In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have tried our best to not only protect the many communities and voluntary initiatives we support but also our Social Investment structure into our local community. We originally started our Social Enterprise Coffee Shop and Community Hub, "Bar Bar Black Sheep" with a minimal £5000 successful crowdfunding campaign (2015-16) and since then we have continued to increase our community impact, in the last financial year alone donating over £10,000 to the Wolverton community.
Recently we noticed an increase in crowdfunding campaigns for many small and medium enterprises to galvanize support to withstand the pressures and risks we now all face.
Until now, we held off as much as possible on seeking financial support from our community, instead choosing to stick to our Social Enterprise ethos and divert funds and resources to support a local community volunteer response unit, "We Are Wolverton" (who also have a campaign running on this platform - check them out!).
We are completely committed to the volunteer response campaign and continue to offer resources, staff time, donations and support even in the face of our own uncertainty.
However, in order to safeguard this new campaign, as well as our ongoing commitment to the community (and hopefully continued investment once the pandemic subsides), we are in need of allies, supporters, friends, and loved ones more than ever!
We know our structure works. We know Social Enterprise benefits all around us. We know we can continue to make a difference if we can get through this. We also know we are not alone. There are many people in society who face similar or indeed harsher circumstances. We hope to share the burden as much as possible, to inspire positive social action and to assist (as much as we can) in protecting all socially responsible initiatives, such as our beloved Bar Bar Black Sheep.
Below are original campaign messages from our previous crowdfunding campaign that ignited Milton Keynes' only independent social enterprise coffee, arts and community hub. In many ways, they are still relevant points and we feel, make a valid case to put a call out for support at this time. We have achieved the many things we originally set out to do. So we know it works and we hope previous supporters can see the value of their investment over the last four years!
Whatever you can do to help keep the "flock afloat" will always be greatly appreciated, and just like our first campaign, we hope to provide some amazing social value and impact as soon as we can open the doors to all our guests again. We miss you very much already!
PREVIOUS CAMPAIGN MESSAGES:
To open Bar Bar Black Sheep as an alternative, culturally relevant and cohesive approach to social inclusion, value, and impact.
The space will be functional, contemporary, appealing and adopt a Socially Enterprising ethos across all its operations. The site will become a template of innovative community development work, without the “community development” labels or stigmas. The space will be “people” driven, responding and reacting to meet local needs and aspirations. Through this we can demonstrate that professional business operations, when used for social value and purpose, can and do make a difference and achieve sustainability for community work, reducing the need for grant aid support and ensuring the community is at the heart of programming.
Bar Bar will function as a contemporary coffee shop, gallery, bar, and business & community hub. A unique site, unlike any other in Milton Keynes (one of the fastest growing cities in the UK), we will programme a range of creative initiatives and activities, meeting the needs of local people as well as providing a range of opportunities in training, volunteering and engagement.
The cafe will provide high quality local products and service to the local community, generating profits to be given to carefully selected community causes.
Why do we need you now?
Although we have done amazingly well, to operate in an already busy market/industry sustaining growth and increasing community investment year on year, we find ourselves in unchartered and unpredictable territory - in short, we don't believe any of us could have anticipated this!
Can you trust us with your investment?
We have always operated under strict transparency of governance, always filing open public accounts (available via companies house), taking out the necessary business insurance covers (only to be told that COVID-19 will not be covered by the majority of insurance companies (24/3/2020)... we hope this may change!), always filing CIC34 forms to demonstrate our community investment each year and continually engaging as many volunteers, guests, stakeholders, funders, partners, clients, friends, loved ones.... just about anybody who wants to get involved! We have no "bosses", this is a 'true' social enterprise and community interest company structure. We are here and have been here supporting the community for five years, because of the input, investment, and support of everybody we meet. This approach alone seems worth fighting for!
What will you do with my support/investment?
We just need to be able to cover basic running overheads to steer us through what will hopefully be a short term closure. It's that simple, yet frustratingly annoying that we can't achieve this without a considerable "ask" of you. Therefore, we have aimed to cover the rent of the property, and equipment vital to continuing service (such as the media equipment, resources etc for all our community learning and programming).
What about the salaries of any staff? Are you going to spend any of my money on that?
We have managed to secure the necessary funds for this overhead, which means 100% of your support will go directly into safeguarding the venue for future, continued use, and growth as an independent, community informed space. We will not use your fund for any individual or specialized gain. This is solely about protecting the space as a future resource for the wider community. We hope this deomnstrates our committment to you!
We will need socially-minded, responsible and active organizations after COVID-19. We have an opportunity to inform how we (the people) want society to positively function. Bar Bar is committed to being a strong supporter and force in this.
Please consider supporting us, in whatever way you can. We are more than happy to discuss the situation in more detail with anyone (it's just a shame at present, we can't welcome you into the coffee shop and community hub for a real Hug in a Mug!).
With love and peace, always.
Black Sheep x
Bar Bar's Blog Page
- Damian Kitson
- Diane Kearton
- Stephen Clarridge
Fundraising team: Fundraiser Team (3)
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more