April Update: Conversations with Aldershot


Semaphore Alphabet 2016

Across March and April I have started to meet with many of the organisations that exist in Aldershot and Rushmoor.

I have a notebook that is steadily filling with Names of people, Groups, Forums, organisations, charities, volunteer services, council run services, drop in groups, regular groups, paid workshops, free stuff, stuff that can be public, stuff that needs to be private, hard-to- reach groups and people, impossible to reach potential individuals and families, activities that exist, activities that no longer exist, activities that exist while there is money, activities that only exist when they remain voluntary…. Some of this info is online, and I want to start sharing where I can. I will do this initially here!

Farnbrough and District U3A Did you know that the U3A (University of the third Age) has over 110 groups in the Rushmoor area? An amazing learning co-operative of retired/semi retired people with groups covering everything from ceramics and jewelry and walking groups to politics, debate and coffee! It’s £25 for the year and then most groups are then free!

Rushmoor Voluntary Services – a charitable organisation that has been running for years has over 380 member groups. Which means that there are over 380 groups supporting local people in Rushmoor!!!!! RVS has a register of volunteers and matches volunteers in the area with groups who need them and vice versa.

This site lists all the amazing groups (who wish to be named publicly) on their site, and if you are looking for specific support and can’t find it, it is worth asking them as they will probably know who to connect you with! The list of their member groups is here.

There are forums, support groups and organisations to support and provide info/opportunites for example: Citizens advice, homelessness, domestic violence, addiction, disability, scouts/guides/young people groups, one off projects, larger projects, country parks, churches, support for elderly people, foodbanks, swimming clubs, sports and activity groups, schools, colleges, cultural community groups, parent support, mental health support groups… and more!

Community Matters Partnership Project (CMPP) (Rushmoor) Is another community interest organisation that partners local businesses with groups, projects, organisations and charities who are looking for volunteers, resources, skill sets or possibly funding. They are based at Farnborough 6th Form College and also utilise the link to provide amazing work experience opportunites for local young people. They are also always looking for other appropriate work experience for their students, specifically within the Arts, media, publishing and producing environments.

Culturally there are several communities where (with limited budgets) events are planned locally, in Farnborough, Aldershot, the new Wellesley community, with community and town centre programme planners/coordinators in post.

There are arts/creative activities happening on small scale, with groups running things themselves, and there are arts/theatre/creative activities that happen all the time at the West End Centre, Princes Hall and library for example. Some of these are free, but many of them have to charge a fee.

And honestly… I think I’ve only just scratched the surface!

However. Everyone I speak to also says how much need there is for more, and how needed Arts, creative and community activities are. Much of what happens goes on voluntarily, underfunded or in isolation from other activities. Much of the community is often unaware or unable to access the support available and activities available for various reasons.

Personally I also see Artists working hard in the area, but not having time to consider their own practice, to develop their work, to consider the wider social local issues and to make work, develop a practice that can challenge these. There are also very few spaces and opportunities in which to share or develop work which challenges or creates space for discussion and exchange. Rather than thinking about ‘finished work hanging on walls’, I want to encourage work in the area that values the process, the research, the stimuli of Rushmoor, its communities, it’s people, the social issues faced here, what we love, what we hate, what we can change.

so……. I need to start developing a plan……. see the next post for my initial thoughts on this!


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