A while ago I had a big idea. It was so big in my mind that I didn't quite know what to do with it. I didn't know how to get it off the ground. The idea was this: to go into women's shelters or eating disorder clinics and teach women how to make cloth dolls.
Some people might think that cloth dolls are a bit frivolous for women in those situations. To those people I would say that making little people out of cloth makes you look at yourself and everyone around you. Whether you realise it or not, dolls are an expression of self identity and the very act of crafting them has a therapeutic effect.
People might think that it is silly to ask someone to express their grief, their anger or their self doubt through a doll. I would say to those people that you can certainly express those things through the human form and you can also express hope and joy and beauty.
People might think that women who are at turning points in their lives won't want to sit and sew or glue or bead. I would say to those people that sometimes the act of focussing on something else entirely helps you to see what's been in front of you all along or maybe it will be just be a distraction that makes getting through that one day a bit easier.
Maybe my big idea wouldn't work. Maybe my big idea would be laughed at. Maybe it wouldn't help anybody.
But maybe it would. Making dolls helps me everyday. Maybe it could help someone else.
But the big maybe is, would I be able to do it financially? The thing about making a big idea fly is that you need some way to help it take off.
When I heard about The Cooperative Membership Fund I realised that it might be the boost a big idea like mine would need. The fund is made up of donations from Co-operative members who have chosen to give a percentage of their twice-yearly share of the profits. This year The Co-operative Members have donated £1.2 million to local community groups across the country.
As a charity, the board of trustees gives funds to community projects that fall in line with the Charities Commission guidelines as well as the values of the Co-operative.
The Co-operative Community Fund wants to support local charities with grants ranging from £100 to a maximum of £2,000. That would buy a few doll making supplies.
So if you have a big idea that needs some help taking flight you can apply for the support your local community project needs.
You just need to ensure that your big idea aims to:
- Carry out positive work in the community (it does not have to have charitable status to apply)
And the big idea must:
- Address a community issue
- Provide a long-term benefit to the community
- Support co-operative values and principles
- Ideally be innovative in its approach
A lot of people have benefited from the Co-operative's support of their big idea. Could this be you?
Or what about this?