coFWD’s journey to date has been amazing. Starting in 2009 through social gatherings fuelled by coffee and beer, we later took on a small loft space to launch a coworking community in Kent. Since 2011 our home has been the former Natwest bank building on Rochester High Street. Two and a half years and 200+ events/workshops on, we’ve decided it’s time to think about coFWD’s evolution and this means taking some time out to plan the next chapter.
Community-led, independent-of-funding and without any staff, we’re reliant solely on the participation of local people and the income we generate through space hire and coworking. We didn’t set out to start a business or make money, we set out to make a positive difference to where we live, and to inspire people to get things done without red-tape or bureaucratic constraint. We hope coFWD has provided inspiration and helped make a difference locally.
To everyone we’ve met thus far we say thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you for your energy and enthusiasm, and thank you for rolling up your sleeves, getting things done, donating your time, equipment and furniture, and getting stuck in to inspire others and to make your mark on Medway and elsewhere.
With countless connections and many friends made, a staggering number of workshops and projects run, various businesses launched, and immeasurable amounts of fun had, it’s time for something new.
Most of our furniture and equipment will be sold or gifted elsewhere (coworkers who donated us things will have first refusal but do take a peek and let us know if you’re interested in anything) – we’ll start moving furniture at the beginning of June and all funds raised will go towards our next community-minded venture. The organisations and groups that currently hire our rooms for events and workshops will be redirected to other local spaces – we’ll honour our current room bookings but won’t be taking on any new ones.
We’ll be having a moving bash in June (TBC – for details please call us).
Our plans are evolving but it’s safe to say you’ll see us again =)
We decided to interview each other to find out what we will be working on over the next seven days. At the same time next week, we will find out whether we managed to achieve those goals and will state what we will be getting done over the following seven days.
I am always on the look out for ways to improve my work and interviewing each other sounded like a fascinating way to do this. As a freelancer it is easy to fall into routines but I try new things which may improve my work process as much as possible. This proved to be a great way for us to get to tell each other about our aims and means that we will have others asking us why we haven’t got our work done if we haven’t completed it by the next time we interview each other!
How do you ensure that you get things done?
Please note, our venue is a very old bank building that is being slowly shaped by a community of individuals for long-term Community Interest. Sadly the startup project is in its infancy and being run on limited funds so the building currently has some accessibility issues. If you have specific access or disability requirements and would like to participate in an event or activity please let us know at least 5 days before the event date so that we can do our utmost to resolve any potential problems to accommodate.]]>
A few of us coworking folk recently discussed the above sentence and our own ever-growing to-do lists. Natalie Tyler suggested we learn from Tom Platten-Higgins and perhaps start a Graveyard where projects die – a place to put our ideas to rest when we either don’t have the time to follow them up, or have taken them as far as we can. So we can put them to rest and get them out of our minds safe in the knowledge that others may find them and be inspired enough to do something with them that we couldn’t.
With the above in mind, we introduce the coFWD Graveyard and lay this idea to rest:
[DRAFT by Natalie and Carl] Halloween Camping in the Woods
If you think a camping trip over the Halloween weekend sounds both mad and brilliant, we’re organising the perfect event for you. Join us from Thurs 31st Oct to Saturday 2nd of November for a weekend of camping, moonlight cinema screenings and other paranormal activities as we venture into the woods for a spine tingling Halloween celebration.
Ticket price includes:
Guests are welcome to wear Halloween costumes (if you want to stay in Zombie character all weekend that’s also cool).
You’ll need to bring:
Moonlight Cinema Screenings:
Shaun of the Dead
28 Days Later
The Blair Witch Project
Additional computer gaming in the woods options:
Ghosts & Goblins
Organisational costs: (some already sourced and priced)
Their ‘Bring Something to the Table’ event proved so popular in March, they couldn’t possibly leave it out of the main festival!
The Potlatch is a mix of writing games and interactive debate based upon the festival theme. With the wonderful collective poems produced last time, who knows what new voices may be discovered – one of them may be yours!
