The Exchange Soup Night.
Last night we made soup. Lots of soup. Symbolic soup. West End soup. It was good.
The purpose of our soup evening was to share with people our journey so far and to ask people do they like what we’ve done at The Exchange? Are there other things we could be doing? And what could they do to ensure this journey proceeds?
We had a lot of people attend our tiny premises, people brought lots of vegetables, lots of ideas, lots of enthusiasm and lots of soup was enjoyed!
For the benefit of people who weren’t there and a recap for those that were, here's a breif overview of what we talked about on the night.
Why we are a Community Interest Company (ltd by guarantee)
As a CIC we will work as a business enterprise, but we have social aims too. Our beneficiaries are the residents of the Westend of Morecambe. Our Asset lock organisation is Strawberry Fields training.
Asset based community development
We have set our organisation up within an ABCD Framework. This means that we are harnessing the assets, skills and passions that already exist within our communities, so that we can share full participation with you all to develop our creative community.
5 ways to well being
The 5 ways to well-being are an evidence based set of behaviours that helps people maintain optimal health and well-being. They are: take notice; keeping active; connecting; keep learning; and giving. All of our activities are based on these. We also believe that the process of being creative is good for our emotional wellbeing.
We seek to promote local artists within our venue. We have a unique attraction for artists, which is that we can either take a commission on art works sold, or artists can chose to bank time with us and instead of us taking a commission they can provide workshops for us, which will be free for our local community.
The workshops we have provided so far are: Jewellery making, geo caching, making dream catchers, a regular sewing group with cotton on, a regular electronics group with shrimping it, cold wax batik, weaving, herb planting, zen doodling, fabric painting, big needle knitting, crocheting, making juggling balls, Gallery space and stencil making.
Sustainability ideas. an exchange brand and products
Because we are running as a business with social aims we need to ensure that we are economically sustainable. We have a plan to create our own products with our own label. This will range from bags to printed t-shirts, small souvenir items and gifts.
We have also developed a series of workshops that can be commissioned by schools, organisations and services. The courses will be an 8 week course that will be partly participative learning around issues such as drugs, anger management, coping with stress and anxieties etc and then designing with a professional artist a leaflet or poster as a way of disseminating learning.
We have come to realise that there are a variety of arts shops, groups, organisations in Morecambe and rather than see this as competition we would like to map these places and promote all of us for the betterment of the town, so that visitors and locals can see the variety of skills in the entire town. We envisage ourselves as a signposting organisation.
Art with Lancashire Adult Learning (adult college) and Stanleys
We have worked with ‘get connected’ to secure a series of art courses can be run by the adult learning College, these will be hosted at Stanleys community Centre.
We have also worked with Get Connected and Lancaster university to run a series of enterprise accredited course, these will be hosted too at stanleys Community centre.
Student work experience.
We have two young students who are doing work experience placements with us. This is very exciting and we look forward to sharing their progress with you in future blogs.
A call for nominations and expressions of interest for directors of our organisation.
We currently have 3 directors, and would like a further 4 potentially to add expertise and impartiality to the organisation. Directors have a lot of influence over the future direction of the exchange. We’re taking expressions of interest until the end of October. As a director you would have responsibilities for:
Strategy - to contribute to the development of our strategic planning.
Performance: to scrutinise the performance of management in meeting-agreed goals, objectives and monitoring; and should ensure that the organisation operates in fair ways and is compliant with policies.
Risk - Directors should satisfy themselves that financial information is accurate and that financial controls and systems of risk management are robust and defensible.
People - to be responsible for determining appropriate levels of remuneration of executive directors.
Governance - Non-executive directors, should ensure that the organisation is well governed, that services provided are in the interest of the beneficiaries and that best practice is adhered to.
It is anticipated that in our first year we will have a minimum of 6 Directors meetings. These are some of the particular skills and attributes we are looking for in new directors:
Writing bids, in voluntary or statutory organisations
Legal and governance
Academia or research
The arts and creative media
Health and social care
We now have a web site www.theexchangecic.co.uk this has been designed by our in house design team, if you require any services please don't hesitate to get in touch. Our site is still under construction and we intend to have an arts selling platform on it, as well as blogs, artist profiles, services and contacts.
Soup Stone Story
A valuable friend of the Exchange, Linda, then told us all the story of the ‘soup stone’. The story was very meaningful for the purpose of the evening, check out this version of it in this link:
We asked people to make comments, this is the bit that blew us away…… thank you to every body who contributed with their ideas and comments.
What you told us.
What do you like?
The free workshops
People coming together for art
The energy and get up and go
The fact you’ve done so much in a short time
That it exists
It being an addition to the Westend
What else could we be doing?
Portrait caricatures by street artists
Just let it develop, see where it goes
Align workshops with school curriculum
Cook, share, eat
Decorate produce (veg)
Link with schools/childrens centres to deliver workshops (to maybe generate income)
Apply as a group to do public art pieces, sculptures, murals etc.
Develop a friends of the Exchange network
What can you do?
Bake cakes for next two weeks and deliver them
Introduce you to a potter
Dying with natural resources eg veg
A hand doodle workshop
Experience of advertising, PR and marketing
Work collaboratively on an event for summer with kids
Introduction to light art workshops
Introduction to midi music
Anything to do with bikes, cycling, mechanics or tours
I can use a sewing machine and I can help with sewing workshop
Contribute some mobiles and maybe a workshop
Can help with classes, not sure what in
20 sets of fairy lights available for a project
Help with workshops
Knitting on big needles with recycled textiles, old t-shirts, duvet covers etc
Despite the cold evening many people stayed till gone 10.00, chatting and connecting. A question we didn’t ask, was do people want to do this again, but I think we are gonna have a guess on this and say YES we are gonna do this again!!!!
It seems as a small group of people who’ve invested a lot into starting up The Exchange, it was truly very humbling and exciting to see people show such support. We really can’t wait to see everyone again. Although you have left us with quite a to do list!