Tucked away on an organic farm in Ide, organicARTS are creating something pretty special. With workshops, community activities, walks and so much more on offer, their mission is to get outdoors and educate as many people as possible about farming, environmental issues and the arts… but what do they do when it rains?
Registered charity organicARTS learn with the land and involve people in their creative farm-based learning along the way. They have a vision for a healthy future, for both the community and for the environment and in turn, the future of the planet. Running their arts and education centre at organic West Town Farm, they have developed a reputation for their excellent outdoor activities, so far working with over 3,000 people from many different walks of life. Young people and families, those who need additional support, community groups, those with mental health issues, learning difficulties, physical difficulties, people in recovery from substance abuse – everyone is welcome here.
However, with the seasons getting noticeably wetter and with access recently granted to the upstairs of a grain barn on the farm, it seemed as though prayers were answered for organicARTS to their growing concern, “But what happens if it rains?”
However, in order to turn the barn into a workable space and develop their creative activities, they needed the help of the crowd to make it happen.
Christine from organicArts said, “We had very little time to get our site ready, so we all had to work really hard together to do this, which was fun but a little stressful! We saw crowdfunding as a great opportunity to raise some funds for the renovation which would have been hard to find in any other way.”
The hard work soon paid off when organicARTS raised an amazing total of £8,000 to turn their dream into reality, fuelled by the passion of their local community.
Christine goes on to explain that, “The main impact that we will have due to our crowdfund will not start until the renovation is finished in the spring, but the awareness of what we are going to be doing and what we have and are doing for disadvantaged adults, young people and the general public has already been raised. Once the renovation is finished we will be in a great position to help improve the health and wellbeing of our local community through our creative activities with natural materials.”
OrganicARTS are also one of the first crowdfunder.co.uk projects to benefit from Crowdfund Devon; an initiative set up to support community groups, start-up businesses, charities and individuals from across the county to raise money from the crowd and unlock extra funding from various partners. As well as a £500 pledge from West Country Fruit Sales to get the ball rolling, their crowdfunding project received a further two further extra funding pledges of £1,500 from Teignbridge District Council and £2,500 from Exeter City Council.
Christine added, “Unlocking the extra funding meant the difference between success and failure for our campaign which, as it arrived towards the end, was rather nail biting. It also meant recognition for the work we are doing by the two local authorities whose residents we help most. They had very little knowledge of our organisation beforehand, so it has enabled us to raise our profile on this level. We also had £500 from Westcountry Fruit Sales to start us off which was a great feeling right at the beginning.”
And Christine’s top tips for anyone else thinking of crowdfunding for their community project?
“Make sure you that have a good team of people around you. We were rather lacking due to the time scale, previous commitments and unexpected bereavements! Secondly, be imaginative with your rewards as these can attract unexpected support (we included a gin tasting in ours which proved very popular!) Make sure that you use all of the help that Crowdfunder provide as it is really helpful, and lastly, be prepared to work relentlessly during the period of your campaign.”
If you have a community based project or social enterprise and are looking to crowdfund, then you could also be eligible for extra funding. Find out more about the funds we have on offer and get in touch today.