But how about the young adults who have come on our courses or received mentoring – what difference has made Edventure to them? We commissioned Lauren Goodey to follow up with students from the past year, and interview them. We were particularly interested to hear if and how we support students to step towards a livelihood that matters to them – which is our aim. Here are some of her findings:
said Edventure helped them to step towards a livelihood that matters to them. 16.7% said they were not sure. 5.5% said Edventure did not help.
were in employment, self-employment or in the process of starting up 3 month+ after the course
Help us do more of our work please!
A quick tangent and unashamed plug: We have a good chance to win 18k to help finance our FREE courses for next year. Can you spare two minutes and vote for us here? Just click below, select the South West, Select Edventure Frome & click vote. All you’ll need to do is to put in your email address.
We were of course also interested in what we do that helps students to step towards a livelihood that matters to them. Here some soundbites of what students said:
“Inspiration and support to create a meaningful livelihood”,
“Using Edventure as evidence of work experience” “support from the Edventure staff, opportunities”
“Confidence in what is possible to do in three weeks”
“Reflections on creating ethical business”
“using the Edventure hub space”
“Learning about starting-up”
“encouragement to take on leadership”
“learning how to work with others”
“A sense of moving forward”
“feeling accepted and welcome, making great friends, self reflection”
“Introduction to community in Frome”
“meeting new people including people running local businesses”
“learning innovation and coming up with ideas”
“marketing and branding, experience in leadership”
“Financially accessible, life changing, exploring life purpose”
And finally some numbers to quantify this: Between Sep 2017 and Aug 2018, we supported 76 young adults through our main courses and 1-to-1 support. With our student teams we created the Frome Remakery and set up Edspace Living Ltd. In addition, we have run 10 short courses for 160 adults, and had a total of 8223 users of our initiatives, including 1049 attendees of our community events.
Simon Williams resigned from his voluntary, non-executive position on the Edventure Board of Directors as of Tuesday 12th March 2019.
Simon served Edventure with great skill, knowledge and integrity. At no point during his involvement did we have any concerns about his behaviour, or his motivation to be part of our organisation. To clarify, Edventure has no link with Universal Medicine.
We would like to thank Simon for helping Edventure make a positive difference in our community.
‘Chase butterflies and they will never be caught, watch butterflies and they will come to you.’ This was a quote that came up in our Monday morning check-in led by Iona, and when the words were spoken I feel we were all able to resonate with the message. Notice what it brings up for you too.
Today, Amelia led a session focusing on Project Planning & Management – a not so exciting statement I know, but crucial nonetheless. Benedict was well happy to reach this stage of the project, sharing that he’s ‘a fan of a good plan’. We discussed the difficulties of both under and over planning and finding the balance between the two (easier said than done!). Being able to manage and adapt is crucial within a project plan and it was highlighted for us the importance of having to renegotiate with certain choices as areas begin to grow and develop. Throughout the whole process it’s essential to keep referring to and focusing on logistics, design and the marketing of our event in order a most desirable outcome, something the team has already had to deal with on many occasions now already. In the group we also covered the 2 types of planning; sequential and parallel, and which of the two strategies would be the most beneficial for us as a team to propel us towards our end goal, always keeping in mind that ‘at the end of the day you’re working with humans, with human problems’, as Amelia pointed out so rightly. Many questions were asked, many answers were not solved, but piece by piece we’re getting there, and I assure you we’ve got some pretty exciting things a ’brewing for ya.
Tuesday we were figuring out each of our roles in the team and establishing the particular jobs we need to prioritise to take us through these next couple of weeks. We thought about the areas which sparked the most interest in us personally, but to also delve into the certain areas which you may usually steer clear of and that you’d actually like to challenge yourself in trying, edging further away from that ‘comfort zone’. We decided on a leadership pattern and structure, different titles of roles, clustering the different jobs into different categories and aligning them into separate roles. I’ve got to say the names we created for each of the title roles were pretty spectacular, I’m sure you’d agree – we have the Guardian Angels, Festive Fairies, Magic Makers, Dollar Divas, Picassos, Digital Nomads, and the Service Engineers. I promise we did get on with other stuff that day, not just creating names for our different roles…
Today marked the halfway point of our journey. A time to reflect, connect and immerse ourselves within nature – we truly were blessed with magical weather, it really helped in emphasising a great spirit of celebration, for all that we have achieved so far, in all that we are, our whole being, and of all that we have ahead of us.
