Who are we?
Hi. We are Laura, Shelley and Gia, committed parents, friends and residents of Plymouth. We set up Snapdragons Plymouth CIC in December 2017 when we discovered that the Victoria Park former bowling green was up for lease - it's been a busy time getting things going, but very exciting too! A massive project, especially with two of us having young children, but an exciting opportunity to bring our dream into reality.
What is Snapdragons?
We want to transform the old Bowling Green into an exciting new community space - for children, families and the whole community! We know how hard it can be for families with young children, especially if you’re looking for alternatives to what the 'mainstream' has to offer - both in education and in lifestyle choices.
We also know it can be difficult if you feel quite isolated in a big city and are looking for other likeminded people. Perhaps you’d like to be part of a food co-op, learn more about wild food and foraging, or meet others for conversations, skill sharing and eating excellent food together. Perhaps you are a local business who is trying to reach out to support others and to access new customers. If so, Snapdragons will be a great place to do all of this - but we can only make it a reality with your help!!! Together we can provide local people with the opportunity to share skills, to learn from each other, to have confidence for the future and to help local communities proper. We can improve health and wellbeing as well as providing education and improve a local green space while we're at it! Winning all round.
What we’ve done so far:
Snapdragons started running weekly Steiner Parent & Child sessions from Stoke Youth and Community Centre about a year ago, but it soon became clear that we desperately needed our own venue. A big part of our work is to allow children the freedom to be outside, but in a safe space that has a natural boundary. Blockhouse Park just wasn't appropriate for this.
The venue in Victoria Park has an amazing outside space that we can really make our own. We can make it fit to purpose AND keep the children safe - a real bonus.
By taking over the old Bowling Green in Victoria Park, we'll have exclusive use of the site which means we can create the Steiner Children's centre we have dreamed of - several sessions a week for children ranging from 0-4 (Parent and baby/Parent and Child groups) and 4-7 (children left with us for Kindergarten) - as well as all the other associated projects for the wider community. We have agreed now a lease on the space, but we need your support to make our plans a reality.
As discussions followed, we realised we had a real chance here to do something bigger than just a children's centre, something that could connect families (and people without children too), to create that community space. We wanted to a place to bring likeminded people together. To create that tribe. The more we spoke, the more we thought of other offshoot projects that could also be held in the space. We found that rather than watering down the vision, it made it stronger, made us (and others) more enthusiastic, brought other people into the fold.
Our plans for 2018 & beyond:
A key part of what we do at Snapdragons will be setting up a Steiner Children's Centre for ages 0-7 - with parent & baby groups, parent & child sessions and an OFSTED registered Kindergarten for ages 4-7. (Small groups of children, 8-10 families for baby/toddler groups and 10-15 children for Kindergarten) 2019 sees 100 years of Waldorf Education, so this is a really exciting time to be bringing this to Plymouth and the surrounding area.
But Snapdragons is going to be so much more than just a children’s centre - we’re also looking forward to becoming the home for a whole range of community activities that bring people together.
We’re currently talking to different groups about hosting:
- a specialised library (traditional crafts, green/natural/attachement/gentle parenting, eco friendly and sustainable living, feminism, feminine spirituality etc) & food coop
- a forest school and bushcraft sessions
- arts/crafts/skills workshops
- home education meet-ups
- after school & holiday clubs
- Latch On Breastfeeding Support, Plymouth Red Tent meetings (safe space for women, a place to discuss and connect with feminine spirituality etc) & a new men’s group like Red Tent,
- a Plymouth Woodcraft Folk branch
And, most importantly, we’d love to hear from you, our backers, and our new tribe about what you’d like to see happen here too!!
What will we do with the money?
We are looking to raise £10,000 to cover the costs of securing and renovating the space, buying new play equipment, children's tools, a sand pit, water play area, and all the boring (but really necessary) stuff like making the space first to purpose and safe ( a priority here is fencing and a security gate). The venue has been empty for years so needs a lot of work and a lot of TLC!
A Steiner Kindergarten is a place of beauty, a home away from home - something safe, comfortable and nourishing for the families attending. Natural materials are key - both in furnishing the space and with equipment / resources. Wooden floors, table and chairs (child height), large play equipment, smaller toys, rugs, cushions, play corner equipment etc are all required.
We want to make sure that Snapdragons HQ is as low-impact as possible, so we’ll be using natural materials, and want to install solar panels on the roof, a compost toilet, composting bins, water butts and more.
As we grow, we will be setting up a community allotment and orchard so your contributions will also help us sources the trees, plants, shrubs, seeds and tools we need to get this started.
Every season, we’d like to hold special seasonal festivals and celebrations - open to everyone in the community. These will be a chance to revive some local and traditional folk customs and get people involved in exploring the natural world together.
Why are YOU so important?
Put quite simply - we can't do this without you! YOU are our tribe, our friends, our family, people who will be a part of Snapdragons - without you, we are nothing. We need your ideas, your support, your help and your pledges.
What does your pledge provide?
Here are some examples of what your pledges will help to fund
•£1 would help us to buy… seeds, craft materials (e.g. a sheet of paper for wet on wet painting)
•£5 would help us to buy…paintbrushes, cutlery and crockery items,
•£10-15 would help us buy... water butts, tools for the garden, small wooden toys, paints for wet on wet painting activities,
•£25 would help us to buy... tins of paint, play equipment, garden tools,
•£50 would allow us to …make a compost toilet, sets of carders for fleece,
•£100 would help us to buy... packs of wooden flooring,
•£250 would... almost cover the cost of a year's insurance, buy a small shed,
•£500+ would buy... a child height wooden table and chairs to fit 10-15 people, the planning permission for change of use, pay for half of the lease paperwork cost, go towards the cost of a marquee, go towards the cost of a polytunnel or a larger shed, go towards the fencing/gate...
What do you get for your money?
As well as the knowledge that you are making the dream a reality, each pledge is eligible for a reward. From shout outs on social media and in our newsletter, to handmade coasters; from discount vouchers on our services to invites to special workshops and events - hopefully there is a reward that is right for you!
How else can you help?
We need you, not just your pledges! Once we are in we will need all hands on deck to help clean and refurbish the premises. Part of our ethos is to use local business wherever possible - please give us a shout if you think you can provide the services we need to make this happen.
Examples of things we will need are below (labour, items etc):
* cleaning, painting, ceilings, rendering, plastering, carpentry, plumbing, kitchen & bathroom, gardening, tree maintenance, digging, fencing, gates, signs, flooring
* gardening tools, general maintenance tools, shed, marquee, chairs, decorations for seasonal events, paint, comfy chairs (just one or two for breastfeeding mums to sit on), a child height wooden table and chairs (enough for 10-15 people to sit around), rugs, wooden flooring, noticeboards, kitchen equipment, wooden crockery, earthenware jugs, children's tools - rakes, spades etc, galvanised steel baths/buckets, metal buckets and sand moulds, wooden or metal trailers and wheelbarrows, wooden crates, planks of wood (for slides/ramps), small wooden/metal 'home' items for the home corner, large pine cones, sheep's fleece, woollen felt, decorating tools, large pieces of (preferably organic) cotton/muslin
If you think you can help - please do get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org or send a message to our Snapdragons Plymouth Facebook page.