Learning & Collaboration Fund


The Learning & Collaboration Fund is now closed and has been replaced by POP Collectives.

POP incentivised and enabled collaboration by supporting eight projects with up to £5000 each, over two rounds of funding awarded in December 2019 and April 2020.  Funding was decided by a panel from the Network of Networks, a group of people representing the Networks across the city. 

Why Learning and Collaboration?

Relationships are fundamental for resilience. Collaboration and relationships build stronger organisations. It makes joint funding bids more possible, easier recruitment of volunteers and finding skills for your organisations and may even bring about lasting, meaningful and purposeful change in Plymouth.  Learning from each other, sharing the things which went well, also those which didn’t go as planned, helps us all to learn, saves time and valuable resources. 

L&C Round 1 Projects (December 2019)

  • Repair, Make and Mend: Borrow Don’t Buy, Timebank, Scrapstore, Makers HQ
  • Culture and Integration Through Food: Based at the Plot on Union Street, Diversity Business Incubator, Food Plymouth and Miriam&Miriam
  • Creative Natures: Deb Hoskin – Horticultural Therapy Trust and Thomas Loveder – Free Radical Creations
  • The Eclective Network: Leadworks Factory CIC, The Kintsugi Project, Flyinghead Studios Community Arts project, Cawfee Community Café, Pride in Plymouth, Empowering Hidden Voices, Imperfect Cinema, WonderZoo, Mothership Audio

L&C Round 2 Projects (April 2020)

