Popular items borrowed this week!
We’re pleased to announce that Share’s month of textile workshops has kicked off with flying colours. From t-shirt rag-weaving to tapestry and peg-weaving, a whole range of new skills, as well as stories, are being shared at the shop.
The workshops have been described as “a community building exercise, with textiles on the side” and it has certainly contributed to a closer-knit feeling (excuse the pun). Our first session was attended by a 2-day old to a 93 year-old, as well as three generations of one family.
People are encouraged to learn and simply have a play. So far we’ve collectively created the letters of ‘SHARE’ in rag-rug to be displayed in the town council, but just as importantly, we’ve enjoyed conversations on everything from political sustainability, to Peruvian traditions, and finally settling in Frome.
But where did the idea come from? The workshops are part of a collaboration between Share, the library of things and Frome Textile-Workshop, a collection of weavers, spinners and dyers. One of the central figures is Ben, who’s completing his Textiles Masters in Sweden and decided to undertake a community project to create a tie between the two organisations. He told me it’s been lots of fun, and interesting to get people into sharing skills.
Frome Textile Workshop are not only donating their abilities but also once the month is over, they’ll be passing on some of the equipment to Share library so that anyone can come, borrow, and try it out for themselves.
It’s been really encouraging to see so many new faces coming in to the shop. There have been even more curious passers-by pressing their noses to our window than usual and it’s been fantastic to invite them in. Textiles has proved a perfect way to get people talking, creating – even bridging demographics. The great news is, there’s still two more weeks! Come along and join us, for a weave, a stitch or a chat. All welcome!
20th – 24th April
The priority for week 7 was the building of the shop. At the Monday meeting, I was panicking more than others about the challenge of transforming an empty, unfurnished space into the sleekly designed Share shop we had all envisioned. Meanwhile, people like Dom and Johannes were quietly confident about the speed at which building can get done when people come together.
Monday and Tuesday were spent collecting materials for the build – mainly pallets, shelves, and wooden boards. Dom, Zoltan and I then embarked on the build on Wednesday. In that first day we built wooden benches and started putting shelves up. A dilemma which had been present throughout the project became amplified during this period – whether people should focus on new skills or focus on their strengths. For the success of the project we decided on the latter. This was unfortunate for people like Dom, who ended up supervising the build, but I personally believe we wouldn’t have got the build done without his building skills.
Many of the shop fittings were made out of wood, including the shop desk, benches to sit on, a workbench in the rear of the shop, a display island and shelving. For this reason, it was great that on Thursday many people with carpentry skills from the Frome community came to lend a hand. We started in the morning and didn’t finish until 10pm that evening, and during this period we got a big chunk of work done. The following day we felt relieved and happy. A simple, minimalist, warehouse design style was emerging which seemed to suit the concept of the Share shop.
At the same time we still needed to be aware of the other areas of the enterprise. Our initial areas of supervision seemed to fade away and we undertook what needed to be done on an ad hoc basis. May took over responsibility for the volunteers, doing a great job recruiting them and organising a volunteer training evening. Biz continued with her work of engaging the community, networking with local business and planning the launch event. Maija and Charley were busy overseeing systems, creating membership forms, waiver forms and pricing items.
Chris StewartRead More
WEEK FIVE: 06/04 – 10/04
Moving on from the disharmony of Week Four, Week Five began much more cohesively. Biz organised fun activities to get the group going each morning, from dancing in SHARE with scarves around our heads to playing pooh sticks over the River Frome. We also had a good initial meeting to discuss the tasks which had to be actioned that week. Charley, as project manager, facilitated this discussion brilliantly, creating a timeline for the week tailored to each person’s needs and skills. Finally, we worked in SHARE for the entirety of that week, which certainly improved our sense of togetherness. Sat around the table on our computers, we could get on with our individual tasks and share ideas when we needed to.
On the Sunday prior to this week began, SHARE made its presence felt at the Frome Independent Market, thanks to Biz and Charley. People flooded in all day, adding items to our wish list and suggesting ways of making SHARE a dynamic shop. This is the really rewarding aspect of this project for us – engaging with the community and creating a space which will (hopefully) be a communal space long after we’ve gone.
During this week, Maija, with the help of her sister Ebanie, did a great job of designing the brand, utilising a programme that few else seem to know how to use: Photoshop. The brand now has SHARE written in white writing on an orange background, with images of tools, leisure items and household items displayed below. May got us launched online, setting up our Facebook account and building our website. Biz carried on with her role of engaging the wider community, networking with different organisations in Frome as well as creating a quirky postbox through which locals could post their ideas for the shop. Charley, as well as liaising with different groups, began the process of setting up SHARE’s database, using a framework from the sharing website My Turn. Dom and Zoltan began sourcing different materials, from pallets to paint to sanders, and I began collating information received from the many people who are prepared to donate items to the shop.
