Supporting communities to crowdfund for projects which matter to their neighbourhood.
We will provide a large library and ICT facilities as part of our service level agreement with Sunderland City Council. The Library had 27,272 visitors last year but we want to exceed this. We intend to address the loneliness of older people in the area and the library is perfectly situated for this on many bus routes. There are 10,000 people living in the immediate area of which 43% are over 65 years old according to latest Census Figures. We have already drawn people from up to 3 miles away. Joblessness among over 50's and returning mums is a problem and we are beginning to address this. We are a new organisation with new ideas and want to reach out to local schools sponsoring art and crafts. We cooperate closely with Sport North East and share some facilities and help. Our volunteers include retired Teachers and University Lecturers, Network Analysts, Accountants and Librarians among others. I myself have experience delivering projects in both private industry and Civil Service.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
The library has huge popularity in the area and we have had hundreds of visitors in the first week. The library really reaches people in the area and we have just under 100 volunteers with new recruits daily. It opened after being closed for over 2 months and the response has been fantastic. This project will galvanise the community and we have already seen many older people offer their time as volunteers notably a lady of 85 years who proudly told me that she used to be a silver service waitress in her younger day. I think her volunteering will help both ourselves and her. We also have a young lady with mental health problems who is enjoying the library and gaining great stimulus from her work there. We do not pretend to be social workers but know that people need to feel included and this is what we will do. We provide a forum where people can feel secure and wanted and can join together for the common good. We hope to develop into an employer and employ those who find it difficult.
Steps to get it done:
We have wide ranging plans and with the expertise among our volunteers and help from funding we intend to make a real difference in the area. The council has run the library previously but people have told us that they didn't realise the extent of the facilities available. We have deep cleaned the library and opened it up, providing a 10 table 30 seat cafe which we hope will pay most of the library running costs. We also intend to offer low priced room hire to small organisations while bearing in mind that the library is a unique facility in the area offering print services not available locally and hopefully in future a small manufacturing workshop including 3D printing, Laser Cutting and other technology. We want to sponsor technology and demonstrate energy saving techniques to the local area and beyond. We are setting ourselves to be part of Sunderland's City of Culture bid for which the city is shortlisted will involve the community to a great degree by the time we are chosen.
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