Amelia and Liz welcomed the team onto a walk into Vallis woods. Away from Edventure – onto an Adventure. Iona led our check-in which was much in keeping with how and where we were to be spending our time. With us all gathered sat on logs next to the river, we were invited to explore which elements of nature we felt we most associated with that morning. Well, we discovered that amongst us we had otters, willow trees, rivers, and more!
Our journey was fuelled by a great sense of togetherness – collectively we listened, we sung, we laughed, we explored, we faced certain challenges (making a fire ourselves, with help from a tinderbox miraculously plotted right where we were to make it), and we triumphed those challenges, we let go of our inner obstacles, inhibitions, and embraced those more fruitful and beneficial cultivations so to rally us all onto this exciting journey we have yet to come. We even made our own litter-picking device, using a plastic bag that was sadly caught and hanging in a tree and a long stick found along the side of the path. It was heart-breaking to see the amount of rubbish we came across in both the woods and along the side of the road. The day that this is no longer an issue within society will be a great day indeed.
This day truly lifted us all. Yes, we took time away from the course, but if anything I feel in doing so actually contributed in igniting our spirit, energy, focus and direction to empower and guide us all into the final few weeks, and beyond!
Sadly Ruby was not able to join us on the Thursday, as the beckoning of London lured her there, and we really did miss that fiery energy the ‘King’ herself never fails to bring to the room – London got lucky I say. Although we may have been ‘one woman down’, with open arms we welcomed aboard a new member of the family, Louis, who we are over the moon to have come help us with where’s needed for us to create a clothing swap experience I guarantee you won’t want to miss out on, so pencil it in your diary asap (and we’re excited to announce that will be on Saturday 3rd November at the Silk Mill!). We were also lucky enough to have Neil Oliver join us for a session in the morning, where he introduced us to a study in communication; this was a theory Eric Berne formulated in the 1950s called Transactional Analysis, involving the identification of the ego states behind each and every transaction, influencing the 3 ways in which we think, feel and behave. It was really interesting to relate these not just to our own personal lives outside of the course, but with how we work and will develop as a team and the different behaviours we each, unconsciously, bring to the table. The rest of the day we carried on with our project planning, deciding on various jobs which need to be prioritised and our roles following on into next week.
I needn’t be, but every week I always feel just a bit of apprehension about the week ahead. We could never predict or be certain for sure of what to expect, any obstacles or hurdles which may arise at any point along the way. However, one thing I am always sure of, is that without a doubt, every single week has been just as inspiring as the last – so bring it on, I say – my curiosity and excitement has me practically on the edge of my seat!
We begun to think of ideas of who might use our clothing swap service. Lizzie showed us a short video explaining personas. Then we wrote out different groups of who we might target this service towards, for example; young people, parents etc. After this we met back with Lizzie to try and find which target group we should aim for, and thought what market men would go for. For lunch Leah made us some yummy food helping bring our energy levels back up.
After this we began evaluating options for different ideas and models, then went through a criteria given to us by Lizzie:
We went through our ideas to check if they met the criteria. Lizzie then gave us all post-its and pretty much said there were 3 rules:
No idea is a bad idea
Everyone felt really good after this exercise because it helped us picture our ideas and get them out of our heads.
As our Monday Edventure “check-out” , everyone made a noise to show how they were feeling and said what we appreciated about the day.
I walked to Forward Space and met Amelia, Laura, Leah and Roasanna. Here we brainstormed pros for each group to try and cater for at our clothes swapping event, i.e. what would bring them to the service? We began organising the presentation. We were then given a system criteria:
What problem will it solve for people?
How will it solve problems of the fashion industry?
We then did rapid prototyping to meet these criteria. Our next step was filtering these personas for presenting. In pairs we worked on 3 persona groups. The objectives of the presentation was to inform supporters of progress, to present service ideas, to get feedback on our ideas, find possible personas, and to get feedback on ideas personally and collectively.