Like last week, we gathered at the shop on Wednesday evening, this time to scrape and level the uneven floor. With Bob Marley in the background and a couple of beers at hand, it was nice to be doing physical work after the conceptual work of prior weeks. It was also a relief to be starting work upon the physical transformation of the shop – with four weeks to go, the shop build was a priority. At one point, a kindly man came into the shop and told us what a great job we were doing, which spurred us on with greater enthusiasm. As I said earlier, the value of this project really lies in those little interactions with locals…Read More
WEEK FOUR: 30/03 – 03/04
Early on in the project, an expert came in to talk to us about social enterprise. She informed us that at certain points during any start-up a group will experience what is called the ‘groan zone’. For me, the ‘groan zone’ came on the week beginning 30th March 2015. The honeymoon stage of the project was over and it was time to make the transition from the planning stage to the doing stage. There seemed to be an overwhelming amount of tasks that needed to be undertaken and it didn’t help that a lot of the team were off sick.
Thankfully, one good decision we had made previously was to separate all the many tasks into different categories, with each category overseen by one or two people. These categories and their respective overseers were the following: PR/Marketing(May and Jacob); Shop Design/Build (Dom and Zoltan); Engagement/Events (Biz);Systems/Finance (Maija); Brand/Logo (also Maija); Items/Volunteers (me); andProject Manager (Charley). The last role turned out to be crucial. It was so important to have a project manager monitoring the progress of each area, holding daily meetings and having an overarching view of the whole project. Charley integrated well into the democratic nature of the group, acting as a coordinator rather than a ‘boss’. As a whole this system worked smoothly, with the different work teams and the project manager seamlessly interweaving with each other.
My three highlights of the week were 1) the decision to name the shop SHARE: A Library of Things, 2) staying at the shop till 10pm on Wednesday to create an intrigue banner, which was particularly enjoyable because it showed us coming together out of a sense of enthusiasm for the project, rather than out of a grudging sense of obligation, and 3) April Fools Day, where we covered the floor of the Hub in hundreds of post-it notes, as a tribute to our dear course facilitator, Johannes, known for his tendency to incorporate post-it notes into every stage of the business planning process!
In regard to the smaller teams, Dom and Zoltan spent the week brainstorming ideas for the design of the shop, collecting images from Pinterest and creating a list of all the materials that would be needed for the shop build. May created a timeline for the PR/Marketing campaign, finalised SHARE’s key messaging and wrote a press release. Biz went to events like the ‘Money Matters’ event at the Cheese and Grain, Maija made a draft of the financial policy and I finalised a mail-out asking if people would be prepared to donate items to SHARE.
Despite all the progress described above (and perhaps we were too quick to forget our achievements), the group found the week challenging through being so thinly spread at times. At one point four people out of eight were off sick. The good news is that all the frustration brewing in the group was voiced at the weekly process meeting on Thursday afternoon. Some felt that there hadn’t been clear enough communication as to what the tasks were and who was doing what, and there was a general consensus that there needed to be a better planning meeting on Monday morning. I think this process meeting reaffirmed group unity, and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt this week, it’s that creating a sense of wellbeing in the group is perhaps more important than getting on with the tasks.Read More
On March the 2nd, a new crew of 8 apprentices started with Edventure. This is a blog post that Biz wrote. She is one of the new apprentices…
We are into the 2nd week of our Edventure apprenticeship and our project to start a Sharing Shop: A place where the people of Frome can come to share objects, skills and time.
We have 2 months to research, design, build and launch the space, in collaboration with local people. The team of 8 of us between the ages of 18 and 30 will be learning how to work together, create an enterprise, and how to involve the local community in the process, all by learning through doing.
The first week was spent getting to know the team – hearing each others life stories and sharing our skills and strengths. We got to grips with tools that will enable us to work effectively as a team and collectively came up with some ground rules. We also got a little insight into Frome with a brief history of the area from the Mayor.
The second week was spent getting to grips with the challenge brief and going out to do market research. This involved going to local meetings and inviting some local movers and shakers into the Hub to hear their ideas and insights, as well as speaking to passers by on the street.
Two weeks into our apprenticeship and we have an emerging idea of what a sharing shop looks like. This is based on talking to local people about how they already borrow and lend items and share skills. We have discovered that there is clearly an appetite for a physical space where people can share, and look forward to the next stage of prototyping the idea and seeing what the people of Frome think. *Watch this space…*Read More