  • Positively Diverse Action: City of Sanctuary, DBI, Stephane Kolinsky, Ptown Radio
  • Precious Plastics Plymouth: Plymouth Play Scrapstore & CIC, Rob West and Kate Crawfurd, Precious Plastics Tavistock and more
  • Street Meets / Street Eats: Friends of Wyndham Square, Feeds n Seeds and Helen Moore, PCC – Natural Infrastructure Team and Sovereign Housing
  • Plymouth Literary Research and Pilot Project – WonderZoo, Soapbox Culture, Imperfect Cinema and supporting organisations
Repair, Make and Mend
What this project aims for is a stronger and more resilient community in Plymouth.  
The repair, Make and Mend Collective aims to learn about the repair/mending scene in Plymouth, its specific needs and challenges, how we can overcome them together and share this information with the local community. By working together we will develop organisational skills to enable other groups to co-organise and host “repair, make and mend” events. 
Our goal is to bring back repairing and skills share to the city, promote social cohesion and reduce isolation by connecting with neighbours in a friendly and low-key “repair, make and mend” event. Ultimately, we want to support everyone in Plymouth to have more, share more and connect more. Our first steps will involve finding and connecting with other organisations in Plymouth who share similar beliefs around the circular economy ethos.  
It is important for us to consult and collaborate with the community we will serve in order to co-design successful and needed events.  We will explore barriers and attempt to isolate strengths in the partners to resolve them. Some of the potential challenges we’ve already identified are practical such as tools required, space, skills, volunteers, capacity. But we believe that with exploration and communication we can work together to produce a ready-repair, make and mend kit for organisations. 
Initially, we have identified a small group that is interested in being a part of a conversation, we do envisage that group growing, the project is ongoing, we’d love to hear from you. 
To find out more, contact admin@plymouthplay.org or sol@borrowdontbuy.co.uk  
Culture and integration through Food
The project is to co-develop a food enterprise skills development module for refugees in Plymouth and Devon wishing to venture into Catering and Hospitality business or convert their food-related talents into employability skills.   
Diversity Business Incubator and Food Plymouth will collaboratively establish the framework for the skills development module, to ensure it covers all the aspects required for e.g. catering and hospitality career and successful food business start-up. 
Our Collaboration today should include, an Inspirational visit to one or more farms and growing projects (e.g. The Black Farmer and the growing projects in the Tamar Valley) to exchange knowledge and stories of the place of food in e.g. East and West African and English cultures. This activity reflects the fact that the food grown in an area informs the culture of that area (plantains in Uganda, high moorland sheep on Dartmoor). The value to the refugee participants is both that it re-affirms in them the value of their own culture (even in the UK), and that they form a bond with Devon and Cornwall farmers and growers. This can underpin the use of local ingredients in traditional dishes from other countries. When the refugee participants start their businesses, they will be able to substitute such local ingredients for those which would need to be imported. 
To find out more visit Jabulani at the Plot, Food Plymouth or contact Jabo@dbi.org.uk  
Creative Natures 
Facilitate young people from Plymouth Foyer and adults/young people from Devonport Lifehouse, homeless residencies, in separate age appropriate sessions, under 25’s and over 25’s, to design this project, bringing in, discovering and growing their own skills, but also self-esteem, self-worth and a sense of value within the community, towards resilience.  Our joint experiences, shows us that all the above are the route towards motivation for change, it takes bravery to join in with something when most will lack trust due to past trauma.  
The project basis is through creativity, which is also time away from pressures, as one young person put it ‘I’d be able to be calm’, Through the media of photography and other art forms in the landscape including growing small 1 metre square, beautiful gardens, likened to a mini Chelsea Flower show, but without winners. The photography will be used by participants to create large pieces of art to add vibrancy to the centres. Lives with skills often not learnt in childhood that many of us take for granted.  
For many they will have to self-parent, unlearning unhelpful ways of being that until now have allowed them to survive. This project aims to empower participants to begin the path of reaching potentials and self-care, self-manage, etc. This is as much for the adults as the young people, this is not an age related issue. The sessions will be facilitating improved holistic wellbeing through the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, which are core to supporting mental health improvements. HTT’s benefits to a participant has been used as a Case Study by THRIVE Plymouth, due to these being central to what we offer. Providing safe, mentored space to talk through issues in the groups once trust is formed with facilitation, both HTT and FRC find to be beneficial to ‘individual unique recoveries’ but also to being able to collaborate. 
The whole project is designed by participants and this in itself is something much needed, as engagement is low, especially in Plymouth Foyer, where new staff changes to the ways of working aim to engage young people in better ways, we found in our first conversation with staff, so this project has come at a good time. 
Recognised need for participants to have opportunity to join in, in ways that they choose, to become more empowered and self-caring in their own lives by recognising their value. 
The project ran successfully during lockdown and has now ended.  
To find out more contact deb@horticultural-therapy-trust.org or freeradicalcreations@gmail.com  
The Eclective Network
Leadworks has been established after identifying the need to offer community organisations and individuals a place to work, to be and to share. These spaces will be affordable, inclusive, accessible, multi-use spaces, to bring the community and individuals together.  
Stonehouse is a diverse area with a rich past that needs supporting and acknowledging as the area is developed, the importance of assisting those that need it while these developments are undertaken to hold on to this rich cultural diversity that is already established in the communities and enabling them to continue building the area together.  
