May 28, 2011

We’re moving: Update your bookmarks please

To stay up to date and to get involved as The Mill starts to take shape please visit our new website and say hello.

The Mill Website

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April 28, 2011

Opening up our doors

As we mentioned last week, we finally picked up the keys to The Mill, and threw open the doors to the public on Sat 16th April.   After the building has lain empty for so long, it seemed a bit unreal that we now had the keys in our hands, so the best way to counter that was to get local people back in the building.

We had a fantastic response on our first open day.  People came along, shared some food, had the chance to look around, and best of all, volunteered their skills to come and help get the building up on its feet again.

About 100 people turned up, full of enthusiasm and excitement about the project, and offered to share their skills, from plumbing, DIY, gardening and more.  It was a great day, and makes all the hard work seem worthwhile.  We got a very nice write up and our pics in the local Guardian too, and were pleased to get a drop in visit from local councillors and our local MP, Stella Creasy.

Meanwhile, The Mill team have been getting on with looking at what the building physically needs doing to it to make it safe and pleasant for the public to be in there, getting recruitment of two members of staff underway, and writing our constitution and aims as we register ourselves as a charity.  Some of these weekly meetings, as you can imagine, have been long and torturous, but part of the process of setting the foundations so that The Mill can grow and evolve as we get more of the community involved.

On tuesday, a group started to build planters to make The Mill look more welcoming from the outside, and give it a friendly feel.  We also welcomed two new members of the managment group; Sultana and Amarjit who’ve given us yet another perspective on what we are all doing.  Its great that our group is still growing, and not shrinking -yet!

Our short terms plans are to hold another open day in a couple of weeks time to keep the enthusiasm and interest going in the community and to start creating our policies, as well as recruiting and getting the surveyors in to assess the cost of putting the basics right.  We’re really pleased (and a little surprised) that the Council officers have been so helpful in offering to survey the building, help with HR and of course our local Councillor Clare Coghill who’s been working hard alongside us to get The Mill up and running.

April 14, 2011

Come and work for The Mill…

We have two job vacancies now that we are up and running with access to our building.

The first is for a Community Organiser to provide outreach and organisation to the community, making links, networking, organising events and bringing the community together to make The Mill happen.

The second is for a Community Administrator, to make the building happen; timetabling events, managing the building and renovations, and reception.

Both posts can be offered on a job share, and will involve working weekends.

Full job ads are below (long blog post) and more detailed job specifications can be found at http://blackhorseactiongroup.org.uk/

If you’re up for it, we’d love to hear from you! Share it with a friend if you think they’d be good.

COMMUNITY ORGANISER at The Mill @ Coppermill

Fixed term until Feb 2012  at 40 hours per week, can be offered on a job share.

Salary range £29,000 –  £33,000 pro rata  Will involve working weekends.

The Mill is the newest community space in Walthamstow, East London.  Formed by a group of residents who have secured an old library building, and a year’s NESTA funding, we need a full time Community Organiser to help realise our goals.

Our vision is to create a shared community space for all, but not just somewhere that hires out rooms.   Our centre is to be an incubator, building links amongst the diverse groups in the community, and building a sense of neighbourliness, and social capital.

We are looking for an experienced Community Organiser, who will be the public face of The Mill, and reach out to the community, encourage them to use the centre, and make new links for themselves.   We want an enthusiastic person who is proactive, but who is able to listen, and understand what people want from a community space.   You will be approximately 50% based in the office, 50% in outreach work.

The role will be challenging, particularly, as our building still needs renovations, but we need to get started on our community events urgently.   You will need to be flexible, tenacious, patient, and above all empathetic with our aims, and willing to take direction from the volunteer management board.   You will help to re-ignite a community sense in our neighbourhood, and create a solid foundation for the locals to build upon in future years.

