Urgent appeal!

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We need to raise at least £1000 urgently.  It’s been a difficult few months, as you’ll have gathered, not helped by me not being too well, and we have debts to clear.  I’ve set up a fundraising page – options for both locals and non-locals – do have a look, and even if you can’t help, spreading the word would be wonderful. If you can give just £3, that would help so much – or check the other options for spending a bit more – books, book vouchers, monthly schemes.

And here’s our lovely video made by Lewis Smith of one of our Tree House Sessions to give a flavour of why we’re worth supporting! So many friendships made here, so much to offer the town in terms of books, the arts generally and a place to come together.

Volunteering

cropped-cropped-treehouse-header.pngThe Tree House was not intended originally to be volunteer-run, but the realities of survival on the high street mean we have had to be.  It does add to the sense of it being a community venture, about people and reading and promoting the arts more than about commerce, but it is also a challenge.  I run the place full time, but have not been able to earn anything since we moved from our old premises.  So I need to find other ways to earn money, if I am to carry on running the Tree House.  This in practical terms means I need a bit more time away from the bookshop.

So I am looking for one or two volunteers who would like a regular commitment and have half a day or a day a week or a fortnight to spare.  We currently have one person who works every other Wednesday morning, and it’s a godsend – if we could find someone to do the afternoon on the days she works, that would be even better!  It would also be good to have Friday afternoons covered, as I have some opportunities to work elsewhere then.  But any days or half days would be welcomed.

You need to be confident of being at the bookshop on your own – though if we have enough suitable applicants, we can pair people up.  You need to be able to engage with customers and keep up to date with what’s happening at the bookshop.  There is always work to be done in terms of tidying and stocking the shelves, but if you have computer work to do or even want to spend some time reading (!) you would be able to do that too.  Some are keener to be physically busy than others – and the main thing is to keep the bookshop open as much as possible and be there for customers.

So if you are interested, do get in touch and we can talk more about it all – what’s involved, what level of availability you have and so on.  Email victoria@treehousebookshop.co.uk or call into the bookshop to arrange a meeting – I can’t always stop and chat then and there, but we can fix a time to discuss things if I am busy.

I am also always looking for evening help – at music events, film nights, etc – so if you are interested in being involved in those, I would love to hear from you too.

Crowdfunding

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Click on the image for the link to our crowdfunder campaign!

Today we’ve launched a very ambitious campaign – trying to raise £5000 for the bookshop in just six weeks…  So many have given generously in the past, and I don’t want to ask the same people to keep giving, but we now have a lot of followers on Twitter and Facebook, and if everyone shares, and maybe their friends and followers share, we could have a huge reach and the potential for lots of support!  The best way to support us is to keep spreading the word (as well as buying books, of course!), so if anyone out there is prepared to share, retweet, etc, that would be marvellous.

We are hoping for an injection of cash to boost our ongoing efforts to raise our game a little and make our regular income stronger.  The crowdfunding is to help enable us to survive, and to provide funds for things such as producing some good publicity material (flyers, bookmarks, postcards and more) and a window graphic to make it clearer who and what we are, renewing our PRS and Film licences so that we can carry on playing music and showing films, improving the lighting (those who have visited know it’s a bit basic and there are several bulbs/lights that need replacing!), sorting out our hot water boiler to help with washing up, so that we can perhaps do more in terms of offering refreshments, and other things besides.  If we raise enough, I want to go beyond these necessities and make the bookshop itself – the physical space – a lovelier, more magical place than it already is.

So please do have a look at the campaign, and please click here and share the link as much as you can.  The link will stay at the top right of our homepage here, linked through the image of the bookshop, and you can share on various social media sites directly from the crowdfunding page.  We get to keep whatever pledges we raise in the next six weeks, but if we can reach our £5000 target, that would be amazing!  We have raised £90 in the first hour, so let’s see how far we can get…  Thank you in advance!  Every single share or retweet helps.

In the meantime, watch our Tree House Sessions video for inspiration!

Signs of genius

einsteinHappy New Year, everyone!

I am planning a few things for 2016, which hopefully will develop the community aspect of the Tree House as well as helping with our income.

I read recently that if you change your mind a lot, it is a sign of creative genius.  If so, I must be on a par with Einstein.  I always just thought I was indecisive and easily swayed…but I prefer to think I might be a genius!

In the first of a number of changes of mind from previous decisions, I have decided that instead of just supporting one or two charities we will have a charity of the month and raise funds during each month through events and promotions.

The Film Club will be moving to Fridays, and the range of films will change slightly, in response to a bit of market research I did to see if we could do something to build up our film audiences a bit.  Another change of mind – I was going to have a month off in January, as it is quite a lot of effort, and not many people come, but we’ve had such a poor month financially in December that I need to press on with anything that brings in a few pounds!

Art History lectures will move to Thursdays, with some on Tuesdays too – both evening lectures.  I will also be running some art history dayschools on Sundays.  A few people have expressed interest in a course in art history, so I am putting one together.

The Mail Order Book Club is gaining members, and I will keep promoting that, as it is good fun, people seem to be enjoying it.  If you live locally and prefer to choose your own books, you can receive a monthly voucher instead – details of both schemes above.

We have lots of great music booked, and the open mic evenings – the Treehouse Sessions – are going really well and will continue, and I am starting to book a few speakers to give a bit of variety from my art history talks!  Keep an eye on our Events pages.

We now have Tree House mugs, as well as our badges and fridge magnets, and I will be working on more merchandise as our fab logo, designed by paper cut artist Lisa Richards is worth exploiting!

More details of all these things – and hopefully more – in due course.  I am also planning to change the status of the Tree House from a limited company to a social enterprise, as this should help us financially as well as making our non-profit, community aspirations more transparent.

What won’t change is the great stock of books and the chance of a cup of tea or coffee while you browse or read!  Hope to see you at the bookshop soon.