Roots & rhizomes: a look back on 2017

We hope you are all back in full swing after well-earned rest, as we just about are after an extremely busy year of growth and activity for us in 2017. Not only did we launch a new three-year plan, we embarked on several new initiatives. If 2016 saw us laying down roots in our new home of St. Leonard’s Church, last year we began extending them, rhizome-style, into innovative areas of educating for social change…

We’re extremely proud of Feminism for Change, a new course developed with funding from the Big Lottery. The course is a combination of history, theory and experiential learning enabling women to understand their substance misuse from a wider perspective of gender inequality, away from individual shame and self- blame. It was a pleasure and a privilege working with two groups of women on both pilots to develop the course content this year, and to watch the beginnings of a strong community grow. We are currently looking for funding to enable us to run the course again in 2018.

We also launched Clothing for Change, a clothing line and training project being led by former FfC NEXT and APT course graduate, Bex Exell. The initiative aims to help individuals realise their potential by teaching garment-construction techniques and providing the opportunity to be a part of an exciting new social enterprise. Bex is selling some her fantastic creations on Etsy, where 75% of the funds raised will go to further develop the project and support the work of Foundation for Change.

These funds will enable us to continue to offer our established courses such as Knowledge for Change and The NEXT Project. KFC began last Friday, and our first intake of NEXT participants for 2018 start this Tuesday. Whilst we’re excited to welcome a host of new people, we will all be offering a sad but extremely fond farewell to our superb facilitator and trainer, Laura, who will be leaving us to start a family at the end of  February.

We want to leave you with something uplifting so, in fundraising news:

Oak Foundation has funded Foundation for Change with £160,00 for 3 years to provide core support for our work helping those who have experienced substance misuse to achieve positive and enduring change to their lives and to fully participate in society.

Our sell-out performance of Ebb and Flood – an evening of dance, music and poetry on the theme of ‘resilience’ – raised over £3700. Thank you to all who helped organise or attend. We’re already coming up with ideas for an event in November 2018…

Finally, speaking of dates for your diaries, we will be celebrating our 4th birthday this year with an event on 12th April, hosted by our friends in Shoreditch Town Hall. Keep your eyes peeled for an invite in the coming weeks – we hope to see as many trainees, graduates, supporters and friends as possible.

Best wishes,

Bob, Liz, Laura, Katie and Bex

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