I founded VieNess Discover You Love You CIC in June 2019.
I was excited!
I had plans!
I knew I would spend several months raising awareness of the Community Interest Company (and explaining what one of those is!) and raising money to enable the workshops to teach children, young people, and vulnerable women to happen.
There were lots of meetings, lots of planning, and several fundraising events.
Early in 2020, there were more meetings and bookings were starting to come in! It felt like things were happening! Exciting stuff!
Then, you’ve probably heard 🙄, a pesky pandemic hit us.Bookings were cancelled. Fundraising was stopped. And the few grants I could apply for became even harder to get because there was so much demand.
I did wonder whether I would even get a first birthday for the CIC.
Before the pandemic took hold, I had met the brilliant Dr. Jennifer Jones, and she said I should write a book to establish my expertise in my field (I liked the sound of that “should”).
I started attending workshops with her and, surprisingly, although my expertise building book was going veeeeeeeerrrrrryyyyyy slowly, she did open up my creativity. I wrote two decks of cards, and a book for children I’d had in my head for years actually got written.
Following a successful Crowdfunder campaign in November 2020, my first book for children, Where Are We Going?, was published in March 2021. I was an author!
And the fabulous Donna Mcghie became a book illustrator!
Another deck of cards was written and I started on a second children’s book! The book for adults had started getting somewhere too.
Following a Facebook post where I asked whether people would rather I run a Crowdfunder in August to publish both books, so they would be out for Christmas. or whether I run one in October/November, and the books come out in March 2022, all but one person said August for a Christmas release.
Great. It was July!!!
I’m not great at time planning!
I had to plan the Crowdfunder (in the most difficult month of the year to fundraise!), ask Donna to do the illustrations faster, and, just a couple of little things - finish writing the book, get the book to the beta readers, edit what they suggest, get the book to Jennifer to be proofread, edited then formatted, before being printed.
A doddle! PANIC!!!!!
Oh! I had also offered to write a chapter for a book for women in business that was being released in September - Shine Crazy Diamond!
I might have bitten off a bit more than I could chew.
But, by the skin of our teeth, we did it! Just!
Who Am I? and La Vie Est Belle. Learning To Live Hopefully Ever After were sent out to those that had supported the Crowdfunder on the 20th and 21st of December, with most arriving before Christmas (the ones for Texas arrived on 28th! Well done Royal Mail!).
As I write this, on 29th December, I’ve already been sent beautiful photos and videos of children reading and enjoying Who Am I? and wonderful reviews for La Vie Est Belle, Learning To Live Hopefully Ever After . I love the reviews and every one makes me feel so happy. So much of who I am is in the books and to have people enjoying them is wonderful.
That’s four books I have been part of in one year! Four! I really am an author!
This year has been DIFFICULT and TIRING. I’ve worked hard on the books and cards and the feedback is fantastic; sadly, none of them are money makers yet (you can help by buying them, reviewing them, sharing them; it’s much appreciated!).
Grants are still incredibly hard to get and it’s been the two Crowdfunder appeals that have kept me afloat (I was warned before I did the first one that they’re 24/7 and I didn’t believe them; two campaigns on, they’re exhausting!). And, understandably, given that we have mostly not been able to be part of crowds for almost two years, fundraising is almost non-existent; thankfully, the brilliant Murdered For Money did a virtual murder mystery for VieNess Discover You Love You CIC and raised a fantastic £173; thank you!
I’m hoping that more people will raise money for us in 2022, helping me reach more people; the feedback from the workshops are so good, and I know I help people, but I need your help to do more of that.
As well as the books and products, there have been other highlights
We have signed up for So:Lotto, which as well as supporting us, you can win too!
We have a Donr number where texting KINDNESS to 70490 will donate £5 to the CIC.
Anita, my wonderful person that is funded for a few hours a week by the Department of Work and Pensions, because of my disabilities, has been with me for over a year now. She makes the emails look pretty, keeps the website shiny (that the brilliant Kate Steaggles built), designs beautiful images, and much, much more, has been with me for over a year. She is also a fantastic reflexologist
I have a fabulous new person, Jupiter, through the government’s Kickstart scheme; she’ll be with me for six months, though, as part of her job is to bring enough money in so I can get paid and so that I can keep her on for longer, we’re hoping she’ll be with me for a long time. Jupiter is also a talented poet; her book is here: https://amzn.to/3eBUu3y
I’ve talked at several virtual events, some of them global! Just last week I was part of a panel where the business was based in Hawaii! I would like to do that one in person next time, fingers crossed. We discussed normalising disabled bodies. Other topics over the past year have been body confidence, self esteem for women in work, confidence for women in the building trade, crowdfunding advice, body positive parenting, building communication in families, boosting confidence in people with mental health issues, and being more inclusive, amongst others. I do love public speaking! It’s my equivalent to being an adrenaline junkie 😉
Goodness! What a year!
And plans for 2022?
I want to do more public speaking (do get in touch if you know of anywhere that would like me);
I have a third children’s book already written and another Emily book half written and it would be wonderful to get those published next year;
I would like enough money to come in so that I can run more workshops for the people that need them and benefit from them;
I have more ideas for products; I would love to do more book readings;
we’re developing teaching resources for schools;
I would love to run some fully funded workshops for International Women’s Day in March and International Day of the Girl in October; and, well, anything else that takes my fancy that comes under my banner of helping people live happier, kinder, more confident lives. I think that’s enough to be going on with...For now 😉
If you would like to help VieNess Discover You Love You CIC in 2022, by raising money, with ideas, with contacts, with skills, please do get in touch; I love hearing from brilliant people!
Thank you for all of your support and I, and the VieNessCIC team, wish you a wonderful 2022 full of love, happiness, and kindness.
Vie, Anita, Jupiter, and Leona and Lucy, our non-executive directors.
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