Saturday, 18 June 2011

Newsy news!

We thought we'd post a quick news bulletin.........

This month we welcome new volunteers Charlotte and James in the kitchen, and Jessi, Mike, Anja and Ramona in the cafe.  We're also pleased to welcome Louise who will be working with Jess in the Boutique.  Awesome.

Natalie starting as our cafe co-ordinator in July .  This is our first paid position aside from directors*, so we're really excited about it.  Having a part time paid position for this important role will ensure that volunteers and customers get a better experience and our directors are free to plan all sorts of splendid events and develop what we do :) 

We've just booked lots of buskers for July, plus a local food day on Friday, 8 June, with lots of local nosh being offered all day.  We'll also be open in the evening for a special 'Eat Local' fundraising dinner for our 'Buns in the Oven' fund - so please join us from 7 - 8pm!  Our team of cooks do use a lot of local ingredients all the time, but this is a fun way to showcase it :)


There will be other fund raising events through the summer to raise enough to finally buy a proper cooker.   Ziggy and her kitchen crew have, for three and a half years, made do with dodgy old cookers and I'm sure you'll agree they've done a fine job too!  Having a good quality cooker with induction hobs will enable us to reduce waste (from things being burnt or not cooked properly and from electricity).  The target is £2000 so we can buy a high-end domestic double oven and induction hob.  Sexy!

Next week we launch our newest exhibition 'This Is My Home Now'.  This forms part of a project working with refugees in Southampton, listening to their stories and taking photographs.  There's also a very hi-tech 'Talking Globe' - it looks quite a lot like a time machine (in fact it may be, you never know!) and we're excited about seeing it in action.  You can buy the book shortly from Amazon.

We're off with our Big Red Art Tent on Sunday 26th June on the common for the Hawthorn's 'Spring Into Summer' event.  Salads, falafels, spanakopita, samosas and lashings of ginger beer are the plan - we're doing it as a fundraiser to replace the dodgy cooker in the kitchen.

* To explain about the paid staff (we realise this is something we need to be VERY open about!).  The directors reached a point where we needed to commit full-time to the Art House late last year.  This meant we no longer could to the freelance work that had paid our bills for the first few years.  The directors are now able to be paid a very modest hourly rate for 13 hours per week and we also work an additional 25 - 35 hours per week as volunteers (if any of us do NOT need money to meet our very basic living costs in any month, we put it back into the organisation as a loan, or don't draw a wage - this happens fairly regularly). 

We project that salaries will form less than 15% of the Art House's total expenditure this financial year.  Of course, all of our other staff are volunteers - this low wage bill, along with the fact that we pay no profits to shareholders or owners (or anyone!) enables us to keep the food and activities affordable and focus on quality, not money.  We like it that way - most organisations spend most of their income of paying staff.

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