Setting up my own community organisation

I thought it was about time I blogged about my little voluntary project. I have had a lot of experience with setting up my own community organisations with the help of certain companies. My first one was called 'Crafts for ME' and then my current one is Project Parent. 

'Crafts for ME' was an idea which came to me after being stuck in bed for awhile with ME. The only thing I could really do was small craft project, which got me through the day, and I wanted to share this experience with other sufferers. So, I did some research on organisations which could help me. Here, I came across vinspired cashpoint. All the details are on the link, but I did a lot of planning and ended up getting a £500 grant to start up my project. I used the £500 on crafts and postage, and managed to make a number of very happy ME sufferers. The way it worked was that you nominated a sufferer, with things like age/likes/severity included in the form, then I'd sort them out a craft box. I think I managed to give out 20 overall and I loved doing it. The only problem was that I didn't have any opportunities to continue it after, but it was a real stepping stone giving me confidence and organisational skills.

After a long break, my next idea came to me. Project Parent. This started in 2013 and involved making up gift boxes for parents of children who are in hospital. Primarily, this was for Christmas and was focused on the RVI in Newcastle, but I always had ideas of expanding throughout the UK and having different time slots throughout the year. I needed support with both funding and training, and through my friend Alex, I found 02 Think Big. This gave me more opportunities to expand my idea and the training I needed to run my project. Again, after much planning, I gained a £300 grant and a training session in Leeds, which meant I ran my project last Christmas. As it was so successful, I have applied for 'Think Bigger', which gives grants up to £2,500 and would mean I could really expand my project. In the meantime, word got out thanks to an article in my local paper here, and lovely people have been fundraising for me already meaning I already have a good starting amount to continue the project this year. I should hear back sometime in March about if I've been successful for the grant, and have got my fingers crossed as this is a project I've put a lot of effort in to.

So why don't you give it a go? These projects you lead by yourself with a group of volunteers are by no means easy. A lot of planning, determination and effort go into them. But it's so worth it in the end. I do encourage anyone to give this a go. There's a lot of opportunities out there, and especially if you are like me (don't get out much, need a project to keep me focused) then it's worth a shot. If you need any help feel free to contact me on my 'about' page.

I'll write a longer post on Project Parent and it's work soon.

Kate x

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