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Individual Skills For Collective Good


By gatewaycollective, Sep 14 2014 02:37PM

14th September 2014

So is 6 months since the last blog a long time?! I thought I was getting better at blogging but apparently not!

The headlines of the last 6 months to catch you up ...

Our journey with SSE is nearly up. (At the risk of sounding like my granny seriously where does the time go?!) I have learnt so much in the last year and met some truly inspirational people. It is so good to know that there are a group of passionate, committed entrepreneurs in Liverpool who are changing their spaces and communities for good. And if you haven't visited places like 'The Brink' then you really need to! Before starting SSE I knew I was meant to go forward with Gateway but didn't have a clue how. I still have loads of questions and days when I want to give up, eat cake and hide under the duvet but these days are less and less. I have more of a clue about marketing, how to keep an eye on income and expenditure and time management. But probably the biggest personal learning is that I only have to be me - which is good as it's exhausting trying to be someone else! I would look at other people on SSE and compare myself to them thinking they had it all together and I had somehow sneaked into the world of social entrepreneurship by the back door. As a result I would get stressed, set massive goals for myself which of course I couldn't reach. My Mentor and Action Learning Set were great in helping me to get over this and give myself permission to chill out. And it was when I chilled out the things began to happen.

We now have a community garden in North Park in Bootle! Well actually we have a patch of grass but soon it will be a community garden! In partnership with Ykids Bootle we will be creating a brand new community garden in North Park for local people and groups to access, learn about growing and get fresh, organic fruit and veg. We will also be using the site to grow produce that can be used in our chutneys - win win! We are now applying for funding to create our growing paradise and with £500 already in the bank from the local ACE fund things are looking good! We wanted more growing space and were praying about it and ended up with 2 gardens. As well as North Park we are working in the Hawthorne's Free School on their quad garden. Again this is in partnership with Ykids (a perk of being employed by them!). We are working with students to teach them the joy of growing your own and any surplus we will be using in our chutneys. Happy Days! I can't wait till Spring :)

The Gateway Collective is now a Community Interest Company - yippee!!! Our official title is The Gateway Collective C.I.C. This means we are registered with Companies House, need to produce annual accounts and are officially recognised as a company with social aims. It feels good to be official!

Probably the thing I am most excited about though is a potential link with Hugh Baird College in Bootle. We have strong links to Northfield Community Church which will be used as a venue for community learning for non-European women attending the college to learn English. The college are keen for the women to work with us too in the garden and in making and producing our products. This is exciting and something we will be moving forward with.

We still regularly attend Prescot Market as well as other 'one-offs'. There are people who come to us to chat and tell us what's going on for them and we love to build relationships and hopefully make people smile. A man in his 60's last week made us smile by announcing he used to be an internationally renowned pole dancer in a gold thong costume ... I am assuming he was joking but can't be 100% sure! People in all their randomness and quirks are great!

Jan and I both feel that God is with us on our journey and opening doors for us ... The gardens and the link with Hugh Baird happened within a few weeks of each other without us doing anything! While writing this blog I've got a Bible verse in my head 'but the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.' We want to show these attributes in our work with people and everyone we come into contact with. We're up for seeing Bootle turned into a place characterised by love, joy, peace, kindness and goodness ... Who's in?'

The Gateway Collective at Prescot Market with one of our valued customers
The Gateway Collective at Prescot Market with one of our valued customers

By gatewaycollective, Aug 24 2014 09:06PM

So I’m getting better at blogging because this time it’s only been 4 months since my last attempt!

This blog is all about SSE .. the School for Social Entrepreneurs. I have been attending the SSE North West Start Up program since Oct 2013 and I can’t believe how much I have learnt in such a small amount of time. I have visited other successful social enterprises, listened to ‘expert witnesses’ talk about their experiences and have finally got my head around legal structures and the best one for us. Jan and I have started spending the money too! We now have business cards and our branded clothing is on the way (beyond excited about that and I might have to wear all of it at once when it arrives!). But by far the biggest achievement in my mind is the creation of our own website. We did it ourselves – with the help of the lovely Pete – and to us it’s awesome. This will now be a way for people to catch up with what we are doing and eventually a place for on-line sales. Jan is working hard at getting the right card designs and hopefully these can go to print relatively quickly. I’ve still not found the right industrial kitchen yet for chutney making but I’m convinced I need to hold on for the right one at the right time. We are also looking at an allotment this weekend ..Whoooooppppeeee!!! I will be so made up if this happens. Then we can start recruiting volunteers and start growing our own organic, fresh produce. It really is hard work but it is really worth it – I promised myself an early night tonight but instead I’m messing with this! There is so much I know nothing about, the session on tax off-setting today confirmed my lack of business knowledge! However I believe in a God who can work miracles. There’s a verse in the bible that says “You have not because you ask not”. Well I’m asking. I’m asking a lot. “God make this work because we can’t do it without you”.