You may think that this is me playing at doing something I fancy but it really is our last hope.
The crowdfunding page has been up for 4 days and not a single donation 😥 so here are the links for those of you that would like to help – if you can afford a few pounds, that would be great, if not, please re-post; very many thanks in advance and thanks to those that have already posted the original appeal on FB:
Seven and a half years ago, after recovering from a major depressive episode and other personal issues, I moved 250 miles South, away from the people and places that I knew and loved. I had no money and many of my friends all over the world bought pieces of my art to help me to buy things that I would need. and three close friends made the actual move possible. With only a weeks’ notice, no savings and coming into a job that didn’t pay enough to get a mortgage; my friends pitched in and helped me to rent a house and move – I couldn’t have done it without them!
Since then, I have made a lot of lovely new friends, some of whom are now like family, and met my husband and over the years, we worked hard to repay debts that had been brought into the relationship. We lived a simple lifestyle but just as we’d got to the point where things were finally getting settled and straight, I was made redundant. I took it as a chance to recover from the stresses of the job and to focus on my studies and it turned out to be a fantastic blessing because after four years of marriage and not being able to conceive, I discovered that I was pregnant!
Now, I was earning good money in the job that I had been made redundant from so I had encouraged my hubby to take a risk and accept a one year contract working for a youth charity that meant a great deal to him. He was finally doing a job that he enjoyed, was intellectually stimulated at work and giving something back so he was extremely happy but before our beautiful baby-girl was born, his contract came to an end.
I applied for short-term contracts (up to six months) in my field but found that I was unable to secure a position once I told potential employers that I was pregnant – even after being told that the job was mine. I decided to change direction and do something more rewarding and was able to secure a part-time position as a youth worker. It pays very little but it was enough to keep us from sinking and despite not yet being fully recovered from developing HELLP Syndrome towards the end of the pregnancy, I am still applying for suitable roles within my field as a quality manager.
Don’t get me wrong, I really don’t want to leave my baby-girl with a childminder and I certainly don’t want to go back into a highly stressful career again but I will do whatever is necessary for my family – who wouldn’t?
When my hubby’s contract was coming to an end, one of the organisations that he volunteers with encouraged him to apply for a full-time position and he is now eight months into the recruitment process and just awaiting a start date. In the meantime, he is doing temp work on less than £250 per week, our savings have disappeared and it could be another 6 months before he gets a start date. He applies for jobs that pay more – although he realises that it wouldn’t really be fair to start a job and then push off when the start date comes but he is only thinking of the family – but there isn’t much locally that is suitable.
To add insult to injury, our landlady has given us notice on the house. We have 7 weeks to vacate the property. With my hubby in temp work, me on maternity leave from a very poorly paid part-time job (and not entitled to statutory maternity pay), we haven’t a hope of privately renting and certainly no chance of buying somewhere. That means that we are facing homelessness with temporary, emergency accommodation whilst we wait for social housing.
Now, I had been toying with the idea of starting a business for a long time and realised that our current circumstances could well be fate giving me a kick up the backside so I wrote the business plan and have set up the crowdfunding page etc. My next job is to write some funding bids. I have to be working or we will have to re-home the puppy, the cat, the chickens and our other furries before we are made homeless – that is how desperate our situation is now.
My weekly shop costs about £30 and it is subsidised with vegetables and bread from a food bank, as well as my Mum giving us food to bring home when we visit. Those visits have been paid for by car boot sales and over the next few weeks, selling things that I have made at Christmas fairs. If it hadn’t been for the generosity of family and friends, we wouldn’t have even had enough clothes for our baby-girl.
I could spend the next seven weeks breaking my back to do the house and garden up to try to get our deposit back. We did a lot of big jobs at our own expense over the years – things that were the landlord’s responsibility but they never had the money and as some of you may remember, left us for 8 weeks with an electrical circuit that wasn’t earthed when we moved in; with no heating or hot water for over 3 weeks a few years ago through January and February and more recently, took over 8 weeks to have a collapsed bathroom roof and ceiling repaired. Incidentally, they wouldn’t pay for the full job to be done and left us with damp, mouldy walls and rotten skirting board so I stripped the bathroom, let it dry and re-decorated just so that it was safe for baby. With that in mind, I expect that it would be best to just clean it and spend my energies starting my own business and sorting out where we are going to live.
What is left of our savings will pay for a deposit and move but if I can’t get the funding in to start my business, we’ll be homeless within a month anyway so it really is critical that I get the funding in to start the business.
The business will not only be a way for me to sell my own pieces and to raise the profile of other artists and craftspeople but we will also be able to provide workshops in order to share our skills and knowledge with people who want to learn. Most importantly, 25% of those workshop spaces will be free to individuals who are in some way disadvantaged and would not normally have the opportunity. I certainly won’t get rich from it.