The magazine issue is a week late this quarter, due to illness and the sheer work involved in organising the bike ride fundraiser we did in August. Suffice to say, although we took a summer hiatus from any newsletter – it’s been an exhausting couple of months.
About the bike ride – I would say for my first real fundraising effort it wasn’t half bad, but what I learnt, is there is no formula to fundraising, because so much depends on the economic climate. As we all know, there is a real cost-of-living crisis plaguing us all, with inflation at record levels, a mismanaged cost-of-energy hike and so on. So, despite doing weekly social media blitzes advertising the bike ride (including leaflet and Go Fund Me link), despite pounding the pavement locally, with printed leaflets in hand to local businesses and circulating on as many local Facebook groups as we could find – literally no donations were made apart from a handful of friends or associates for which we’re incredibly grateful. Where I felt real resentment, is from bodies which would have been in a position to be more supportive. Upon recommendation, I stopped approaching other not-for-profits or charities as, everyone’s in the same boat scrambling around for funds – so I was recommended things like the Rotary club or my local business chambers, but what I received was no response at all after offering to give a talk to the Rotary about the magazine and our work or taxiing one early morning to join the coffee morning with the chambers group – only to get an e-mail saying they didn’t circulate to non-members and their lowest membership per annum, is £120. At the end-of-the-day, social media certainly isn’t the be-all and end-all, as people were keen to circulate, but not donate.
When the day of the bike ride finally came, it was just my son who had come down from Sheffield, a couple of support workers, a friend of mine and her 12-year-old lad and my good tandem buddy – 7 of us setting out on a Sunday morning down on Exeter’s quayside. Once we were all helmeted up, clad with the high vis vests I bought for a bargain and an organisational briefing, we were off and unstoppable.
The weather was just for us – not too hot or chilly and we all made several stops on the way for photos, water or to walk the bikes over level crossings along the bike trail. Once we reached Dawlish Warren, our terminus – it was abuzz with the expected bank holiday weekend crowd, and we were all gasping for fish and chips. Getting back to base to return the bikes, I felt mixed emotions of agony and exhilaration, we did it, as the enthusiastic young lad from the bike shop, Saddles and Paddles cheerfully greeted. The upshot of the ride itself was, I should’ve chosen a shorter route. We didn’t come close to our target of £1,000 – in fact, we made a total of £95 altogether, but the expenses: the cost of bike hire for the day and practice runs, paying for participants who could not otherwise have afforded the hire, feeding friends and bike buddy, the vests, the printed leaflets – it all surpassed what we made, but hang on, I’ll save the good news…
In this issue, Caitlin has shone light on a timely issue which keeps getting pushed back from the forefront of current concerns, we have a guest contributor from the U.S. and I shine the light on inside and outside prisons and marginalised people and access to housing – compelling content as ever.
It’s with a heavy heart and sadness I’m announcing our subeditor, Caitlin Stimpson, will be stepping down after this issue. Starting out as a post-graduate intern, she has not only grown as a journalist in her contributions, she has been an integral part of Barriers to Bridges Magazine – with her young wisdom and enthusiasm, social media savvy and creative talents – she will be sorely missed, but she knows she’s welcome to contribute any time. We wish her all the happiness in her engagement to her partner and good fortunes with her full-time job. THANK YOU CAITLIN!!!
With the above statement, we are now hiring for 1 to 2 voluntary positions – if you or anyone you know are interested in joining us at this crucial and exciting time – please see the job vacancy link here.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge all of you who have helped and participated in Barriers to Bridges Magazine in recent months. Big thanks and appreciation to my tandem buddy, Auboné Bradden for the practice runs, encouragement and help on the day of the bike ride; Oceans of gratitude for the discounts and unwavering support from Saddles and Paddles of Exeter; Thanks to my close friend Kerry Greenwood, for your solid support for the magazine and enthusiasm to participate in the bike ride; Importantly, HUGE THANKS to all of you who donated even small amounts to the Go Fund Me; Lastly, and here is the clencher, ‘big appreciation’ and acknowledgement goes out to Jeanie Lynch, who has awarded us £700 as surplus funds from the Smallwood fund for disadvantaged women. It’s a small amount, but a great beginning! It means that, over next year, I as founding editor, can spread small, fixed commissions to would-be contributors, fund some higher-profile advertising and some other basic costs we haven’t managed to pay for so far, so we are poised to grow and take things to the next level on the journey as a not-for-profit Community Interest Company. The struggle to fund the bike ride, demonstrated Barriers to Bridges Magazine itself faces barriers – the work has been dogged, but I feel has paid off.
After such a blistering hot summer with record temps, good wishes for a cool, calming and soothing autumn. As ever, thanks to such a hard-working small team: Celeste Pearce (illustrator) Caitlin Stimpson (subeditor) Dawn Sanders (founding editor) and as always, Maggie Duerden (Red Dog VA) for website/magazine management.