A message from Zach on behalf off the MAKE course student team.
“May Contain Wood” consists of 6.5 young local wood lovers under the wing of master woodsmith (Harry Samuel). As part of the MAKE course, we have prepared a stalls worth of hand crafted goods within a time frame of 3 weeks whilst enjoying ourselves at Edventure. Please come and visit our stall at the Frome Independant Market this Sunday.
ITV and Big Lottery have teamed up to showcase and support exciting community projects across the UK. Hundreds of organisations apply, and only 7 get filmed and featured by ITV. And that is when you come in. The 5 projects that get the most votes in any region will be funded to do more of the work that they are doing.
Building community is what we’re all about Edventure, so you can imagine how excited we were to discover that two students on our last MAKE course are now collaborating with each other to run retreats in France.
When Sam came on the MAKE course in November last year, one of his goals was to expand on his programme of retreats at The Farm, a beautiful 14th-century farmhouse in the Loire Valley. Sam’s family bought the farmhouse in 1988 when he was just two, and every summer since has been spent turning it into a magical space for creative gatherings. This will be the third summer that Sam is running courses at this venue, with many more in the pipeline.
Courses hosted so far have ranged from art and sculpture to Zen meditationand Yoga and aim to balance learning, relaxation, and time to explore the nearby surroundings.
Sam’s 2018 offerings at The Farm have been enhanced thanks to collaboration with Harry Samuel, the green woodworking tutor for the Winter 2017 MAKE course and the upcoming Spring 2018 MAKE (and one of the first Edventure students back in 2012) and fellow MAKE student Lissi Mason.
In June, Harry is hosting the ‘Earth, Fire, Stone and Wood’ retreat. This course will involve learning how to make a cob pizza oven using locally sourced materials, and include a lot of bare-foot dancing in mud! Once the oven is built the group will make a round wood frame over it to protect it from the elements. This is open to all ages and abilities.
Lissi Mason combines yoga teaching with an interest in art and craft activities, and ran impromptu yoga sessions for the MAKE team during the 3-week course – a fantastic way of keeping everyone focused, calm and purposeful during what is undoubtedly an intense experience. In August, Lissi is combining her skills to run ‘Breathe, Draw, Gather’ at The Farm. Each morning will begin with Vinyasa Flow Yoga, and breathing exercises after breakfast. After lunch there’s meditation in the yurt, a walking meditation, or Yoga Nidra followed by a drawing workshop.
The Farm is a social enterprise, and thus aims to help more than just those who attend the retreats. 20% of the income will be donated to African Vision Malawi – a non-profit charity started by Sam’s mother, helping orphans and vulnerable people in rural Malawi since 2005. For more info visit: www.africanvision.org.uk
Harry will be tutoring the 3-week Spring MAKE course, running from 16 April: apply here.
The team is now prepped and rearing to go, this is the week Edventure lets us loose. We are now, as a team, responsible for what follows. Whilst this might sound ominous it actually heralds the start of the project really getting off the ground. The Edventure program begins with four weeks of trainings and guidance lead by Edventure, from week five onwards the team is independent and responsible for taking up the learning, making our ideas into something tangible.
In this particular project we have three main areas: the interior design and build, the marketing and sales of the Edspace commercially and creating a model for the Edspace to support social housing and people affected by the conditions of the housing and development market.
We came together as a team on the Monday to get out of Frome and have a change of perspective.
Jez, one of the Edventure coaches, led us all out into the sticks, which around Frome is never really far away.
Tuesday saw the beginning of the team dividing off into the separate elements of the project.
Julia and Rory worked with Graham to design and begin prototypes for the new Edspace interiors.
Adam got the Edspace all set up for social media posts using Hootsuite, which allows us to schedule up to 30 posts in advance to release throughout Edspace social media platforms. This means once we leave, there will still be a wealth of material going out live, helping to drive interest and keep things moving forward.
Tom and Niki began designing the new sales document and marketing materials, with the graphic design taking its inspiration from subtle shapes formed in the Edspace’s construction. Although that will remain a mystery to you for now, but all will be revealed at our Edspace Final Event on the 22nd of March – Book tickets here
Maxine and Hettie continued to explore the opportunity to use the building of each Edspace as a training program, hoping to unite local colleges with Chisel and Grain to offer work experience and eventually apprenticeships, particularly for those affected by homelessness. Unfortunately we don’t have any photos for this as Hettie was behind the camera and Maxine was working from Wales… but you don’t really want to see more pictures of people at laptops anyway!
