Bauhaus Cafe CIC hosts very first youth exchange

This year in April, Bauhaus Cafe CIC applied for our very first Erasmus + Youth funding and were delighted to be informed we were successful.

From 5th August to 14th August 2018, we hosted a Youth Exchange, My Creativity Matters.  This is what the exchange was about:

“Research shows that creativity in young people results in mental well being and positive achievement in life.

The project aims to explore creativity in young people with mental health issues by allowing them to learn how to design, develop and deliver programmes using arts, crafts and music, meanwhile creating a valuable volunteering experience motivating young people, teaching them skills and developing their sensitivity and understanding of the world around them. The project will raise the aspirations of young people.

The project wants to allow young people to ‘open up’ and ‘verbalise’ their issues through creativity and be enabled to gain the confidence, motivation and skills needed to be able to reason and make decisions whilst learning to communicate their own understanding of mental well being, their own skills and abilities.  The workshops will motivate, inspire and empower them to volunteer, become self employed, set up enterprises or social enterprises to become self sufficient and fully active citizens, agents of change.

1. Increase levels of motivation, confidence and aspirations of young people up to 25 years old from disadvantaged backgrounds
2. Increase the chances of obtaining employment and maintaining it by offering essential knowledge in personal development, self care, self improvement and communication through creating vision boards using arts and crafts
3. Raise awareness on the importance of volunteering and lifelong learningin aimed at improving long term career prospects of the participants
4. Promote healthy and sustainable behaviours among participants trough specific workshops on the subjects of environment, food and personal self care

By its activities, our project meets the specific objectives pursued by the Erasmus+ in the field of youth to improve the level of key competences and skills of young people, and the empowerment of young people, including and especially those with fewer opportunities.
Youngsters in our project will acquire new competences useful for them on a long term in their process of personal development which is strongly connected with their chances of being employed.

Empowering young people means that:
More young people have the support, opportunities, skills and resilience they need for the future
Young people have better relationships with their support networks and communities
Young people have improved health and wellbeing
We would ensure that young people are heavily involved in the design and delivery of the project as taking ownership means that they will value the project and be more keen to make a success of it”

Our group stayed at The Grand Burstin during the exchange.  Management at The Grand Burstin were wonderful and they had gone above and beyond their call of duty to ensure our group has a memorable stay and we are really grateful to them, especially Barry Lane.

We were very impressed with the creative talent of the group which included musicians, artists, politics students and even an odd student of medicine or two, among others.  They produced high quality work and enjoyed doing it too.  Thei created Vision Boards, wrote poetry, played music and even performed at an Open Mic afternoon at Lime Bar Folkestone.  It’s even clearer to us now that creative young people don’t get enough guidance and advice to take their career forward once they leave academic environments.  We were happy to have contributed, and provided enough advice and knowledge they can use to make more informed choices and decisions.

We’d like to thank all the participants for working hard towards the aims of the project and we hope they will continue to be motivated and move forward and make a success of their career.  We’re very proud of you and hope to see you very soon again here is the UK or somewhere in the world.

We’d also like to thank Michal Kaminski (known as Rovaneche), artist, and Dave James Horn, Poet, our volunteer Levi who helped with filming, and Matt for helping to deliver the project, as well as partner group leaders Yiannis, Christos, Marta, Ramin and Emre for their contributions, workshops, energisers and much more.

We’re off the Georgia to deliver our second project and we can’t wait.

Here are some images of some of the participants with their vision boards, you did an amazing job.  There will be a photobook available soon so I hope you’ll be able to get a copy each.

Enjoy

A New Year, a New You?

A new year, a new you?

We hope your holidays were fabulous and that you have begun the year with amazing goals and plans for self growth and business growth.  So how about taking up a new hobby or doing something that’ll change your life?  We have a number of great workshops coming to you from this month.  All materials and refreshments are included and you’ll be learning from professionals with lots of experience. Here are some of them:

From the 13th January, 10am to 1pm, we start our Sewing Lessons for Men. So if you’re stuck with holes in your socks, have ripped your trousers and don’t know what to do, or you simply want to learn to make your own cushion covers and mend your own tears and holes, we will teach you just that and a lot more in 5 weekly sessions. Continue reading

The Future of Creativity

Recently, the Guardian published an article about arts centres and their role in social care.  The article said: “Arts centres are not only havens for artists developing work, they also deliver cost-effective social impact and creative education”.  This was not a revelation for arts organisations such as the Centre for Creativity and Enterprise here in Ashford.  In fact, we see the impact that arts and crafts are having on people’s lives every day and receive many letters from past users to tell us of how their lives have been changed for the better.