Main responsibilities:

  • Identifying community needs and groups, to facilitate and encourage projects to meet their needs, including awarding small grants to groups.
  • Seek out partners who can help deliver these projects.
  • Develop a volunteer strategy to help ensure long term future of The Mill.
  • Organise community events.
  • Monitoring and evaluating budgets and projects.

Key skills required:

  • Outstanding, experienced and enthusiastic community organiser for targeted outreach and activities.
  • Ability to network and build links internally and with external contacts.
  • Experience of working with, and managing volunteers.  Ability to balance the input of paid staff and volunteers.
  • Strong project management experience

Detailed Job specification available at http://www.blackhorseactiongroup.org.uk

To apply, please supply CV and covering letter, to jobs@blackhorseactiongroup.org.uk or to The Mill, 7-11 Coppermill Lane, London E17 7HA.

Closing date: Friday 6th May

Two professional references will be required if you are offered the job.

COMMUNITY ADMINISTRATOR at The Mill @ Coppermill

Fixed term until Feb 2012 at 40 hours per week. Can be offered on a job share.

Salary range £25,000 £29,200  Will involve working weekends.

The Mill is the newest community space in Walthamstow, East London.  Formed by a group of residents who have secured an old library building, and a year’s NESTA funding, we need a full time Community Administrator to help realise our goals.

Our vision is to create a shared community space for all, but not just somewhere that hires out rooms.   Our centre is to be an incubator, building links amongst the diverse groups in the community, and building a sense of neighbourliness, and social capital.

We are looking for an experienced Administrator, who will be the welcoming face of The Mill, and who will be the person who makes it all work behind the scenes.

You will be an experienced administrator with outstanding organisational skills, and a great track record in dealing with the public, and in co-ordinating volunteers. You will need to have experience of buildings management, as you will be responsible for running the building.  You will have a good manner with the public, able to cope with varied requests from diverse people, as you will also form part of the reception which will be part shared with the Community Organiser.  You will also have book keeping experience to manage bills and invoices effectively.  You will be computer literate and be highly practical and resourceful.

The role will be challenging, particularly, as our building still needs renovations, but we need to get started on our community events urgently.   You will need to be flexible, tenacious, patient, and above all empathetic with our aims, and willing to take direction from the volunteer management board.  You will help to re-ignite a community sense in our neighbourhood, and create a solid foundation for the locals to build upon in future years.

Main responsibilities:

  • Oversee the renovation process and enables The Mill to be opened within 6 weeks.
  • Key contact point for the operational aspects of the Mill, ensuring smooth running of building. .
  • To manage reception and bookings for the building, including keyholder duties.
  • To manage bills, invoices and books.
  • To communicate with, and support users of the building, visitors and members of the public.
  • To schedule activities and help to publicise and promote them.

Key skills required:

  • Ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with a wide range of people of different ages and cultures.
  • Outstanding ability to manage and organise information and people effectively.
  • Experience of building and facility management of a public building.
  • Computer literate, with relevant experience of book keeping software.
  • Bookkeeping and invoicing experience.

Detailed Job specification available at http://www.blackhorseactiongroup.org.uk

To apply, please supply CV and covering letter, to jobs@blackhorseactiongroup.org.uk or to The Mill, 7-11 Coppermill Lane, London E17 7HA.

Closing date: Friday 6th May

Two professional references will be required if you are offered the job.

April 14, 2011

Come to The Mill – Saturday 16th April

The St James Street Library building will soon be reopening as The Mill! So come to Coppermill Lane, Walthamstow, on Saturday.

Sorry about the short notice. It’s been a rollercoaster ride since we announced that Waltham Forest council was allowing us to return the former library to community use.

Our original partners had to drop out, for reasons beyond their control. They had been going to sign a lease for the building and allow us to use part of it. Faced with losing our chance, we took a deep breath and jumped in.

Now we’ve persuaded the council to let us rent the building ourselves, on a 15-year lease. We’ve given it a new name – The Mill — to reflect the activity that this community hub will bring to Coppermill Lane.

