Spoonie Village started out with Hayley posting some doodles to Instagram during a relapse more than 3 years ago. Since then, it has grown into a 40,000 strong online community of Spoonies. At the start of 2019, with the help of Tom, Spoonie Village launched a new website, complete with blog, forum, and a new webstore.
This has all been amazing, and it's been a fantastic year for us both, getting to know our community and finding out exactly what kinds of support they could most benefit from that just isn't available right now.
That's why Spoonie Village is becoming a charity!
We want to do more to be able to directly assist our community members in navigating their illnesses, and the isolation it can so often cause, and becoming a charity is the perfect way to do that!
Both of us are passionate about the arts, and we know just how valuable creativity can be in not just the healing process, but our well being as a whole. So we want to provide Spoonies with the materials to get creative, share their skills and relieve some of the boredom and monotony that being unwell can cause.
We also understand the power of community. Spoonie Village has grown organically from nothing into a 40,000 strong community. As a charity we will be able to further expand our reach and work to ensure that anybody can join in and be a part of a global community of people who "just get it".
Neither of us have ever felt totally comfortable running The Village as a for-profit business. We know that a lot of our members simply don't have the funds available to keep buying things from our shop. It's a reality of illness and disability and we totally understand. But there was also the part of us that felt like the need to make money was distracting from the real magic of The Village: giving Spoonies a space and a voice to share their experiences and understand that they aren't alone.
Here's what some of our Villagers have said about how Spoonie Village has helped them so far!
- "It’s made me feel better about my chronic illness. Helping me accept it as a part of my life." - Isabella
- "It has helped me feel less alone. Chronic illness can be so isolating. I don’t know anyone offline with my diagnosis, so having that community online has been a life saver - literally." - Ariel
- "Spoonie Village has let me know I'm not alone, there are heaps of other people out there who understand what it's like to be chronically ill and have to adjust your life because of it. I don't feel so alone anymore, and it's great knowing there are others I can talk to, about all sorts of things, who won't judge." - Bonnie
Well, the short answer is that it'll mean we can run more projects to directly benefit Spoonies! We're basically starting from scratch as a charity, all of the money we've made as a business has gone straight back into the next project. So to make sure that we can start the new year as a fully functioning charity, we need to raise funds to set the wheels in motion. Part of what makes us a village is pulling together to help each other out. Spoonie Village doesn't belong to Hayley, or Tom, it belongs to us all, and this is a chance to contribute to turning our village into a thriving town! Without the stress of having to monetise and self-fund everything, we can be even more ambitious with our ideas.
Organising a Spoonie movie night online? We could do that!
Putting together postage-cost only resource packs? That's the plan!
Putting on a week-long online summer festival for Spoonies? It's an idea we really want to make a reality!
To be blunt, the most amazing thing you can do right now is pledge to support us as a charity. It's not a cheap thing to get off the ground, and we need all the help we can get in putting the right funds behind us to be able to make this dream of ours a reality. Every pound/dollar/euro/etc. will make a massive difference, so anything you can spare will be received with the utmost gratitude. As an incentive, we've even added in some perks for different levels of support!
If you can't donate right now, don't worry! We understand that times are tough for a lot of our community. But if you can't donate, we'd love it if you could at least share this page as far and wide as you can. The more people see it, the more money we can raise, and the more we can do to support Spoonies!
You can use this image to spread the word, on your Instagram/Facebook/Maybe even get a tattoo of it?
Spoonie Village has transformed both of our lives, and we are committed to trying to make a difference to as many people in our community as possible. We just need a helping hand from our friends to get there. This is a huge and daunting process but we know that if any group of people can defy the odds to create something amazing, it's The Village.
Love and spoons,
Hayley and Tom