The event will take place between 11am – 1pm and spaces are limited, so booking is required at a small cost of £3. Please visit their Eventbrite page to secure your place(s). Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Later, between 2pm – 4pm, Philip Kane will lead a fantasy and sci fi creative writing workshop, From Sorcery to Starships. Author, poet and storyteller Philip is a lifelong enthusiast for fantasy and science fiction. His own writings in those genres include stories about thieves, occult detectives and alien infiltration. In this workshop he’ll be introducing us to some of the key elements in creating believable fantasy worlds, characters and stories, from swords-and-sorcery to space opera.
Spaces are limited; tickets are £3 and need to be booked on the RLF Eventbrite page here.
For more information regarding the festival’s full programme, which runs from 3-13 October, please visit their website.]]>
As many people seem to be out making the most of the lovely summer evenings and Saturdays at the moment, we have decided to not open coFWD on Wednesday evenings and Saturday daytimes for coworking for the rest of August.
However, there are various things happening in and around coFWD during these times, click here to take a look.
Also, If a keyholder is coworking at coFWD during these times, they will make it known via the coFWD Twitter account (https://twitter.com/coFWD) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/coFWD).
If anyone knows that they will need to use coFWD during these times in August, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know and will we arrange for someone to be around to open and close
Just to confirm, coFWD will be open from 10am until 6pm every weekday during August.
Monday 12th August: Tuttle 101
If you fancy an inspiring start to the week (or just need to feed your caffeine addiction), come and join us at The Deaf Cat for coffee and a chat from 9.30 am next Monday.
Saturday 17th of August: The Rochester Flea
Tracy Affleck is launching a brand new flea market at The Gordon House Hotel and has very kindly given coFWD a stall to help us raise some funds. Carl, James and Nat will be coordinating (and we’ll most likely be working on this on Monday evening at 161) so if you’d like to help, please let us know. We urgently need vintage wares to sell so this weekend might be a good time to drop in and see your Nan if you haven’t in a while! Any donations will be very, very much appreciated. More details on The Rochester Flea Website and on Facebook
Saturday 24th August: MacGyver Club
Bring along your unfinished projects, repairs, stuff you’d like to tinker with or something you’re making – from stitching and crafting to hacking and playing with electronics – plus any tools you need to get the job done. We’ll supply tea and snacks. There’s a £5 cover charge which is aimed at raising some funds for coFWD. More info on Eventbrite and Facebook
Wednesday 28th August: Seasonally Effected
On the evening of the 28th, Roy Smith will be hosting Seasonally Effected: A Cultural Open Mic at the Dot Cafe. These nights can feature anything from poetry, philosophy, music and story telling to short films, photography and stand-up comedy. On one occasion we even made tin foil hats. They’re always entertaining so we recommend heading along. Find out more on Facebook
And here are some of our coFWD highlights from July:
- Over 20 people attended Jelly. It was great to have the building full of old and new faces
- We welcomed some new coworkers and caught up with people we hadn’t seen in a while
- 161 now has super powered internet thanks to an epic rewiring effort from Freddie and Adam
- coFWD became a ‘green room’ during Homespun, Medway Open Studios and The Lit Fest.
- We raised £135 in a day of intense haggling at Greenfields boot fair
- We also launched coworking gift vouchers
That’s about all to report for now. Hope to see you soon!
Medway’s Big Weekend is sadly, over, although the Medway Open Studios continues all through to next weekend. With such a variety of happenings involving so many of the coFWD community, there’ll be many a sleepy head occupying 161 today!
We’ll all be wide awake to welcome you on Wednesday though, for another of our popular ‘Jelly’ events. Come and join us for a spot of coworking: bounce a few ideas around with the creative minds you’ll meet here and Bring Forth Your Awesomeness! Or bring your lap top (but not the cat or the laundry pile) and settle down for uninterrupted (except for tea) Getting Your Stuff Done time. Sounds good, doesn’t it? All you need to do is sign up here to let us know you’re coming, so we can sort you out a mug
If gaming is where your head’s at, you can join us on Friday for the Retro sort, with our RetroSpect5 event. Raid your loft for your old consoles and bring’em along. Mario, Sonic et al, they’re all welcome for a solid session of fast and furious fun. Booking is essential and you can do so here.
