I was running drop ins for people with mental health issues but I wanted to do more. I had the idea of running some workshops. It proved to be one of those times when you learn a lot about what not to do next time you put an event on.
One problem that arose was the stipulation made by one of the speakers that the workshops were free. If those who attended did not contribute then who would pay for room hire etc. Amongst the options was find a way to attract funding from somewhere.
No one gives individuals money to do things like that. They do give money to other organisations. The answer to that issue was set up an organisation. What kind of legal structure can one person on their own use to set up an organisation?
In the UK you can set up a company. There is a sort of legal structure that is designed to be used by social enterprises called a Community Interest Company. It is a hybrid between a charity and a company. Being a hybrid some organisations will give it money in the same way as they would give a charity.
One day shortly after I this organisation I was wondering what it would become. So shortly before I went to bed I asked God what He would like it to become.
This is a centre where where people in mental distress could come and get everything they needed to recover. Just about the only thing that it did not offer was somewhere to stay.
There would be
- a quiet area for spiritual refreshment
- a study area for those who want to improve their literacy and numeracy skills or gain other qualifications
- a business/employment area where people could learn or practice skills that would help them set up a business or get a job
- a living area where people could come and practice housekeeping or DIY skills
- a practical helps area for those setting up a new home or moving home
- a social area for those who want to meet friends and have something to eat
This sounds more like a small town rather than a single community project doesn’t it. It does not even sound possible. The answer to this is that if God wants it to happen then He will make it happen.
How could it happen?
One of the things that happened with the organisation that ran those drops ins was that some people came to the drops ins. they then became volunteers and then causal workers and some became permanent staff. Well that is a good thing to model. Bring people in and help them move forwards so they can take a bigger part in helping those who come in after them.
The lessons I learnt in terms of financing this kind of work have been written up in Financing Kingdom Work I could use my own money, use other people’s money or become self-sustaining if I could get over the blocks that my mind put in the way.
In the end though CIC proved to be the wrong way to approach the situation so I decided to close it down. The idea of Lily’s Place did not die with the CIC as still continues to influence what I do. In a strange way it has become a bigger part of whole.
There is that saying that unless seed falls to the ground then it cannot bring forth a harvest. That CIC has fallen to the ground and I fully expect that I will reap a harvest from what I learnt from the experience.