Our hometown of Thirsk is a pretty North Yorkshire market town in the borough of Hambleton. With a thriving tourism market and a wonderful sense of community it's a great place to live and we are very proud of our town and the surrounding district. However what makes it so great is also what makes life tough for others - our rurality can be isolating for many - there are only five buses a day to the nearest neighbouring town of Northallerton 10 miles away, and many of the statutory services (such as Housing and the Job Centre) are based there or even further away in Harrogate or York. Poverty in our town is hidden away, and many are isolated and lonely. Our charity The Clock has been around for over 15 years and seeks to provide much of the support other larger specialist charities may offer in larger towns and cities - we support people - young and old - who are facing challenges such as homelessness, hunger, are victims of domestic abuse, recovering from drug and alcohol addictions, lacking ambition or failing to fulfil their potential, are mentally ill, disabled or disadvantaged. We are there for anyone in our community who needs us, and we do this by providing support, practical help, connecting people to specialist agencies and by offering education and training opportunities.
Our charity has recently created a trading arm called 'Clock Works' that has three key aims:
1. To create opportunities skill development, volunteering and job opportunities for local people. These opportunities will be both stand-alone and as part of other programmes where we are providing support and/or training, to add a practical element in an active business.
2. To have a positive impact on our environment by reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill and reuse our community's resources.
3. To increase our community's resilience and prosperity.
Any surpluses generated from our trading activity will be invested back into our charity's front-line services, providing support to those in our community who need it - young and old.
What our business will do
Clock Works is a social enterprise that will consist of a number of businesses including:
1. A community furniture store, where unwanted furniture will be donated and we will either sell on or repair and refurbish then sell on.
3. A bicycle recycling scheme - where bikes will be donated and we will refurbish them, selling them on at low costs to create opportunities for those seeking employment to increase the geographical scope of their job searches and encourage our community to be more active to have a positive impact on their physical and mental health.
4. A baby and children's equipment store - similar to the furniture store, but providing families with low cost, accessible pre-loved equipment such as cots, cribs and pushchairs.
5. A School Uniform pop-up shop, to receive donated of unwanted items and re-sell at low cost.
How this funding will help
The funding we are asking for will enable us to set up and run the workshop part of our business, where donated items (furniture, bicycles and baby/child equipment) will be repaired, refurbished and recycled by a team of volunteers. Led by those in our community who have time and skills they are willing to share, we will help people develop new skills or improve existing ones, giving them a place to socialise, make new friends, grow their confidence and interpersonal skills, whole having new positive experiences in a safe and supportive setting. Our items will then be sold in the Store to cover the costs of the project and ensure it can become self sustaining.
The impact we will make
Our project will bring together our community, both those with a desire to give (such as their time, skills, donations) and those in need (of developing skills, filling time, friendships for example). Here are some examples of the impact we will make:
- We will offer people who may have retired or have free time an opportunity to share skills and develop a new sense of purpose, reducing loneliness and social isolation by facilitating new activities to be involved with.
- We will offer young people and adults who are not in employment for a variety of reasons an opportunity to learn new skills and build new social networks. This will reduce social isolation, build confidence, improve sense of wellbeing and where relevant, employability or the ability to earn an income from self-employment.
- We will provide a service to our community and have a positive environmental impact by reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill and reducing the number of delivery vehicles coming in and out of our town bringing furniture from elsewhere.
- We will be able to offer low cost furniture to those in our community who may struggle to afford it from other suppliers.
- We will be able to identify and engage people in our community who do not currently access our front-line services but may benefit from them, or refer them to other partner agencies that can help.
We are looking for support because we are a great community working hard to be even greater. This project seeks short-term investment to help us to be more self-sustaining and resilient by creating a place we can come together to make the most of our collective resources to the benefit of all our community.