April in London saw temperatures of 28 degrees and my Birthday... so surely it was the best month of 2018 yet!?

Yes of course April has been the best month of 2018... but it’s not much of an accolade when Your competition is January, February and March... right?!  Of course, unless you have 365 children each born on a separate day of the year and live in LA... life is never solely 28 degrees and birthdays... for the rest of us life is more of a ongoing game of snakes and ladders and it is certainly no different for BIRD.

April’s biggest and most disappointing news is that we will no longer be moving into the space we had previously been offered for our new studio space. This is a blow, as it is the space we have built our recent plans around. The offer we originally agreed with our potential partners has been replaced with a revised offer which is no longer in keeping with our plans or budget. Big fat snake.

April’s most exciting news is the launch of a new social enterprise arts events organisation called Wingspan Group Ltd which will run many and varied fabulous arts events designed to simultaneously provide BIRD with a natural progression route for our artists whilst bringing in some much needed funds to sustain our work and give more young artists a chance to work with us.  A very exciting ladder!

I’m very excited by this launch and the early momentum it has gathered. The first Comedy event has been slated for June; Dance in September and Music... well as soon as a venue can be found and tickets can be sold! Add to that the plans for a Film event and it really is an exciting prospect; all profits going towards sustaining BIRD’s one-to-one sessions.  What is especially rewarding about this too, is some of the works (i.e. the dance and the comedy currently) will take BIRD’s four tenets as their inspiration and creative themes. Could be very interesting - Watch this space!

Our response to the disappointing news about the previously proposed space has been as you may hope - positive and dynamic! I am confident we will have something new reasonably quickly, so continuing to raise the remaining funds for the sound proof studio unit that we Crowdfunded for in December 2017 is still a priority. (You can read more and contribute here if you’d like to). It has been made slightly harder by our continued thinking about and development of safeguarding within how we operate and the need to consider that, in identifying appropriate spaces... one of the benefits of our perviously proposed space (that we would like to replicate in a new space) was that it was in and amongst other units in a potentially busy vibrant place with lots of other people around. Good not only for safeguarding but networking and relationships.

Another couple of significant ladders (albeit we are on the first rung of both of them) have been:

Our first referral from new referral partner Only Connect working out of kings Cross; a really fabulous organisation who work with Londoners aged 16+ with recent experience of the justice system. The focus of Only Connect’s work is innovation to reduce re-offending. A really exciting and encouraging new partnership for us and the start of something really beautiful we hope! 

An invitation by an Academy in Suffolk to take our model of mentoring and use facilities attached to the school to deliver BIRD’s one-to-one sessions for some of their students. This is an interesting proposal and having visited and spoken with students and heads of the arts faculties, I can see that there is an exciting opportunity to really add value and give opportunity to some young people who otherwise would not get it!

Yet another quick-scamper-up-some-rungs in April was the appointment of the fabulous Elizabeth-Ashley Durham as our newest Trustee. Elizabeth brings enormous knowledge and skill from business and the not-for-profit sector having worked for McKinsey and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we are all really glad to have her on the team and looking forward to all that she will bring to the role.

The final highlight of April was a superb evening we had delivering, my favourite of the rewards that we offered durign our crowdfuding campaign... the Living Room Gig. BIRD artists Pearl Fish won over a new audience with her beautiful, poignant 21st century folk and vivacious character (you can hear her here). If you would like to book a Living Room gig you can enquire by emailing [email protected] 

Amongst all the headline ups and downs there has been many mini two-step ladders and the odd stumpy little snake... standing back and looking at it from end of the month and even more so looking forward into the months to come it’s hard not to be excited by the game, eager for the ladders, ready to navigate the snakes and to attempt to face both with equal measures of Brilliance, Integrity, Relationship and Delight as is our constant challenge to ourselves and to the young artists we work with.

Things you can do if you want to help:

Donate.

Spread the word - Tell your friends about us down the pub, on social media etc (there is superb music to share on our website)

Volunteer - If you have a creative skill that you could see working effectively on a one-to-one basis as way of growing relationship and rapport, we’d love to hear from you.

Fundraise - There is a little known page on our site where you can set yourself up as a fundraiser and do something creative and incredible to raise money for us.

Adopt our 'Lifestyle Giving' options - e.g I watch films online, i just stream them when i want to from Rakuten TV pop and every time I do I make money for BIRD by using Give As You Live - one of a number of clever ways to raise money simply by going about your life. Comparing insurance, doing your groceries, booking holidays, buying just about anything online actually ...