Together and separately we have done all sorts of work in and with the community, and last year we was blessed to be awarded funding by the Big Lottery Fund to do an 8 week course with young (under 25) mums to teach them to cook, all about natural living, sewing, knitting, open up their worlds with vision boards, dreaming, yoga and meditation and have a trip to the farm at The Gathering fields to learn about growing foods and herbs, this went down really well and I am pleased to say one of the mums has totally changed her eating habits, she has ditched her addictions to unhealthy food and has made some massive changes in her life.
We love that we are linked from our deprived Blackpool town to an 288 acre farm in Dolphinholme, where children and adults have the opportunity to get away from the grey buildings and be totally immersed in nature, and learn practical things to change their lives. When the young mums experienced a sound bath for their first time, some of the children fell asleep they were so relaxed and the mums said it felt out of this world!
Planting herb/fairy gardens to take home went down really well, and story time in the yurt for the small ones was exciting. Sharing life stories and having the experience of older mums to talk to about worries and concerns was a brilliant part of the course, and keeping the network of people going to help and inspire is key too.
It is our dream to restore this old Quaker meeting house into an alternative community hub, we believe in living without toxic chemicals, eating clean food that nourishes our bodies and minds, living a purer life and sharing positivity to be the best you can be and encouraging optimum health through talks, food and special events.
Combining this with workshops, theatre productions, cinema evenings, mini festivals, encouraging the local elderly to come and share their stories, holding groups for homeschoolers, parents, children, ethnic minorities and those in our community that feel different for not living in a mainstream way.
We want to open a place where we will welcome community members to come and stay a while, be surrounded by like minded people, eat cleanly and refresh the mind and relax the body, make new friends, get a support network and learn new skills.
It will be unlike any community centres that already exist, we will have a faded elegance decor with twists of a travelling circus, there will be a relaxed bohemian vibe throughout the building. Our ethos is all about eco living, upcycling, reusing, bringing joy and happiness through positivity, growing and learning.
The front room will be dedicated to eating wholesome, vegetarian and dairy free food with squishy sofas, mismatched tables and lots of books, a children’s area with bean bags and wooden toys. There will also be a juice bar serving smoothies, juices and raw foods. This will be Blackpool’s only dedicated vegan/vegetarian, dairy free, fairtrade, organic eatery. With gluten free options available too. The nearest one similar is 30 miles away.
The hall will house many projects including workshop space, mini festivals, vegan fairs, craft projects, farmers markets, art gallery evenings for local artists, yoga, meditation, dancing, sound baths and much more plus having a rentable space for other community groups to use. There will be a stage area for performers to come along and share their talents plus we can put on special evening events in this area too.
Sometimes the hall will be transformed into a cinema showing documentaries and wellbeing films. It will be a great educational space too for homeschool groups and other community projects to use.
The garden is perfect for us growing organic foods, for teaching the community how to grow your own too.
This project is needed in Blackpool as it will educate, socialise and bring together community minorities who have no other place they feel they can go in a safe and homely environment. It is also needed to educate people in eating healthily and on a budget as Blackpool has some very deprived areas. We can teach skills in growing veg, crafts, arts, cooking, eating well, juicing, foraging, meditation, alternative therapies, sewing, composting, keeping chickens, self employment, PR and marketing, blogging and social networking, nutrition, eco parenting and many more.
After putting out a survey to local people our findings showed that there was a lack of communal space where people could meet up, eat, talk, share stories and meet like-minded people who didn’t serve alcohol. Also cafes ect close at 5pm and the only other establishments to meet up in are nightclubs, pubs and fast food outlets. Health conscious non drinkers don’t want to go to these places.
There is a lack of a wholesome venue that teens can feel safe in.
There is no venue specifically for vegans/vegetarians/gluten free/organic eating in the fylde coast. Over 60% surveyed said they would like an organic venue.
59% said they would like to see mini festivals, small concerts and workshops available to all ages.
Positivity and healthy living are the subjects people are most interested in.
There is a lack of friendly, safe places for mums with children that are not play areas to meet and make new friends.
We can’t wait for this dream to come true so we can help and serve more of our diverse and wonderful community and give something to Blackpool that it has never seen before.