The day the inevitable happened at Artisans

The statement I knew One day I would have to make but never looked forward to it. My very personal views.

After almost 3 years of Artisans Collective occupying the Old Library in Prestatyn, the building is up for sale.

We have always been aware that our term as tenants of Denbighshire County Council could be short term as we have been on a 2 month rolling contract. That why we have been restricted in applying for funding, we could not guarantee longevity of tenancy.

Which has got me thinking, do all good things have to come to an end?

I would rather say every ending is a new beginning!

Without blowing my own trumpet I can honestly say I have been a small part of a team of people over the past four years that have made a difference to our locality.

From Artisans and its community groups, Prestatyn Mens Shed, Prestatyn Dementia Friendly Community, Kew Gardens, Grow Wild community hub and lots, lots more.

After much personal thinking and soul searching, I have realised that there are too many good things that would be left unfinished if I were to call it a day on any of our activities.

I am going to use every little bit of knowledge gained over the past 4 years by working with organisations a diverse as The Welsh Audit Office, The Older Peoples Commissioner, Alzheimer’s Society , Men’s Shed Cymru, The Cabinet Office, Healthy Prestatyn Iach and lots more local groups, to help us maintain our status.

I am not going to waste time accusing, individuals, authorities or other organisations for the situation we find currently ourselves in. Mainly because I have met so many more good than bad people. But I can assure you it has never been plain sailing working for the good of our local community.  🙂

So on to the next chapter, where do we start?

Today 25th September 2017 is the start of the new challenge so time I guess to contact as many people and organisations that could help us to find funding to buy and renovate the building as possible. Whilst getting the support from as many people as possible. Today will be spent writing a prospectus type of document.

We are going to keep things as normal as practically possible for all of our community activities and community groups during this period.

I will keep this updated every step of the way.

Below is a copy the posting on Artisans Website and Facebook pages

“IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

Prestatyn The Old Library, Art Craft and Heritage Centre will have FOR SALE signs up as from next week.

We have met with DCC this morning and after 3 full years of being tenants the building is going on to the open market.

Due to the terms of our tenancy we had not been able to apply for funding to ensure longevity of our community activities, as we could not guarantee that we would always have premises to continue.

We have fought to get a two months notice period from DCC, but would love to be able to raise funding to enable us to purchase and renovate the building for further use as a community hub.

Any support that comes our way will be much appreciated.”

Personal thoughts looking back 2016

Thoughts that are my own personal ones and do not reflect the views of any organisation mentioned in the post.

THOUGHTs: “the act of thinking about or considering something, an idea or opinion, or a set of ideas about a particular subject”

My Personal thoughts of 2016 and it has been interesting in a huge number of ways. I have had a number of medical problems brought about by a chest infection and pneumonia at the start of the year, and ongoing heart problems from that, but hopefully they will be sorted soon.

Most of my time has been taken up by work at Artisans Collective CIC. Also with other roles and responsibilities occurring due to being part of a community led organisation.

I am very proud that I was made chair of Prestatyn Dementia Community in May. We have come a long way in a very short space of time with that project.

Being involved with Grow Wild has given me some great opportunities. Including trips to up to Scotland and down to London for the National Lottery awards. I could write a book about that alone.

Alongside our community led initiatives we have been involved with businesses led projects such as The Great British High Street. Cumulating with a trip to the award ceremony in December at Lancaster House London, thanks to our MP Dr James Davies.

It is great being involved with Wales in Bloom and the creation of our Dementia Friends Garden space. All part of raising awareness.

Co-productions with North Wales Police and the town council have been really good this year. Particularly the Spooktacular and Grotto events.

Being awarded the National Lottery “Celebration” award was great and enabled us to have a calendar launch party for Aimee’s art group.

Mens Shed is just another topic, it is brilliant and they are moving into their own premises soon, as well as still meeting at The Old Library each week.

Bikes have played a big role as usual this year. thoughts of a bike rider

I enjoyed riding the Great Orme again this year as part of the i61 Church £10 Challenge. Also whilst raising a fantastic £1800 for Prestatyn Dementia Community and meeting some great people.

