We have just been writing a thank you letter to the John Horniman Quaker Children's Trust. I feel quite excitied to see how things have been able to be progressed with their support. Here is our letter Here is their gorgeous website These grants really do help us make a difference!
Having explored various options we finally concluded that to take I Matter Framework training out in to the world we are going to have to learn how to fund raise. This was not something that we jumped to with enthusiam!. However, the hard truth is that even when you work really hard to keep costs down, the expenses accumulate and there are bills that have to be paid and one of the hardest things about operating as an independent when working with children and families who are struggling is the process of having to ask to be paid. Having worked all of my previous career in the public sector I have found myself wincing at the step of charging. It has seemed so unnatural.
However as questions are explored and observations are made it is clear that the situations can become very complex indeed. There are some families who can easily pay what needs to be charged and don't value the services if they are too cheap. There are parents who are struggling to make ends meet but who might be encouraged to make different choices with their money. There are schools who say that they don't have money and must make cuts whilst paying large bills for items and activities that would not perhaps seem to me to be a priority.
So money and fees involve lots of choices over which we can sometimes strongly dsagree. Nonetheless as an I Matter Study Journey involves a substantial commitment from professionals and parents it is important that it should not be too cheap as this would be to misrepresents what is really involved.
Finally we have also discovered that the process of giving and receiving money offers a powerful experience of community.. I have been deeply grateful for the financial support I have had and so going forward I would like to find a way to make sure that these contributions are valued.. So we have decided to include a regular focus on fundraising in ou communications as this accountability will be really useful to us and it will also enable us let you know about the g exciting things we are able to support with the funds you have helped us to raise.
We don't want finances to be the barrier that stops parents and schools from taking part in I Matter Training and to that end we have decided to fund raise with 4 strands.
+ It is now possible to become a Friend of the I Matter Framework - a small annual subscription
+ It is possible to donate to our fund for bursaries for the many parents-carers who ask for help
+ It is possible to donate to our fund for bursaries for professionals who want to help
+ It is possible to donate to our core costs so we can put our energy into reaching further
Al of this is only just up and running but next blog I plan to tell you about the funds we have received so far and how we have used them.
Thank you for looking out for us and for making things possible
So now we are learning how important it is to be focussed. People give us such great feedback that we think we can raise funds that can help us to help more schools and famlies but now we have to have the courage to ask.
We are pretty sure that there are lots of lovely people out there who look at the stressed state of young people and really want to be able to do something to help in some way. Yesterday I had an example that really moved me and reassured me that we needed to step out and trust to the process:
I received an email from someone who I had met in passing at one of the many local meetings I have attended. She asked if I could call her and when I did so she said she had been speaking to a friend who really wanted to take part in I Matter training but had felt she couldn't afford it.
This kind person said she hadn't discussed it with anyone else but wondered if she could pay for her friend.... Isn't that wonderful - it is this sort of experience that makes me feel sure that a community building process is the way to go forward.
I explained that though we had been working on the foundations needed to set up a fund to offer bursaries for parents it just wasn't quite yet there.
However her call was the stimulus that has got me moving. and now I am pleased to say here are our first summer term targets: These funds will go towards supporting our autumn 2019 programme.
+ Friends of the I Matter Framework - a small annual subscription - we would like to find at least 8 people who would like to sign up for an annual subscription this term
+ A fund for bursaries for low income parents-carers who ask for help - we would like to raise £2000 to run some Getting started workshops for parents at member schools and to offer funded Part 2 and Foundation B for those who have completed their Foundation A part 1
+ A fund for bursaries for small school based professionals- we would like to raise £2000 to support school professional bursaries and discounted intermediate training for professionals in small schools.
+ A donation to our core costs so we can put our energy into reaching further - we would like to raise £1000 for our annual CPD accreditation costs and another £500 that we can obtain some advice on whether we have the right tools in place for the next stage of our plans
What do you think - would you be able to make a contribution to one of those appeals? If we happen to attract more than we need or can use in the immediate period, we will carry the difference over to the following term and will be able to use that to plan our next steps forward. All rather exciting!
Hope you can help - and/or could you forward to others?
Thank you ever so much!
I wanted to let you know about the funds that we hve managed to raise so far and the lessons we have learned on the way,
+ One of the first small grants we received came about because of an interesting 'transformation' process in my home town. Kendal as part of Morecambe Bay ran some public meetings asking the community what they wanted the new NHS led Integrated Care Community Structures to focus on. At that time most of the focus of the ICC's was on keeping the friail elderly out of hospital. However in Kendal some people spoke up and said that if the focus was to be community we had to think about the needs of children and families too as this area as this area of need was very poorly underresourced. So with that clear mandate the new Kendal Lead GP for the ICC Dr Amy Lee. Someone had told Amy about I Matter and I was very touched when she decided to take one of her days off to drive us both up to meet with the local Cumbria wide ntegrated children's commissioning group. Our short presentation led to a small grant that allowed us to run our first pilot project with the local primary school supporting 5 families. And so those little seeds have grown to become a network that now includes 5 schools and a newly designed training course for lead proactitioners. So these little start up funds helped encourage us on
+ A second small but key step was a collaboration between the school leadership of our first primary school , Ghyllside School and the PTA. The school liked what they saw and made a decision to relocated a key staff member Gill Mason to the reception year where she was supported in taking forward an I Matter training option for parents of children in the reception year. This next step went really well and we were able to invest in the skills building of both staff and parents - and what a difference that made!
+ One of the next small grants we received came from the local community development fund. The south lakes community development lead had attended the ICC meetings and heard us talking about the work with our Ghyllside school. She invited me to a meeting and encouraged me to make an application and the committee specified that they would like us to use the grant to fund the training of professionals and parents connected to some other local schools. This project went ahead and we were delighted to have 4 staff members completing their I Matter Training at Settlebeck and Old Hutton primary schools
+ In order to go to the next stage, what we wanted to do was to work with the schools over a longer period on a development process so that we could build our own confidence and share the ideas with tthe wider staff communities. We were delighted to be successful in a small grants application to the John Horniman Quaker Trust who have helped us engage 5 local schools on the next stages of an I Matter Journey.
So we are starting to grasp this process and are discovering that what feels good about small grants is that we build a lot of good relationships on the way - and as that is what I Matter is all about this seems to us to be a key way forward.
Thanks for your encouragement
Hope you have a good weekend