reflection on a journey

As I sit here on the last day of 2018 it seems to be time to reflect. From the birth of a community interest company around a makeshift table in a cold and dingy store cupboard of Unity 10 Foley Trading Estate almost one year ago, to a beautiful and welcoming ceramics studio in action, it’s been quite a journey. 

After moving from London to Hereford three and a half years ago, bringing with me ideas and inspiration from maker spaces such as Turning Earth in Hoxton, market research in Herefordshire began. Whilst working as a secondary school teacher full time I dedicated a little bit of every day of 2017 to research and writing the business plan. Within a year it was complete. In January 2018 the decision to become a CIC limited by guarantee was made. This company structure was chosen after much thought. It is very important to me that a company that aims to include all and truly has a mission to bring about social change, does not answer to shareholders. A board of directors with a great and varied skill set has been carefully chosen, but not only that, I know that each member of our board upholds our social mission, and we are the ones who make the decisions about the direction and development of this company. I feel that this is the future of business if we are to live in a more equal and sustainable world. There must be goals beyond profit and short term gain. 

As a board and more importantly a team, in May 2018 we ran a very successful crowd funder campaign kicking off at The Courtyard, Hereford. I will always be so proud and thankful for the support that lead to us raising £11,235 in pledges and donations. With the funds raised, we were able to attract a full loan from the start-up loans company and with a further grant from Jonies Trust (via the Herefordshire community Foundation) and over 700 volunteer hours, we were able to complete the work to get the studio up an running. 

I have been visualising the studio in action in my head everyday for around two years now. The satisfaction of finally seeing the studio looking better than I’d imagined and to see our first course run this side of 2019 with our first cohort getting their hands on clay and enjoying the space was unbelievable. However, what I couldn’t possibly visualise, even in my wildest dreams, was the overwhelming positivity, support and encouragement I have received from the residents of Herefordshire and beyond in making this dream a reality. This is the stuff you cannot see, touch or truly quantify when you walk into the creative space that we have created together. But you can feel it when you walk in the door and that smile creeps up on your face. This is what I see when I walk through the door. All of the hard work, advice, motivation and inspiration given by so many in this project so far. It truly is a facility created by the community for the community.  

So what does 2019 hold for us? Well, we welcome our members to open studio from 15th January 2019, our 4 and 10 week courses as well as day events and sessions for kids will run from January, we will be developing our relationship with Hereford College of Arts and other local agencies and we will be involved in all things art and craft in the region. We can’t wait! Watch this maker-space and keep in touch. 

Happy New Year to one and all,

Col x