Sunday was busy, as we, the new Coppermill Group, had our first formal meeting on Sunday, meeting Katherine of NVCO to get our project started.  We also got a chance to look around our old local library, which will be  ‘The Mill’, the community space for the residents of the Coppermill area (and beyond)

The old library building

The Coppermill Group is made up of members of local residents association, Blackhorse Action Group (BAG) and St James St Library Campaign, and we intend to bring new local people into the group to shape the project as it evolves.

Our meeting with Katherine was interesting and useful.  We got a new perspective on our group, and useful as she pulled no punches – in a good way!   She got us to confront the gaps in the skills, and encouraged us to get  more organised in deciding our roles within the management of the project, and we recognised that we still need to find a competent treasurer.  We have lots of creative talent, and skills for organising, networking and leading within the group, but we are on the lookout for someone with legal or architectural knowledge.

ground floor plan

We now have a plan of action, from our meeting with Katherine, on what we have to do in these early weeks.   There’s some legal work to be

done with constituting our group and investigating setting up as a CIC or Community Interest Company, so that we can sign the lease with the Council.  (This was one of our surprises, more of which we’ll talk about later when the negotiations are done)

Branding was also identified as a key area to get going on, so that the project is instantly recognisable, and builds support amongst the local community.   We decided on’ The Mill’ – encompassing our idea that the centre should be an incubator, building links amongst the diverse groups in the community, and building a sense of neighbourliness, and social capital.   In short, we want to bring people together, reduce isolation, maybe learn something and have a good time while doing it.

It was also very useful to see inside the building.   Its got lots of potential.

There’s lots of space as well as some odd corners, but there’s the potential to have lots of different things going on.   The building is in a great location; just where lots of people walk past, and can drop in to see what is going on. 

 

It does need some work doing,  as our pics show, but it sparked ideas, especially the garden of what could be done with the space.

So, our challenges as part of the Nesta Challenge are pretty considerable, but the reward will be worth it.    We are keen, just to get into the building, get on with doing some of the activities that we think should happen in there, and see how we can get people mixing, or milling together.

Our thanks to Katherine for kick starting the next bit of our project, and also to Clare Coghill, our Councillor who is very supportive and involved.