In the midst of all this we had ITV visit to film Edventure’s work as part of a bid for funding. Edventure have been selected down to the final 5 contenders to receive the grant, which if successful, they will use to remake the Remakery into a better equipped and functioning space.
We started the week with our normal check in and updates followed by the second presentation to the Edspace team. This time we were looking at what consumer base we would focus our research on. Following what we had gathered in week 3, we split up in three different groups. Rory looked at the consumer base, Tom and Adam at the business 2 business approach, and Maxine, Hettie, Niki and myself looked at the social model. Every presentation was extremely well thought out and presented, which made feel like we had entered a new stage as a group: the performing stage.
This was then followed by brainstorming with the Edspace team to come up with focus points, and where we wanted to direct our attention.
Tuesday was very exciting as we had our first introduction to Design with Graham, one of the architects who created the Edspace. We looked at many different designs of various items and started looking at things with a designers eye: was the item practical? useful? aesthetic?
Edspace team meeting
Before breaking up for lunch we met the offcuts of the Edspace, the material we will use to build the interior furniture to stay in a zero-waste philosophy.
After lunch we regrouped for a short while, only to split again to start thinking and drawing various furniture and designs that would fit the Edspace.
Adam and Rory working together on ideas for furniture
Wednesday was one of those days where we managed to day 100 things in about 5 hours. We all deserved a good pat on our shoulders!
In the morning we presented our many different and excellent ideas in the Remakery. Everyone had looked at different pieces of furniture with a few ideas overlapping. The level of creativity and diversity in the group was high, leaving the design team to choose from many great designs .
We then went back to the classroom where we looked over the notes from the previous days brainstorming. We managed to put these notes into various groupings which would eventually define the groups we would work on.
To help us decide what aspect of the project we wanted to work on, Johannes held a session on comfort zones/ challenge zones, encouraging us to choose something we where excited about, but did not necessarily have any knowledge in. To facilitate the decision-making process, he made us draw matrix’s of each category. Similar to the one below. One axis represented skills and one represented will or excitement, starting from 0 to 10. Each cross meant to be representing the first letter of our name. This was an effective way of seeing who was interested in what. He also held a session on project management. Looking at various ways to manage in the most effective way.
After an effective morning, we broke up for lunch and went down to the car park outside of the Hub to see Stu setting up the Edspace he had built. Despite the rain and wind everyone was very excited to see the building we would work with.
The Chisel and Grain team putting up the Edspace
Adam, Niki and Johannes watching the Edspace being put up
After lunch we reassembled, and had a session led by Hettie, who was facilitating the week, and Amelia on deciding roles and putting forward our needs and own goals. Faster than we could have imagined we had made up our mind on who would focus on what for the final weeks leading up to the final event. Hettie gave us a little homework to write up a ‘job description’ of our role, thinking of what we envision and what our personal aspirations are.
The morning started with a quick but relaxing 20min yoga. We then attacked they day by going through our homework, and thinking of further steps to take. We then shared our new organisation with Amelia and Johannes who where very impressed.
From 11 until lunch, we had a session with Annabelle and Louise on Non violent communication (NVC). A very interesting workshop, introducing the idea of a ‘blam
e free paradigm’.
The NVC session ran a little over time so we only had a short amount of time after lunch. However we still managed to fit in a review of the two past weeks led by Amelia and Hettie. We used the image of a tree as our timeline. Seeing everything we accomplished in eight days (spread over two weeks) felt very encouraging and strengthened my feeling of a group performing well together. To the risk of misrepresenting nature, our tree had grown from a little seedling to a tall tree in no time!
Blog post written by Julia Tholozan – Edventure 10 Student
The Team started the day by finding about the week ahead, Then them team got together and came up with ideas for the day. After that we discussed 3-4 groups of customers who would buy an Edspace and the uses of Edspace. To finish the afternoon the group split into two groups to talk about selling Edspace as a non living situation eg: Studio, Gym and office, While the other group talked about selling Edspace as a home.
The group started the day with a check-in at the Refectory cafe, and a short meeting.After that the team met with Gavin Eddy who is an entrepreneur who started the Artisan Market and is also an investor. In the afternoon the group then met with CIL Management Consultants to talk about scaling Edspace.
Meeting with Gavin Eddy
The team started the day with a check-in just to update everyone from the previous days, Then for the rest of the day the team discussed different customers and markets.
