A very Happy New Year!
I do hope that you have all had a great Christmas and New Year break.
This year we have a number of projects that we are hoping to develop as well as submitting our application to become a charity in the form of a Charitable Incorporated Organsation (CIO). We are already a ‘not for profit’ social enterprise with everything we earn going back into the project, as it has done since being formed 11 years ago, however we feel that we would be better placed as a CIO. This would allow us to reclaim the Gift Aid on our donations as well as opening many more doors for grant applications. Tuppenny Barn Education would be the CIO with Tuppenny Barn Organics (the part that deals with the shop/veg bags and outdoor growing) ploughing all its profits into the CIO.
It has taken nearly a year to get our application together as it has not been a simple process. We are extremely fortunate in that we have had the assistance of a wonderful solicitor, a supporter of Tuppenny Barn, who has spent hundreds of hours on getting us to the submission stage. He has worked tirelessly on our behalf so we are all hoping that we get a positive response from the Charity Commission. Realistically, we won’t know until around May.
One of the projects that will be one of our two main fundraisers for 2017 is to build a single-storey curved outdoor building, located between the rear of the centre and the polytunnel. Its roof will mirror that of the red cedar shingle centre roof and will house the produce shop. As you may be aware the current shop is ‘pop up’ in its nature thus having to take down and reconstruct each week due to other activities taking place within this area. We are really keen to have a permanent shop with an attached light refreshment area serving excellent organic coffee, cakes and soup. Part of this outdoor building will serve as a workshop area for school and community group visits as well as providing shelter for the staff and volunteers. It will provide a reception area for drinks when we have weddings and also a ‘quiet’ space for the clients of our Social and Therapeutic Horticulture (STH) project we will be doing (see below). We are currently in the process of applying for grants for this building and no doubt will be having dedicated fund raisers through the year to help with this project.
The second initiative we will be involved with has already started in 2016, in that we have managed to get one of our previous trustees qualified to lead our STH project. Sonia Raspbery has taken on this role and in the coming months will be developing with us how we are going to run horticulture therapy on site for specific groups of individuals who will benefit from gardening.
Lindsey and the growing team have started to make plans for cultivating more cut flowers, in particular with an emphasis for those that are suitable for weddings. This is an area I am really keen to get involved with having done the flower farming workshop in October. It is possible that we will be running a floristry workshop later on in the year for brides to be able to do their own wedding flowers.
Emma and Carla have put together a great events programme for the next 3 months. Please do have a look at the website for further details. We have Two Circles Design coming to run our Making a Garden Obelisk/Plant Support workshop on Sat 14th Jan. They are the couple that helped us craft our current ‘willow fedge’ around the flower cutting garden nearly 8 years ago. They have a couple of spaces remaining so do book online. For anyone that is looking for ways to identify the causes of stress, with some practical ways of tackling it, Emma Shelley is running a 6 week evening course on Tuesday evenings for an hour commencing on Tues 17th Jan. The course is £45 covering the 6 sessions and can be booked by following the link.
Finally, we will be having our second wedding fair on Sunday 22nd Jan so if you know of anyone that is looking for a wedding venue with a difference, please do encourage them to come along as we will be having all our wedding suppliers with us to help answer questions and assist couples in planning their special day.