coFWD is home to an eclectic mix of local creatives, many of whom were out and about over the Big Weekend. Louise and Ed from Tea Concerts were not only running the Homespun Festival along with other promoters, they also appeared at the Rochester LitFest Garden Party, Louise performing her own poetry, while Ed and our lovely Natasha of Creatabot brought along their CreataboX mini art vending machine – a huge hit with the party goers. The LitFest folk were of course in attendance at their own event, ably supported by Roy Smith, of Seasonally Effected fame (and more!) and Mdhamiri NKemi, one of our resident ridiculously talented film makers. Bunting maker extraordinaire, Sam Froudist, added the sparkle, festooning the eponymous garden with her wonderful creations. And we became the ‘green room’ for the day on Saturday, when the LitFest Guerilla Poets landed in town to warm up before hitting the high street to spread the words. Just an average week here, really …
The Canvas Room has been transformed into a studio of sorts today as Juli Dosad has hired the space to record a timelapse film of her illustration process. Julie is no ordinary illustrator (if there is such a thing). She creates visual notes for workshops, reviews, planning sessions, training and meetings. Juli weaves all the key points into epic illustrations, putting regular minutes, powerpoint printouts and meeting notes to shame. Here’s a sneak peek at today’s illustration work for YMCA. You can find out more about Juli’s work at her website: www.banter.uk.net
A varied bunch of activities is happening in the space this week. First up, The Rochester Literature Festival is holding a team building meeting for their Guerilla Poetry event on Wednesday. The brave souls who’ve volunteered to read classic poetry aloud in Rochester High Street, the day before the LitFest Summer Garden Party, are having an informal get together to decide their pairings and what poetry they’ll be reading. If you fancy taking part in that, email Jaye at email@example.com.
Next is the first of two workshops hosted by the prolific and wonderful Natasha Steer of Creatabot. ‘Customer Service for Creatives’ is being held on Thursday. It will demonstrate the importance of engaging with your audience and present lots of ideas to help you. Next Monday, the 8th, Natasha follows up with ‘Website in a Night‘ in which she’ll show you how to set up and maintain a simple website.
On Sunday 7th, join the gang for what will surely be the most hilarious ‘sweding’ yet, as they take on the mighty Austin Powers – Goldmember! If you haven’t seen the results of the first two, check them out here, where you will also find the Eventbrite page to book.
A relaxed and informal way of meeting coFWD is to come along to our Tuttle event, next Monday morning, the 8th. Some of us will be sharing coffee and conversation from 9.30am in the Deaf Cat Cafe, in Rochester High Street.
If you can’t attend any of the events, but would like to come along and find out more about coworking or room hire, just drop us a line here. We look forward to seeing you soon]]>
Sweding is the art of re-creating, using whatever you can get your hands on. We will use a combination of imagination and logic to come up with the best result we can. There are a number of different roles to be filled both behind and in front of the camera.
Previous Swedes have included Fight Club and Skyfall (seen below)
Participants in the past have had a great time:
“I’m 33 but this took me back to being at college, working without rules on something that was fun whilst surrounded by great people – I had a right laugh” – Carl
“Worst acting I’ve ever seen. Most fun I’ve had in ages” – Nat
“It was great to have made something that I could watch back with a great deal of satisfaction” – James
If you would like to attend then please sign up via the Eventbrite page.
The money from your tickets all goes towards making coFWD sustainable.]]>
This week it’s the turn of ME4 Writers’ Roy Smith, with his Seasonally Effected hat on. It’s a free cultural open mic event open to all, held at Dot Cafe, which is opposite the coFWD building. It’s on Wednesday, June 26th and start time is 6.30pm till approximately 9.30pm, depending on the amount of performers. Roy welcomes submissions from all mediums, including, short film, music, poetry, plays, talks, comedy, art and all sorts of other cultural explorations. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Creatabot’s Natasha Steer is holding her regular My Favourite Things event at 161 on Friday, June 28th, from 7.30pm. It’s an event event where people can share what it is that’s inspired them in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere – and this month it has the addition of cake or cheese! Tea is always on tap, but the munchies are on sale this time around, to help support the community cover the costs of room hire.
More events are scheduled in at coFWD – take a look at our Eventbrite page and see which ones take your fancy. We look forward to seeing you]]>
An early morning view from our window … you can see more photos from the parade at Going on in Medway.]]>
Click each image to enlarge.
And just for fun, while you’re waiting, here’s a link to an abridged version of the film;) Please note, there is some bad language.]]>