On Wednesday we ran through the presentation. We all got great feedback which was really exciting. It was great to get an outside perspective on what we are working towards. After our presentation we brainstormed feedback ideas that we might take forward. Then we met back with Amelia and Liz. We thought about how we could introduce sustainable fashion to people that are unfamiliar with this concept, and how we can change the fashion system in Frome, in hopes of stopping big chain clothing stores. We would like to raise awareness through our clothing swap service. We then pitched our ideas to take forward to Amelia and Liz, and they gave us some questions and feedback. After we left for the day some of us watched the documentary ‘The True Cost’. It really echoes what we wish to stop and I personally recommend that everyone watches it, but be warned it is quite sad.
We did a presentation review where we spoke about accepting and stretching ourselves and saying what feels right for us personally. Next time we thought of having a talk pen so everyone has a chance to talk if they like. Also to know it’s okay if we don’t know the answer to the question yet. After this we went through ideas, refining, changing and looking at what needs to be done.
After thinking of Mondays priorities, we begun on a user’s journey. With each persona we walked through how they’d find themselves coming to the clothes swap. After we re-grouped and spoke about each user journeys, raising problems they may face or questions they may have, we had a talk with Migrants and Refugees as re-builders. They hope to improve the lives of other migrants and refugees using education, learning from the model Edventure have used. This will help their UK based communities and help back in their home countries.
Stretching ourselves and waking up to the start of the week with a fresh aired walk to town and back suggested by Lizzie. Perfect wake up to start getting our ideas together for presenting.
Presentation time was one of our first chance of grouping and presenting to others. We all struggled in certain areas but at the same time presented pretty well to Amelia, Johannes, Lizzie and Liz. Being aware of how quick we had to get all the information together and no chance to create an organised loop of who was talking about what and when. So considering all of this I think we completed the task pretty well!
Moving Insights to generating ideas for the project- working closely with group to work out which areas of our market research is most appropriate for the forming some ideas. Had Johannes for the day to guide us through this understanding. Was nice to have a different perspective on the project.
Meeting Peter Macfadyen in town for coffee and to discuss how Frome generates/works as an independent town. And how we can successfully set a swap shop in Frome, and also where and when it would work best.
Questionnaire time: understanding what asking the public would help us in building insightful information. Being out in the public and asking what the locals of Frome would appreciate as a new service to Frome.
Laura and I went up to Victoria park/Steiner school to ask the mums to see if this service would help there clothes shopping with small kids (a certain target market we have started to look into).
Amelia’s birthday- Leah making protein balls with Rosa making a card full of dried flowers and Laura making a Fantastically different sweet tasting soup. A nice moment between the group to not be thinking about project time.
Was bad on my behalf, woke up late and really felt I needed to rest my body for once 3 weeks down the line (which seems pretty good, considering I was taking at least 2/3 mornings off every week last year) before we had lunch we went through highlighting the good and bad points of our presentation and how we could change it for next weeks presentation of ideas.
Amelia took us outside for a game where we were all really open and honest…and now we are working on our accreditation together.
All in all a fantastic week of idea generating and learning new things with a great selection of people all bringing different tools to the table!
With our heads held high, our team entered week two with heightened spirits, eager to pick up where we left off. The theme of the week was discovery, our days were to be concerned with delving into the world of ethical fashion services, sustainable business models and clothing swapping events, but first… coffee.
Monday saw the team in full force, under the collective guidance of Lizzie and Amelia. Spurred on by caffeine, we were eased into the morning by one of Ruby’s heartfelt facilitations, the likes of which spanned the entire week. With warm hands, we got stuck in. First Amelia introduced us to the task at hand, then Lizzie coached us on the tools and techniques needed to carry it out and soon we felt ready for anything. Pooling our collective minds, we drew up a research plan, and divided into teams. Monday ended with a sense of trepidation, as we were eager to get started.
On Tuesday we launched both our Facebook page and our mailing list, if you would like to join our mailing list please message us via our Facebook page or email us at: [email protected]. Our social media presence aided us in our acquisition of relevant statistics and figures as we could now pose questions to our community of supporters who seemed more than happy to answer them. Taking the more direct approach, some team members took to the streets to chat with local clothing professionals and charity shop volunteers about the current state of ethical and sustainable fashion in Frome. Leah, Laura and Iona took the week’s theme of discovery to heart, returning with scores of relevant information, and a handful of new insights.
