As we emerge out of what feels like a very long winter into a wet and blustery Spring we thought it was about time we filled you in on what we’ve been up to!
Things at MIC HQ have continued to be busy over the last few months. We’ve had some major disappointments: we were unsuccessful in our combined bid for funding from the Community Ownership Fund and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, meaning we had to go back to the drawing board on where the money might come from to realise our vision.
Alongside these disappointments though there have been some definite glimmers of hope. Although Heritage Lottery were not able to fund our initial bid, they remain very positive about the project and have appointed us a project officer to work with us on a revised funding strategy. We also, after almost a year of reaching out, had communication from the Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes indicating that they were open to negotiating with us on the purchase of the building for community use.
We have been garnering support from lots of local people too, and encouragement from change makers who inspire us. One of these was Satish Kumar who visited us in February to learn more about the project and share his wisdom and enthusiasm for our vision for a thriving, connected community.
Around the same time we had our biggest breakthrough yet, beginning talks with a local ethical entrepreneur who is enthusiastic about the idea of providing the funds for that purchase. It is by no means a done deal, but for the first time we can see a clear and achievable path forwards to get us – and you! – into the community hub we’ve been dreaming of by this summer.
In order to make that dream come true, though, there is still some significant work to be done.
We are currently revising our business plan, ensuring that we can map out a financially sustainable model for at least the next two years. Our instinct (and the outcomes of the community consultation) tells us that there is a huge amount of demand for the services we anticipate providing, and we now need to back this up with some clearer evidence!
We’re hoping you might be able to help us… We’ve created some short forms to capture more details about people’s potential use of the space, both as customers and service providers, and if you have a few moments to spare it would be great to get your input.
Are you interested in delivering workshops, classes or events in the space? Click here!
Are you interested in using a community kitchen? Click here!
What would you want from a community cafe? Tell us more!
We are working on a new Heritage Lottery bid which we are hopeful will support the first phase of our operations, but we won’t be able to make this work without hands on help from the local community. Could you spare an hour or more to help get this community hub up and running?
Would you be up for helping out with the refurbishment of the space in some way? Click here!
Would you be interested in helping with events and the day to day running of the space? Click here!
It feels like a lot, doesn’t it? For us, too.
This is a huge project, one with the potential to be truly transformative for the people of Buckfastleigh. It will give us a space to come together. A space to play, and learn, and rest, and grow. A space to build connections, and build resilience for the challenges the future is sending our way.
It will be a space of dreams – and together we can make those dreams come true.