and initiatives. With Johannes Moeller, Edventure Co-Founder and MD.

Become Part of an Edventure Team

Gain skills and experience to step towards a livelihood that matters to you, and learn how to trackle the issues you care about.


Edventure Start-Up

23 Apr-27 Jun: 10 students – 10 weeks – 1 challenge – to set up a community enterprise. (Watch a typical challenge in the video below). Our course in community entrepreneurship is about turning ideas into reality. It’s free & part-time.

Edventure: MAKE

18 Mar – 8 Apr: 3 weeks from the woods to the market. Learn to MAKE ethical products with your hands using green wood. And learn how to make a making business. (Watch a short intro in this video). Its free & part-time.

Experience Edventure for Real or on TV!

We’re working to grow enterprises & initiatives as part of a sustainable economy that works for all…and to support others to do the same. Here’s a couple of simple ways to learn more about our work…

Edventure Tour

Edventure: Tour Join us for a walking tour of our local initiatives. Meet our team, ask anything you like and get honest, warts and all answers! Continuing chat afterwards over lunch at The Good Heart. Valued connections were made at our last tour – we’re looking forward to seeing who we’ll meet next!


BBC Countryfile: Please watch us on Countryfile Diaries in Feb. Jen Gale visits BBC Countryfile presenter Paul Hewitt and does a sustainable lifestyle audit on his home. She brings him to several Edventure projects find creative alternatives for items that would otherwise end up in landfill. As soon as we have the final date, we’ll announce it here


Come to our Local Sharing Community Events

Our local initiatives are designed to help create a stronger, more resilient, sharing community.

SHARE Repair & Upcycle Cafe Sun 10 Feb: Bring your broken things. Our volunteers fix them and share their skills with you. You take your items back home. Together we prevent things from going to landfill; save money; learn new skills; make connections with like-minded local peeps; drink tea and eat cake!


The Frome Wardrobe Collective Sat 16 Mar: A sustainable, affordable and ethical alternative to high street retailers – get a whole new wardrobe instead, for the price of a cup of coffee! Dig out last years jeans and get ready to swap till you drop – there’ll be food, music and community spirit!


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