Still great things happening in Wolverhampton

At our latest Make:Shift get together on 17 July, it was great to catch up on how all the various ventures are progressing.
Thanks to Howard Berry, Mike Shields, Ann Walker, Ian Peddie, Hiran Patel, Kathleen Fabre, Elliot Lord, Martha Cummings and Kevin Wilkins for coming along.
It would be true to say that everything hasn’t been plain sailing for our Make:Shift ideas but when we all get together something magical seems to happen. Through our collective experience, skills and networks we always seem to be able to make a helpful suggestion or two to get things back on track again.
Hiran told us about his very positive experience of being involved in Future Shift. He’d been involved in some very interesting learning opportunities. The next stages will be prototyping and testing the projects and applying for funding.
Hiran said that the networking and learning from Future Shift had been particularly useful for him.
Howard gave us an update on the Boundary Way allotments. He is encouraging people to use the allotments as an artistic venue. The group is also using permaculture principles in order to make the space more productive.
The allotments now have two groups of people with learning disabilities working there as well as group from the Beacon Centre.
Howard is aiming to link this idea to the Edible Gardens project on 20 September – a project aimed at encouraging people to use community gardens.
The project is linking with the Camera Obscura idea as well as Art on the Move.
More on both of those ideas next …
Ann explained that at a previous meeting she had been looking for a venue to build a camera obscura that sits within nature. She has now found some space at Boundary Way Allotments and now needs to liaise with the planners to find out if she needs planning permission. Mike offered to help with this.
Ann explained that she is looking to crowd sourcing to fund the project.
The group also suggested that there might be a natural link with Highfields School.
Kathleen explained that Art on The Move had been a lot of hard work. She has not managed to assemble a team to support her so all the work has fallen to her, which has become increasingly difficult.
The next stage for this idea is to raise the £2500 needed to implement Art on the Move.
The Newhampton Arts Centre will host a Meet the Artist event.
Boundary Way Allotments will be a venue for an installation and the idea will also be part of the Black Country Echoes Festival.
Kathleen would also like to secure an empty shop in the city centre. The group were able to advise on the best route for this as well as advising on how volunteers could be utilised to support Kathleen, crowd sourced funding and fundraising support from the Voluntary Sector Council.
Elliot explained that the community organic garden is progressing well due to a new committed volunteer with the potential for some other new recruits through the Co-op.
Two schools are also on board with sending young people for work experience.
Mike suggested that Elliot could involve people with learning disabilities and that there might be some finance attached to this.
Kevin explained that his idea of bringing St Thomas’s Church in Finchfield back into community use was still progressing well.
Pleasingly, the church has agreed to waive the restricted covenant on the church and, whilst early fundraising efforts have not been successful, the group will continue to try to raise the finance needed.
The group has been revitalised by an influx of active volunteers including a dynamic new chair and some people with learning disabilities sitting on the steering group.
Kevin mentioned the possibility of some private funding for the project.
Ian explained that he is developing a transport initiative designed to sit somewhere between Ring and Ride and Community Transport.
A lottery bid has been submitted and Ian is waiting to hear if this has passed the first stage.
Other sources of funding are being explored including the European Social Fund and the Cloth Workers foundation.
The group are beginning to work on some I.T. projects.
So all in all lots of great ideas still happening in the city. And there’s still the potential for you to put forward your good idea.
Watch out for our latest blog on the shape of the next Make:Shift event in November which is coming right up.


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