We picked up the keys this week and, though the building’s not ready for use, we couldn’t wait to fling the doors open. After all the paperwork and negotiations, we’re entering the new phase we’ve all been waiting for.

So come to The Mill this Saturday 16 April, from 11.30 to 1.30.

We’ll be taking photos at noon and you’re welcome to do the same.

Bring your ideas. Tell us what you want to do in the Mill. What are your skills for helping maintain the building? Your interests, for running groups and activities? Your expertise, for sharing or teaching?

If you miss this spur-of-the-moment celebration, don’t worry – there will be an official launch when the building is ready for use again.

Big thanks to all our helpers. And thanks to the council too, for dropping its plans to auction the building and giving us this chance.

We were up against more than 600 other groups but our plans were chosen for one of 17 NESTA Neighbourhood Challenge grants. So we’ve now got £150,000 to set up a community hub and run it for the first year.
The money is allocated for specific uses; unfortunately not for refurbishment, and the building has deteriorated in the year since we last saw inside. But we’ve come this far, so we’ll be fund-raising like mad and everyone’s welcome to help with redecorating!

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Janet Wright

PS: Here are some pictures of inside the building and some of the work that needs done. If you can help out in any way with time, skills or know someone who might be able to help us get the building ready for community use please get in touch.

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April 1, 2011

St James St Video

A reminder of what residents said they wanted to see in the former St James St Library building. Recorded in June 2010.

March 31, 2011

Find us on Facebook


We still are sorting out lots of the basics – and hope to have more news next week once we’re done with lawyers – but in the meantime, here is a link to our facebook page – see our new facebook poll, on what should happen first when The Mill opens?

March 15, 2011

The Challenge begins in Coppermill Lane

Sunday was busy, as we, the new Coppermill Group, had our first formal meeting on Sunday, meeting Katherine of NVCO to get our project started.  We also got a chance to look around our old local library, which will be  ‘The Mill’, the community space for the residents of the Coppermill area (and beyond)

The old library building

The Coppermill Group is made up of members of local residents association, Blackhorse Action Group (BAG) and St James St Library Campaign, and we intend to bring new local people into the group to shape the project as it evolves.

Our meeting with Katherine was interesting and useful.  We got a new perspective on our group, and useful as she pulled no punches – in a good way!   She got us to confront the gaps in the skills, and encouraged us to get  more organised in deciding our roles within the management of the project, and we recognised that we still need to find a competent treasurer.  We have lots of creative talent, and skills for organising, networking and leading within the group, but we are on the lookout for someone with legal or architectural knowledge.

ground floor plan

We now have a plan of action, from our meeting with Katherine, on what we have to do in these early weeks.   There’s some legal work to be

done with constituting our group and investigating setting up as a CIC or Community Interest Company, so that we can sign the lease with the Council.  (This was one of our surprises, more of which we’ll talk about later when the negotiations are done)

Branding was also identified as a key area to get going on, so that the project is instantly recognisable, and builds support amongst the local community.   We decided on’ The Mill’ – encompassing our idea that the centre should be an incubator, building links amongst the diverse groups in the community, and building a sense of neighbourliness, and social capital.   In short, we want to bring people together, reduce isolation, maybe learn something and have a good time while doing it.

It was also very useful to see inside the building.   Its got lots of potential.

There’s lots of space as well as some odd corners, but there’s the potential to have lots of different things going on.   The building is in a great location; just where lots of people walk past, and can drop in to see what is going on. 

 

It does need some work doing,  as our pics show, but it sparked ideas, especially the garden of what could be done with the space.

So, our challenges as part of the Nesta Challenge are pretty considerable, but the reward will be worth it.    We are keen, just to get into the building, get on with doing some of the activities that we think should happen in there, and see how we can get people mixing, or milling together.

Our thanks to Katherine for kick starting the next bit of our project, and also to Clare Coghill, our Councillor who is very supportive and involved.

 

March 3, 2011

A picture of a few of us at NESTA