We have also taken on the Adapted bikes from DVSC and are in talks with Wheels for All about the longevity of the project.

Outside of the Old Library and Denbighshire the word is spreading.

I am extremely proud to have been invited to talk a number of times for the Alzheimer’s Society, The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales and The Wales Audit Office Best Practice team.

Wherever I have spoken people are so impressed with what we are doing here in Prestatyn, it is amazing. From Bangor to Cardiff or closer to home in Wrexham or Conwy the reception has been fantastic.

Our Health and Wellbeing work with Healthy Prestatyn Iach  is going from strength to strength and I am really looking forward to what potentially happen in 2017.

The Future?

I have never been a negative person but my thoughts are that 2017 could be the most challenging year ever.

Why do I say that?

As I have travelled up and down the UK this year I have seen the fantastic work carried out by the 3rd Sector. I have delivered key note speeches about it. But never in my own County!

I have been offered jobs and secondments by other organisations and other places to develop similar models to Artisans Collective. But I love Prestatyn and it’s community and there is a lot more to achieve here.

Our own County are willing to sell the building from under us in 2017. Hence why I say 2017 is going to be challenging.

We are recognised as doing great work up and down the country. But maybe not within Denbighshire County Council. This could be due to past bad experiences. This I hope to change.

Myself, my colleagues and supporters will be fighting every step of the way to ensure the longevity of Artisans Collective CIC. In my thoughts and ambitions based at a renovated Old Library, Prestatyn.

What are third sector organisations?

My thoughts are that not enough people fully understand ‘Third sector organisations’ , A term used to describe the range of organisations that are neither public sector nor private sector.

It includes voluntary and community organisations (both registered charities and other organisations such as associations, self-help groups and community groups), social enterprises, mutuals and co-operatives.

Third sector organisations (TSOs) generally are independent of government. This is also an important part of the history and culture of the sector and are ‘value-driven’.

This means they are motivated by the desire to achieve social goals (for example, improving public welfare, the environment or economic well-being).

Rather than the desire to distribute profit; and reinvest any surpluses generated in the pursuit of their goals.

For this reason TSOs are sometimes called ‘not-for-profit organisations’. A better term is ‘not-for-personal-profit’. In many cases, TSOs need to make surpluses (or ‘profits’) to be financially sustainable.

TSOs can take a number of legal forms. Many are simple associations of people with shared values and objectives. Many have company status but with a not-for-personal-profit approach.

Very many have charitable status or are community interest companies, industrial and provident societies or co-operatives.

Benefits that third sector organisations can give commissioners

Public services can gain a lot from working with third sector organisations.

The benefits vary across policy and geographical areas. But some of the common themes are TSOs’:

Understanding of the needs of service users and communities that the public sector needs to address;

Closeness to the people that the public sector wants to reach;

Ability to deliver outcomes that the public sector finds it hard to deliver on its own;

Innovation in developing solutions; and Performance in delivering services.

TSOs also speak out for people and their needs to the public sector and to wider society.

Such activity may be based on a local, drop-in advice service for people living with Dementia, right through to a charity’s national communications campaign. Such work dovetails with TSOs’ services to the public.

Personally I really want to push the fact that the 3rd sector is not a bunch of “do gooders” prancing around volunteering for the sake of it.

The Third sector is now a necessity to enable our communities to function.

We are as professional or if not better than some of the “establishment”.

I would not wish to see anybody pushed out of work because of volunteers.

That is a big misunderstanding we are not here to replace. But to enhance what is available to our community. Sometimes in a more relaxed less formal way.

We aim to

  • Act immediately on any project or task that we feel needs attention. Without the historic constraints of other larger institutions or organizations.
  • Partner with larger or smaller organisations.
  • Not compete with statutory services.
  • Facilitate and help other groups form, grow and develop.
  • Continue to enable others to benefit from our experiences.
  • Be self-funding.
  • Always be community led.