Huge thanks to our friend Andy Mullaney, BITC Business Connector for Dudley, for sharing his thoughts on DY1 venue. Thanks Andy. [please click on the image to read the full story]
They said “you’ll drink a lot of tea and coffee” and they weren’t joking. They said “you’ll meet some amazing people” and again the truth was spoken. They also said “you’ll be lonely and long for a permanent base in the community” and on this, I am pleased to say that they were wrong… because, I belong to DY1.
DY1 (Twitter @dy1venue ) was created last year by the visionary Andy Gray and his wonderful team at Dudley Council for Voluntary Service. It is one of the homes to the Dudley CVS and has a coffee shop, meeting rooms, a spacious hall for events and is also a location for three Social Enterprises.
On any given day there are people popping in and out, ranging from Dudley CVS employees, various volunteers, people seeking help, people wanting to get involved in the community, people who just want a chat and some company and people like me who need a temporary base within Dudley town centre.
Magic happens here because things get done and it has an atmosphere of welcome and ‘can do’. You feel as though you are in the hub of the community and there is a spirit of togetherness in the air.
So who goes there to create this?
Well, the catering is provided by Donna and her assistants from Lunch on The Run, a social enterprise that provides work experience and training opportunities for people with learning disabilities. Have a look at their YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6Jt6VHkGmg
Food and drink are essential to making an atmosphere work and for this there is no one better than Donna at being front of house. She has a number of years in the trade and never seems to stop. The food is sensational, well priced and the coffee and tea are always served with a smile and a few cheery words. I happily quality test the soup, for research purposes of course!
I often bump into Eileen Fielding, the force behind Operation Santa and someone who is constantly trying to innovate to help anyone who needs it. Like most people that I am meeting from the sector, I am sure that she lives on a 25 hour clock and never lets you go without gaining some commitment to a meeting for further collaboration. Salesmen beware! Try and sell to Eileen and you will buy double back in return and not even realise it.
Nicki Burrows and Donna Roberts are also regularly to be seen and are always planning their next approaches to helping the young and vulnerable. There’s always a smile even though I know that their exposure on a daily basis to some of the horrors of the world must make this difficult at times. Again, like with Eileen, they seem to have this ability to make me say yes to even more collaboration.
I also see people who face personal challenges that would make me want to stay at home and not dare to venture out. They enter DY1 with their heads held high, knowing that no matter what they will not be judged, but welcomed as a citizen of Dudley and of the human race. Where else does this happen?
I could go on listing the names of the people that I have come to know as friends, collaborators and sometime nomads like me. Everyone I speak to says just how inspiring DY1 is and that walking through the front door suddenly makes you want to be part of the process to create a better Dudley.
I hope every town can create an environment like this where the art of the possible is not only discussed but given oxygen, energy and life. DY1 is a massive part of that for me as when I seek inspiration, I go to the place and people who I know will always deliver.