Thursday was pretty much the same as Wednesday where the team started the day with a check in and carried on discussing different customers and markets and also started preparing for a presentation telling the investors of Edspace and the rest of the groups their findings.
Edventure 10 has come back together for week two, bundled up against the frosty morning air, but brimming with energy and ideas from the events of our first week.
We have now had the chance to settle as a group, learned about the history of the project and the parties involved so far, hosted an event in which we talked to interested members of the community, and ended the week by looking inwards on our personal goals for the course.
Now was the time to further our discovery into the possibilities and parameters for our challenge. Maxine (our facilitator for this week) started our morning check-in with some dancing and stretching to loosen us up, ready for the next steps.
After that, we learnt more about the accreditation of the course, and then moved on to design thinking.
This is a process has a lot to it (the full workbook is 80 pages long!), so we watched a brilliant 80s American news segment about a group who were showcasing the design thinking process by developing a shopping trolley. It was led by a guy who looks a bit like Ned Flanders from The Simpsons and sounds a bit like Kermit the frog from The Muppets, and through this session we learned the importance of:
Having a diversegroup of people with different experiences and methods.
Brainstorming ideas quickly and getting them written down, without initial judgement of those ideas.
Having a facilitator to keep the creative chaos in check by time-keeping, giving gentle reminders to keep on track, and to ensure everyone gets an equal chance to present.
When doing research, talk first to people who might be ‘experts’ on the area you’re working on.
One key phrase I took away from this was “Fail often to succeed sooner”.
To use this process ourselves, we brainstormed ideas that came out of the soup event and our existing knowledge of the project. We split our thoughts by evaluating what we know and what we don’t know, in order for us to clearly see what research would be needed. What parameters are we already constrained by? What are some of the riskiest assumptions we might make?
In preparation for a research presentation at the end of the week, we had a big discussion about these key ‘don’t know’ points and people who wanted to contact, all linked to the three main sections of our brief, which we used to split out into sub-teams:
Design and Build
Business Development and Sales
We then went on a little field trip to go and visit the first prototype Edspace. It was a really valuable experience; we got to see the space close-up, ask about how it’s been to use, what issues they’ve had, what’s worked well, what would they change. We collected this useful information and headed back, once again energised by the real world application of this work.
On Thursday, each of our sub-groups delivered a short presentation and it was really interesting to see everyone’s findings and different presentation styles.
Social Model This group presented their findings on a whiteboard, each writing a different sub-section. Hettie talked about the interesting and varied details of planning regulations, as well as the potential opportunities to connect with other organisations such as community land trusts and homeshares. Adam discussed his findings regarding different types of tiny house communities, including one that houses homeless people, and elaborated on the benefits that these communities have experienced. Maxine revealed more details on the investment goals of Edspace and what relevant funding there is out there that Edspace may be able to use, as well as surprising many of us with the potential personal finance options for individuals buying tiny spaces!
Business Development and Sales
Tom and Lawrence created a mind-map on the computer, which went out into five paths:
Current business financials and business development goals
SWOT analysis of Edspace (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
Identifying customer markets
Researching our potential competitors
Design and Build This group (which I was in) did a powerpoint presentation in order to show large visuals and images that we referred to as we spoke. Niki presented first where we drew inspiration when thinking about the design, in particular the interiors, from narrowboats, container homes, and other tiny homes, and then went on to show what interior design concepts were most applicable to our project, and how we might do so. I (Rory) explained our parameters and xplained what I learned from speaking in depth to the craftsman who currently makes our Edspaces, in order to find out about the offcuts we want to use in the interior design, about the materials being used and the pros and cons of those, as well as the construction methods and the plans to streamline the process and how that would help.
We ended the week by discussing how that all went and touching on the idea of feedback culture, to ensure we continue to learn and grow in a supportive environment. Onwards and upwards! Next week we unleash more ideas!
The end of our project came so quickly. This week we finalised each of the parts to make a complete whole, as well as planned and smoothly executed an event at which we fed, presented and partied with all our supporters.
This event was special to us because it represented the culmination of 10 weeks of hard work and it was a first chance to show the community what the future of the SHARE shop will look like and to receive their feedback.
However, we realise that not all of those who wish to support SHARE and Edventure could make it to the event. So, for those of you who missed it, here are our major achievements and the changes that you can expect to see in the new and improved, local, library of things:
A new layout and revamped appearance
After tireless hours and a couple of late nights ( one with cider and chips), we finally finished redesigning the layout of the shop.