We don’t do the work we do for the gratitude but we feel appreciated and know that the arts, and creativity in general, have a positive effect on mental well being and health.  Occupational therapists recommend it to all of their service users, and so do mental health teams and counseling services purely because creativity brings people together and out of isolation, builds confidence and resilience, and communities who understand each other and have empathy for each other. Continue reading

Business networks help local business growth

 

 

Betsy working late

Me working late on a Saturday

Sitting here late at night, doing work and updating social media content, I see from my chat tab, and the many posts coming through, that my fellow self employed are working late too.  Whether it is a wise thing to do or not – and some time management gurus may suggest it’s not – more and more of my fellow creatives, makers and home run business are up all hours of the day in the spirit of driving our businesses forward.

OK so we’re starting our own revolution and it is all about making local and handmade what people buy into in our towns, or at least some people anyway.  What I’m witnessing is that it’s working, however slow and painful it may be. And what’s even more amazing is that we’ve all become each others’ helpers and marketeers … and, by definition, support networks. Continue reading

Hidden arty gem in the heart of town

The Centre for Creativity and Enterprise

The Centre for Creativity and Enterprise

In the centre of Ashford, Kent, there is a quaint gallery that houses amazing pieces of art by local artists.

Although it is a little hard to find – placed in the alley way between Mecca Bingo and the Spar -, it is one of two galleries in Ashford and houses over a hundred pieces of art, a number of sculptures, glass and wood carvings.  But it isn’t just a gallery.  The Centre for Creativity and Enterprise – a social enterprise – is also a craft shop which sells items such as dolls, handbags, jewellery, cushions and all sort of lovely crafts by either local makers or produced at the Centre.  It is a business hub and offers help to individuals who are planning to start their own business or are already operating a business.  On offer are workshops, courses and a room to let, advice, networking opportunities and a whole host of services to the community, be it business, creative or anyone needing a helping hand. Continue reading

PR professional helping handmade win in the high street

I met Emily through social media connections and I was so happy to know that there’s someone out there who’s passionate about creativity and is keen to use her skills to help local makers and artists promote their work. Emily will be delivering a series of workshops at the Centre for Creativity and Enterprise,  the first of which is entitled How to see your products in print. I’ll keep you posted on dates.  In the meantime, here’s what Emily had to say today:

“I’m Emily and I’m a freelance craft journalist and editor. I worked in the craft publishing industry for years and I’ve seen it grow from quite a niche hobby when I first started, to one of the fastest growing industries in the mainstream market. Now it seems everyone is interested in a little piece of craft! In my time I have written about so many different disciplines – name a craft and I’ve probably covered it at some point or another! Continue reading

No Business without a Plan

Business Planning at the Centre for Creativity and Enterprise

Business Plan

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So you really think you can run a business without a plan, well that’s what I thought.  But boy was I mistaken.

Running a business without a plan is like playing ball in heels, which maybe possible, but not without disastrous consequences. And there’s plenty of help available out there, no matter which industry you are starting in.

When I was starting up I know what I wanted to do but had no idea how to put a plan together, especially the financial forecasts.  How could you put a price on a service, especially if the organisation is not for profit. That’s when I had advice from Business Link, an extremely valuable service for self starters, and then the Enterprise Hub at the University of Kent.  I remember how encouraged I felt after speaking to the team.  They also helped me apply for funding, which I did get as well as the opportunity to pitch my idea in front of judges – and I won the second prize of £2000 for Joining Hands, and that was an amazing feeling. Five years later, here I am, I do understand what Social Return on Investment is (SRI) and how important it is to be able to measure it, even if not without difficulty. So now that I know a little about business planning, I would like to help you in much the same way I was helped.

I am running a Business Planning for Beginners workshop on Thursday this week, so the 30th January from 1pm to 5pm.  A business plan is a framework of your activities which is flexible and responsive to opportunities. The aims of the afternoon are: to come up with some long term and short term objectives, to do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in case you wonder what that means) analysis but not before we work together to set your mission, your purpose and goals.

Too many small businesses think that strategic planning is for big business but businesses that survive and prosper are those who meet their customers’ needs and you cannot meet customers’ needs if you haven’t thought about who you are selling to, what are your prices based on, who is your competition and what is your USP (unique selling point). Of course, you also need a marketing strategy, financial forecasts and I will suggest a few places where you can get that help.  There is plenty of advice available from Enterprise hubs, your business bank, mentors, Chambers of Commerce and business academies around the County.  You could also test your product at pop up shops if there are any in your area.  We are fortunate enough to have Pop Up Ashford which has helped a number of business start-ups since it started last year.  So it may be useful to book a space if you are unsure about starting up or would like to test your product. There is also a vast selection of free Business Plan templates available online.  You just need to see which tickles your fancy and is more suited to your business needs and your industry.

So the 30th January from 1pm to 5pm at the Community Crafts Centre.  There is tea/coffee of course and plenty of biscuits.

See you then