Laura and Ruby were also lucky enough to meet with Ciara from Poot. Here we learned a great deal about the fashion community in Frome and were delighted to receive feedback on our projected ideas. Whilst this was going on, Rosa and I were tapping away at our keyboards, looking into Frome’s demographics, considering possible venues, and exploring a number of similar clothes swapping models existing throughout the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. After a relaxing lunch, the team reunited to share what we had discovered. With the help of Liz, we managed to group our findings by theme, so that we could better make use of them during next week’s ideation process, something we are more than excited to get underway! The number of multicoloured posted notes currently lining our office wall is quite staggering.
If all of that sounded like quite a lot, that’s because it was. As a group we are starting to learn how to work effectively under pressure, moving quickly from one task to the next. It is, however, very important to maintain a nurturing environment when working on projects such as these, in groups such as this. For that reason, we were delighted to spend Thursday getting to know each other, and ourselves, better, through our various team building activities accommodated by Andy Britnell, during his facilitated section of the day.
And like that, the week was over as quickly as it had begun. As students we are learning how to process and interpret information, as a team we are learning how to communicate and work effectively under pressure, and as friends, we are learning to how be happy with ourselves, together. And maybe, over the coming weeks, some of us might just realise a thing or two about pursuing meaningful livelihoods that are important to us.
Thank you for reading this week’s blog post, be sure to check back later for more updates.
What an amazing week this has been, one that was phenomenal and one that won’t be forgotten. As a group coming together from all areas, we have developed a fantastic team that has the potential to achieve extraordinary and exciting things to help change and educate people in the way we look at clothing and how to reduce and prevent waste. Not only do we have a great team, we are lucky to have Liz and Lizzie who are so passionate in their knowledge and beliefs, (for more information on them, visit their website.) to support our team in refining down ideas and working towards finalising a direction of travel.
We are also happy to be partnered up with Amelia who is our course facilitator from Edventure!
On Wednesday night, we produced an introduction event – a brief about what we intend to do and how we plan to achieve it. We only had a few hours to prepare our evening but we pulled it off giving our audience an overview of the course and getting them up to speed on ethical fashion, as well as being inspired by their own stories. We also produced not one but two homemade soups, sourced from local businesses in Frome.
It was a week in which we reflected on, ourselves, our values and how we have a wealth of skills to offer, in: needle-work, sewing, art and design, photography and business management, to bring to the project for the community of Frome.
We are so very grateful for the enormous support we received from our first event, for those who came to listen, who gave us positive feedback, for sharing soup and friendship.
We hope you had an insight into the clothing journey (where it starts and where it ends!) We hope to provide you with the knowledge to think about what you wear and where and how it was made and to generate some solutions to your personal clothing dilemmas.
Please keep up to date with our blog and like our new Facebook page to see more of how we are developing!
Let’s make this 10 (now 9) weeks amazing and achievable.
With lots of love, happiness and health.
The Edventure 11 team, Benedict, Laura, Amy, Rosa, Iona, Ruby and Leah
Week 10 of the Start up course felt like it was waiting for us just around the corner. After 9 intensive weeks, developing the Edspace project, learning various aspects of setting up a social enterprise and organising one big final event, the Edventure team had booked three days away with the students to wrap things up.
On the Monday morning we all met at the Welsh Mill Hub tired from the previous week but excited for the week ahead. We planned the food menu for the week, made a quick stop to food shop before heading south to Monkton Wyld Court in Dorset.
Monkton Wyld is a beautiful community centre set in a large country house, in the idyllic landscape of Dorset. It’s a place that focus on sustainability and low impact living, has a wonderful edible garden and some very cute farm animals. It is also located a stone throw away from the infamous Jurassic coast. Needless to say that our time was away was therefore shared between some down time at the farm, cooking some excellent meals, strolling along the beaches and cliffs of Lyme Regis searching for fossils and even a quick dip in the sea for the bravest!
However, the residential trip was not just all about leisure time. Our first evening we had a feedback session around the fire place together with Johannes and Amelia, followed by some future thoughts for Edspace.
The following morning we did a timeline walk, going through the course as a whole. The afternoon was spent on the beach, reflecting over the previous weeks, collecting the gold dust of what we had achieved and learned at Edventure. Graham joined us in the evening for another great meal and an evening surprise organised by Amelia and himself. Not much will be said about this in case future students read the blog apart from the fact that it was very exhilarating!
The next day we did some reflective drawing, had one-to-one sessions with Amelia and Graham talking about our future steps and eventually gathered as a group to talk about our future ideas and how we could help each other to develop them.