Upstairs now has new storage units and as a result it is more spacious and easy to find things. The work bench for fixing workshops is also upstairs, giving more room for storage downstairs and more space to work upstairs.
In the shop, there is a new desk area, new storage areas – a ‘garden shed’ area and a pallet wall – as well as a more clear window display, so that the many people walking past and looking in the window get a clearer idea of what the shop does.
A new referral scheme to help those with financial difficulties in the local community
We knew that SHARE has a lot to offer people, and that this was especially true for people in financial difficulties. One of our main missions became to build upon community partnerships to organise a referral scheme so that we could offer use of the SHARE shop for free – with no barriers for those who need it.
SHARE can give people access to things that they can’t afford, save people money, as well as making ‘sharing and borrowing’ the new ‘buying and throwing away’.
Making SHARE available to everyone will also create greater social inclusivity – a win-win scenario for our current members and the Frome community.
The crowdfunding campaign that we set up for SHARE was the cause of a lot of frustration and stress – making its completion a great achievement.
We wrote and rewrote the story, trying to convey the message in a way that demonstrated how much we cared about this cause and that was presented in such a way that meant the Frome community would support it, too.
We had a lot of fun building the video and spent hours filming interviews, scenic shots of Frome, and a ‘party’ dance scene. Editing came next – around two days of staring at a computer screen intensely.
And all that effort is paying off as our total money raised towards free memberships for those in need is slowly climbing! Even if it doesn’t reach its target, the campaign design was a great learning journey that we can draw upon in the future.
A volunteering scheme to complement our current volunteers
We knew that some aspects of running a successful project like the SHARE shop take a lot of time and effort. It’s not just about managing the day-to-day operations of the shop, but is a whole host of other things like marketing, social media, events and workshops, and more.
To free up Helen, Aliss, and the current volunteer team’s time to focus on running the shop, we have introduced a volunteer scheme for specific roles such as building a community around SHARE on social media, running repair and rehoming sessions, and doing research for the development of the shop.
We knew that this could be another win-win scenario because it could provide someone with valuable experience as well as help boost the social impact of SHARE.
A series of posters to spread our story
People want to hear more about SHARE! That was the feedback we got – a regular reminder of what items we have and to ‘borrow, not buy.’
We started to drive an ongoing campaign to reach the Frome community and expand our community through a collection of ‘sharing’ themed posters. The majority of the shop owners in Frome agreed to put them somewhere in their shops, and a few put them up more permanently in their window – an incredible response.
Check out some of our posters below and in Frome shops:
We have also printed these on quality poster paper and are offering them as part of our rewards for donating to the crowdfunding campaign.
A new website
The SHARE website needed a refresh and redesign. After 3 years it had become cluttered and hard to use for visitors and our team.
After one long weekend of staring at the computer, it was finished. We gave it a completely new design, with a new layout, new images, and new writing.
One thing that we noticed was that many of SHARE’s members had no idea that there was an inventory of all our items online. Although it is an easy to use way of checking if an item is reserved or in-stock, nobody was using it or knew it was there. One change that we knew needed to be made was to make it an easier and clearer route from the website homepage to our inventory.
If you are looking for more information on memberships, the history of SHARE, how you can get involved in our community, or want to check out what we’ve got, then please visit the site!
What an epic journey it has been, and it all coming together quickly in one week. We started with a little knowledge and ended with a lot, and not only that, we helped move forward a movement for social good. We have helped towards the continued success of the first library of things in the UK and made a close support group of friends for the future in the process.
Here’s what each of the Edventure student team is taking away from the past 10 weeks:
Manda – “I will take away a greater confidence in my role in a group”.
Jasmine – “I learned that it is crucial to take the time to reflect, as a reflection deepens the learnings and our understanding of ourselves
Matt – “One of the most valuable things I have learned from doing a course at Edventure is the importance of putting yourself in roles outside of your comfort zone – of feeling the fear and doing it anyway, and surprising oneself at how capable they are at doing something they want to do, but may lack confidence in.”
Ruby – “Confidence in choosing correct solutions to set up my own business alongside a charity based shop.”
Ben – “I learned how to work successfully in a team and how important it is to have a supportive and encouraging team. Developing communication, group decision-making, and leadership skills has been invaluable.”
Thank you to all our supporters and network that have helped us towards completing the project.