The Leadworks Factory vision is to create a place and home, to support, encourage and celebrate these differences, not as a leader but as a supportive and creative collaborator to build appropriate spaces in which this can be facilitated and learnt from to enable Stonehouse to continue to progress and grow its grass roots community.  The warehouse is the first incredible space to pilot this formation and to learn what colloborations can take place.  
Leadworks, and its emerging Eclective network, is a unique initiative set up to offer both space enabling a range of communities to be bought together under one roof and to bring together a range of communities in different ways, both socially and through project work and services that will be available at the Warehouse location. It will bring together a range of organisations both grassroots and more established organisations as well as organisations and individuals with a range of interests, for them to collaborate, share and find a home.  
Leadworks recognises that a space or home can make a huge difference to organisations and individuals; helping them to have a base, to share and to grow their organisations.  
The Leadworks, warehouse space is a pilot vision and learning a practice that will work to create this vision of bringing project and people together to work, to share and to be. 
Click here to find out more about Leadworks  
Positively Diverse Action 
Change making and community building often happens in isolated bubbles, even though a lot of time and energy is invested on broadening collaboration and inclusion;  
this is true within the BAME community where small groups with shared nationalities do their own thing and try and make change happen in silos. Its also true outside of the BAME community where place-based groups, or groups of particular interest also do their own thing, advocating for their own interests without stepping into other people’s shoes, finding joy in difference and genuinely letting new things be created through relationship.  
This funding will help people explore what then happens outside their bubble, connect with the positive intentions of others, identify shared interests that cross cultural boundaries and lay the groundwork for people to build relationship and collaborate in new ways.  
The project adapted and continues, a little differently due to Covid restrictions. 
To find out more contact info@plymouth.cityofsanctuary.org or stephane@sky-space.co.uk  
Precious Plastics Plymouth
We can’t actually claim to have come up with this excellent idea ourselves! Precious plastic is a global community initiated in the Netherlands by a group, who in the true spirit of social enterprise, put their idea out there for us all to use. You can view all the designs, products and community correspondence here: Precious Plastics 
Basically, it involves recycling plastic by shredding it, heating it and remoulding it into new useful/artistic creations.  
The plans for building the machines are open source and they are simple and quite cheap to build. The Plymouth Play CIC, Scrapstore building on Union Street would be a perfect location for this as there is space and a supply of clean waste plastic. We would be thinking of using this to recycle plastic which is otherwise difficult to recycle. It would also reduce transport and other costs associated by recycling locally.  
We think of this as a fun project to bring the community together, engage with recycling and plastic waste issues and get creative. Even better, this process can create high quality plastic products which can be sold.  
Find out more visit the PPP page on Kate Crawfurd’s website 
Street Meets / Street Eats
Is a project to develop community gardening and future food related pop-ups. The project will see two local residents employed to develop growing as a community resource and wellbeing opportunity, initially making use of The Talk Shop on Stoke Road as a place to get seeds propagating.  
The work has been inspired by Seeds n Feeds which has been a local gardening project run by Gin Farrow-Jones and now joined by Helen Moore – who is giving gardening tips under the guise of The Gardener in Residence. 
The project will support the group’s ongoing development of a new community business and support ambition to utilise any spaces where growing could happen. The project builds on Plymouth City Council’s recent Enrich programme where new opportunities for enhancing green space and a healthier environment were explored. 
Gin and Helen will start off with a ‘Nature Take Away’, offering salads, herbs and tomatoes as means to connect people to the project. Working with Sovereign Housing and residents at Notre Dame House the project will be a chance to hear about how food was grown at home in the past. 
The group will also get to go and see another urban agriculture project and when possible visit Rooted in Hull to learn how communities can grow together and provide edible spaces in a city environment. This research will interest Food Plymouth CIC who will look to see how the group develop the project in months to come. 
We want to sustain monthly pop-up events in the neighbourhood and the funding will provide these ‘street eats and meets’ for free. We’ll be working towards finding new ways to connect people, while socially distancing and taking care of vulnerable people at this time. 
The project creatively adapted to Covid restrictions, building relationships and making new connections. 
Find out more here or email info@friendsofwyndhamsquare.co.uk
Plymouth Literary Research and Pilot Project
We intend to establish a working group consisting of literary and event organization groups in Plymouth, including those with previous involvement in literary festivals in Plymouth. We will then contract an independent researcher to investigate why festivals in Plymouth have had poor attendance and low levels of community engagement, as well as to look into other, more successful events in other places like Bare Lit London, Bath Festival, Charleston Festival, Hay Festival or the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  
The group will work regularly with the researcher throughout the project to use this body of research to inform two pilot events, which will be a collaboration between different groups.  
Working with an independent researcher will enable the partner organisations and supporters to take an objective view of action needed to develop connections within the city as well as leading towards a productive and successful literary festival in 2021.  
Covid adaptations – the first virtual festival Lost Time in May 2021 
Find out more here or contact Caitlin, the researcher working on this project:  wonderzooarts@gmail.com  

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