We applied for Huddersfield Soup No.5 and sadly weren’t selected. However, on the afternoon of the event I received a call to say the reserve pitch had dropped out and therefore at #6 in the selection order we were now #5 and therefore could present as the reserve pitch if available at such shot notice. This meant were weren’t eligible to pitch for the funding but could share our project and ask for in kind support.
Vanessa and I made it to the event and heard all the other pitches, grabbed a quick chat about what to cover and then I got up on the stage and ‘pitched’ to a room full of people. The things we asked for were:
- Potential collaborators – people who might want to run workshops or events that would generate content (stories, poetry and art) for the newspaper, especially with ‘non-artist’ people who would not necessarily make or submit things independently, and also people who might want to link in for the launch next Spring with events such as poetry readings, performances or workshops along the Penistone Line either on the train or at stations.
- Printing! Our main expense in producing a newspaper on a shoestring budget is inevitably the printing. Our main funder has stipulated that they would like to match fund and in kind contributions can also count. The only ‘advertising’ we want to include in the newspaper is signposting to relevant services and partner/funder organisations, so revenue from advertising is not going to cover printing costs. Therefore reduced rate or even free printing services would help us massively to redirect funds to other areas.
- Spreading the word. One of our main challenges is getting the word out to the wider community further than our existing art networks. I’ve already contacted several local organisations and asked they share the open call and talk about it to anyone who will listen! We also know it’s hard for people to express first hand experiences about mental health even if they are practising artists/writers where making/writing is a practiced skill. We had a really good chat with a mother and daughter at the event who had multiple stories of friends’ and families’ battles with mental illness and failures in underfunded MH services. The outcome of this conversation is that they are interested in collating (anonymised) stories for publishing. Thankfully I’ve just attended a data protection and GDPR training event so feel up to date on how to make sure these stories will be truly anonymous and appropriate consent achieved.