Well just when you are feeling a bit low and alone in getting on with running a charity and the stuff with it, you get a bit of a boost unexpectedly. We held an Eden Communities Event at the Space2Create Unit on Saturday. Eden Communities are an offshoot of the Eden Project in Cornwell (The one with the bio domes and gardens not to be confused with the local Eden). This brought together community project leaders and workers from across the North of England to meet up and chat, network, support each other and make connections.
The first thing that struck me was the passion they all had for what they were doing. The belief that they could make a difference to their communities. It made me a little sad, with lots going on I realised I had maybe lost that a little. It has been a bit swamped by personal illness, family illness and just the day to day grind of keeping things going.
The second thing that struck me was how very similar it all was. The focus of the projects was all different but the real need to help communities was shared. The problems were all common ones. Finding and retaining volunteers in the face of so many attractive opportunities. Funding and maintaining funding for projects. Space and suitable accommodation. Public awareness of the project and getting support in the community.
It is a very tough climate for charities and community projects. There is so much need developing and there are so many voices asking for help.
What made my day and kind of stopped me being miserable, maybe even pushed the start button again was a conversation with a young lady (well young from the point of view of my approaching lofty age!) who told me what an inspiration S2C was to them and how it had developed, how it was inspiring them to do something in their community. Wow, I thought. If we achieve nothing else this year, being able to inspire somebody to do something for their own community was pretty cool. Sometimes actions have far bigger legacy beyond the immediate pond you are tossing stones into.
This weeks stones…….