Last week I had a meeting with my fellow trustees of the new Everyone Project Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO): Vin Harris, Chloe Homewood, Jan Major and Barbara Reid. You couldn’t wish for a more talented and effective group of people to launch a project with. We signed the articles, which brought the Everyone Project Charity into existence! We had a brief birthday celebration. Then got on to the work of starting up!
This project started when Barbara and I met for lunch about two years ago and shared our concern that those on our mindfulness courses already knew about mindfulness and were able to pay for their courses. It felt exclusive. But wouldn’t it be great if we could be more inclusive and offer courses to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access one. The Mindfulness Association (MA) has a network of 100s of trained Mindfulness Based Living Course (MBLC) teachers who were looking for meaningful work and there were many charities or other organisations looking for mindfulness courses for their staff , volunteers or client groups.
A plan was emerging and I took this back to develop with Vin, who is brilliant at developing a business plan. His Charity the Hart Knowe Trust partnered with the MA in this venture, with both parties providing most of the funding for our courses so far. Chloe joined us at this point, as she was so passionate about the project and we started with our first round of 11 courses in autumn 2016, then honing our process for a second round of 25 or so courses in spring 2017. Our third round of 20 courses are just about to begin.
An excellent team to get things going. If you run your own organisation, are a sole trader or are just interested, and would like to learn from Vin and Chloe, then they deliver an Enlightened Enterprise course, which you might find interesting (click here for more info).
Generally the organisations we partner with in the Everyone Project, provide a venue for the MBLC course, recruit the course participants and provide other support, such as copying course material. This means that the costs for funding the courses is mainly the tutor fee, which is pretty efficient for taking up to 15 participants through an 8 week course.
So far, over 350 people have benefitted from attending an MBLC course who otherwise wouldn’t have. How wonderful is that!
Alan from MAHQ and Julie McColl joined us to evaluate the outcomes of the courses. Moira Harris, who is a graduate of the MSc in Mindfulness (click here for more info)) is taking on the research role from now on, as the MA have sponsored her to do her PhD at the University of Aberdeen on evaluating the Everyone Project courses.
When we decided to set up the Charity we invited Barbara on board (as she helped come up with the idea in the first place) and Jan, as both are passionate about the project and have extensive experience working in charitable organisations and fundraising and are all round excellent people to work with.
So now we are developing a website and beginning to fundraise. If you wish to make a donation, enquire about running a course as a qualified MBLC teacher or take part as an organisation, then please get in touch with Chloe at [email protected]. We are looking for new applications for courses from the beginning of March and these courses will then run in the autumn of this year.
Once the bank account is set up, we are beginning with an online crowd funding campaign and with a sponsored sit at our Joyful Club membership weekend (click here for more info) in the hope of raising £20,000 by July so that we are able to fund even more courses next time round. So I will be in touch!
It feels a bit surreal what we have achieved so far with this project and the prospects for the benefits to communities across the UK are phenomenal. I can’t quite believe it has been possible.
But we continue together with our next steps, as we have done so far, without expectations or assumptions about what might unfold and in this way the possibilities are endless. It makes me feel amazingly joyful that we can reach out to so many people, especially when the times feel quite dark. A beacon of hope.
It’s a good way to live – choose a direction that is meaningful to us and is in line with our values – and keep going step by step in that direction – a recipe for a happy life.
So what’s your direction?
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