In the evening we celebrated with our final meal together and later gathered around the fire with the Monkton Wyld community for some beers, popcorn and acoustic guitar playing by Graham and Simon, one of the staple members of the community.
Thursday morning marked the end of the adventure. We tidied up the space and drove back to Frome in a rainy and gloomy morning. Back at the Welsh Mill Hub we said shared our last cup of tea together as the Start Up course students before braving the torrential rain into the next chapter of our own adventures.
We are very excited to announce the launch of Edventure Salisbury, who, in partnership with Quench Salisbury, will be running the first Edventure course outside Frome this October.
Applications open June 6th June for Salisbury’s pilot 10 week course for 18 – 35 year olds. A student team will be setting up a Community fridge. They will be working alongside the Pantry Partnership, a social enterprise transforming lives with food.
The Edventure model has been said to “suck the life back into towns”. When a team of young adults set up a community enterprise, they form networks and connections which often lead to opportunity and employment locally. Having gained Start – Up experience and confidence, a young adult is more likely to find employment or start an enterprise, that contributes to the local economy.
We would like to see more small towns thriving. For this reason, we have been working towards replicating Edventure since soon after we began 6 years ago. During these 6 years we’ve tried out different models and have evolved what we offer to create a replicable blueprint. Johannes Moeller, the MD of Edventure Frome received the Un-ltd Grow-it Award to help finance the pilot program in Salisbury.
This is not the first time we have successfully shared our work. Student teams set up the first Share Shop & the first Community fridge in the UK and over 400 people across the world have downloaded ‘ How to guides’ for setting up their own.
Over the coming year we will run two 10 week Edventure courses in Salisbury and after this we will reflect on what we have learned and explore the feasibility of a social franchise or other means of sharing our work.
If you might be interested in setting up an ‘Edventure’ in your town, please get in touch and we will keep you in mind next year when we start thinking about where to go next.
Starting September 10th, a team of 18 – 35 year olds will spend 10 weeks developing a series of clothing exchange events with a difference, aiming to be a practical, ethical, fun and affordable way for the people of Frome to break dependence on chain retailers selling poor quality clothing that all too often ends up in a bin.
The problem is global. In 2016, UK consumers spent £68.1 billion on new clothing and footwear. A study showed that 18-24 year olds in particular have succumbed to the temptation of impulse buying and ‘fast fashion’: cheap, low-quality yet trendy clothes produced by big global retailers, which they are likely to discard after 1 to 5 wears. Documentaries such as ‘The true cost’ and ‘Machines’ expose the the fashion industry’s unethical approach and environmentally devastating impact.
There are however, more hopeful clothing trends emerging. Increasingly people are reusing, repurposing, up-cycling, charity shop trawling, jumble sale rummaging, clothes borrowing, vintage shopping and clothes swapping. When buying new things, many people are asking where things come from and making ethical and sustainable choices.
Clothing libraries operate across Sweden, even in smaller towns. Much like Frome’s Share Shop, they require users to buy a membership allowing them to borrow clothes for a limited period of time. This is not only happening in Sweden, similar borrowing initiatives can be found across the the world. Here in the UK there are multiple clothing rental apps, websites and shops including Girl meets Dress.
As well as clothes swaps that might happen in living rooms between friends, larger scale clothing swaps are organised across the UK. Examples include the charity exchanges Frockswappers andSwap in the City, who run upmarket clothing swaps, calling the activity ‘Swishing’.
Lizzie Harrison was a founder of theLeeds community clothes exchange which was featured in the Guardian. She and her business partner Liz Parker will both teach on September’s Start-up course. They have drawn inspiration from existing clothing exchanges, clothing rentals and libraries, and want to try out a new model here in Frome in collaboration with Edventure. Lizzie brings several years’ experience of community based activist interventions using fashion design as the vehicle for change alongside her fashion product business Antiform. Liz coordinated Fashioning an Ethical Industry’‘, a project that supported a network of sustainable fashion educators.
Through the process of setting up this clothing project, students will get the opportunity to go through the stages of setting up a community enterprise – from market research to business planning, from generating ideas to project planning, branding and launching the idea.
We are looking for 18 – 35 year olds who are up for a challenge and want to make this idea happen. To find out more and to apply click here. If you’re interested in this project and would like to get involved in other ways please email [email protected]