Happy 1st Birthday... TO US!
Connectforce is officially 1 year old today! We've laughed, we've cried, we've had a number of sleepless nights - but what a pleasure it's been. Stay tuned for a round up of the last 365 days (ish).
It all started in May last year with this text:
Since then, the three of us have spent hours picking the brains of various experts, calling hundreds of care homes across the country, packing and delivering our donated devices (with the help of the lovely Jess DG!) and holding innumerable internal ‘biz dev’ meetings. It’s hard to believe that we have actually only met in person as a trio about four times - it’s safe to say that we’ve all become very familiar with each others’ zoom backgrounds...
Throughout this year, our goal has been to find out what Connectforce can do that plays to our individual strengths, grows naturally from our personal experience and - most importantly - can make a difference in a substantial way.
Here’s a breakdown of Connectforce’s first year by numbers:
£83k raised from public support and grants
325 devices donated across the UK - England, Ireland and Wales
164 care homes reached
Donated to: Cardiff, Newport, Northern Ireland, Barnsley, Bury, Oldham, Stockport, Westminster, Enfield, Islington, Tower Hamlets, Lambeth, Lewisham, Croydon, Bromley, Surrey
We’ve connected to beneficiaries via various care provider routes including nursing homes, residential care, housing associations, ExtraCare accommodation, independent living and, more recently, patient care in hospital settings.
We’ve facilitated around 5000 minutes of chatting between Older Companions and artists
We’ve hosted 2 events for Connectforce Calendar, collaborated with one fundraiser with a primary school and now are designing and trialing our new four services to launch officially later this year.
We secured funding from The National Lottery Community Fund (in record time of only 3 weeks after submission!) and have won financial support and mentoring from Unltd.
Moving into our second year, Connectforce aims to investigate the role of the arts sector in supporting those in our community who are isolated and lonely. We believe in the power of connection and championing the skills of artists to bring positivity to the lives of those who need it most.
This year truly has been a voyage of discovery. Connectforce has adapted and changed direction a fair few times, and we’ve spent so many hours in discussion that you’d have thought we would have everything figured out by now. But we haven't yet - and that's part of our strength. We know the utmost importance of being humble, flexible and listening to the needs of our community.
A massive thank you to all the volunteers, care workers, programme participants, partner organisations and donors that we've worked with - the generosity of spirit and the positivity we've encountered has been overwhelming. It's been quite the journey so far, and we can't wait to take our next steps. But first, we popped a bottle (or two)...
🍾 🎉 💜