Another busy month with some new activities and new partnerships.
Beginners Italian is flourishing, Spanish for beginners has just begun as has Manenoki, a Japanese Book group.
There is a big emphasis on Up-cycling , and Catherine West is helping her students create something new out of their old clothes – we had a small exhibition of her work and the “memory quilt” ,made out of favourite but outgrown clothes of her 4 year old , attracted a lot of attention. I think other families will be following suit.
Also on the theme of recycling we are building an ongoing partnership with FRP, the Give and Take event at the Mill was very successful and they have since used us as a venue for their draught proofing workshops. (Many of The Mill’s doors and windows are much better as a result! They are coming back on the 10th of March, when they will hopefully fix the front door !!)
We had a busy half term, many craft and drama activities for children which were well attended and the new Sunday morning Creative Dance class for children ( 3 – 5years) is already very popular.
Another partnership this month – the Friends of the William Morris Gallery and Friends of The Mill – 22 paintings, embroideries and prints on the theme of “Is Love Enough?” A good selection of work ,some of it very thought provoking and some very amusing. Also a talk on Morris himself and his quest for a better future, plus a Saturday of printing workshops. We hope to make this an annual event and to form strong links with the Gallery when it re-opens in July.
We are having to come to terms with the fact that the NESTA Neighbourhood Challenge scheme is coming to an end. The scheme was only ever for a year to enable the 17 projects to get on their feet and running so a great deal of energy is now needed to raise funds in as many ways as possible.
We have had to say goodbye to Nathan , who was one of our reception staff and we wish him well in the future. Some of the activities funded by the grants scheme are also ending so we need to do much more to promote our downstairs room hire to a wider network. We have been getting some good advice – but it takes time and people to implement a marketing strategy. (Hello marketing wizards …. who have loads of free time…. please make contact, The Mill Needs You !)
To deal with the future we are “advertising” for specific volunteer roles, helped by WFVA who are spreading the word , we are getting a good response but we still need more people so roles and responsibility can be shared – See our volunteer page for more.
Finally – we launched a Bread and Hummus Brainstorm on fund raising and had a terrific response, from the usual sponsored bike rides, to canvassing local businesses, starting a friends scheme, setting up regular direct debits, and holding special events.
One of our regular volunteers, Frauke suggested selling Coffee and Cake – and she has since worked incredibly hard – she’s built a list of cake bakers and helpers, she’s organised them and at our Spring into Spring sale she raised over £150. I feel very proud that she and her team care enough to donate so much of their time and skills to The Mill.
Another cause for pride – a group of teenagers from a local school chose us as their favourite charity – they made a presentation about us and got through to the finals , sadly they didn’ t win, but it is very heartening that we are being noticed across the borough and by all age groups. So much energy and goodwill to harness – surely a good thing ?