Made in Somerset!
Fun-runs, bake sales, sponsored ping-pong matches - there are plenty of ways to raise money. But a group of Somerset women have proved that fundraisers don't always have to have a novelty factor, by running a stylish, creative shopping event that showcases local artisans and food producers and supports an educational charity at the same time. Meet Jacquie Lindgren, founder of both the Made in Somerset event and the charity, Etatu.
Jacquie Lindgren helping students in Africa
Hi Jacquie, great to meet you. Could you tell us a bit more about yourself and your work?
I'm a teacher. I have taught in many different environments: state schools both here and abroad; private schools both here and abroad; camps for people who are asylum seekers or refugees; prisons. I am now a private tutor of GCSE English, History and Georgraphy and A Level Geography. I hold qualifications in dyslexia and TEFL and in 2012 I set up Etatu, an educational charity that works in Msambweni, Kenya. I spend much of my spare time managing and fundraising for this.
One of the ways you fundraise is through running the shopping event 'Made in Somerset'. Can you describe it and what inspired you to start it?
Made in Somerset is an artisan fair and shopping event. It brings together some of the best designer-makers and artisan-producers from around the county. We've had five so far - our first one was in 2015 - and it came about because a group of three of us wanted to raise money for Etatu and also to help after the dreadful floods on The Levels in 2014. Two of us had experience and expertise in the area of design and craft – so we dreamt up Made in Somerset, a chance to showcase the talent and the generosity of the small-scale businesses of the county.
The current Made in Somerset team - (L-R) Virginia and Frances, the clever pair who dreamed up the event in 2015, Emma, who joined last year to help with social media
and Jacquie, who is the founder of Etatu.
What do you remember about the first one?
We wondered how we had the audacity to think people would come – it was nervy. It still is quite nervy, never knowing how many people will come on the day. We relied on the reputation and style of The White Hart in Somerton, to set the tone, which is where we held our first four. There have been many memorable moments since, like the first people to come through the door; stalls selling out; meeting up with and discovering so many people who know and love Kenya. We raised £1200 the first year, which we shared with The Abingdon Fund which helps farmers facing hardship. This year we hope to raise £3,500.
The next event is Saturday 4th May 2019 in Somerton at Ace Arts Gallery and The Parish Rooms, from 10am to 4pm - what can visitors expect?
They'll be offered the best of contemporary crafts, gifts, food and produce. The range and variety means there is ‘something for everyone’ including face-painting for children. They can have coffee, tea, cake, a simple lunch as well. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming and there is the feel good element of everyone being there out of a desire to ‘make a difference.’ There will be 33 stallholders, plus two Etatu stalls and a table displaying wonderful raffle prizes.
Tell us more about Etatu, about you and its work
I set it up and run the charity. I act as main fundraiser and also, in collaboration with the Trustees, decide policy in Kenya and manage the wonderful Kenyan team of part-time staff who implement the various initiatives. Etatu works in Msambweni Kenya, a fishing and farming community in the south of Kenya. It is characterised by things like warmth and hard work, but it is also characterised by poverty. Few people can afford education, which is seen as the key route out of poverty and to improved life chances. Etatu helps families send their children to school, helps them stay there and to achieve. This is important for girls especially, for whom secondary education offers a range of other advantages, for instance delayed marriage and a 70% reduced risk of dying in child-birth. Etatu does a range of education-related things but Made in Somerset specifically raises money for secondary school fees for girls. My involvement is also to work with the fantastic volunteers who work hard for Etatu in the UK. Made in Somerset is now organised by five people but about 15 others are involved in various ways in Made in Somerset on the day.
What does Etatu mean?
‘Etatu’ literally means ‘Three ‘e’s. It is a name chosen by a group of twelve year olds, shouting out ‘Education, Education, Education’. It clearly indicated what children in the village of Mwaembe placed emphasis on. To us at the moment Etatu means ‘Education, Enterprise, Empowerment’. Etatu is pronounced: ee-tar-too
Have you seen the results of your labour in action - seen how the money raised has helped girls’ education in Kenya?
I visit Kenya relatively often, (lucky me) and I witness the results often. In 2018 eleven girls sponsored by Etatu at Kingwede Girls’ School, completed their secondary education. Eight did well enough to progress to college and two of those are going on to Univeristy. This is amazing. Without Etatu’s help, they would not have gone to school at all.
We're proud to support you and the charity. How vital is sponsorship to you?
Lodestone Property is a wonderful supporter of Etatu – its financial help enables us to run the event as we would like to – there are invariably unavoidable costs to running such an event, although we keep them to the absolute minimum. Lodestone means that absolutely all money raised can go towards Etatu’s work. Lodestone’s publicity is also vital as you have a growing presence in the area and are well regarded and well liked. Your support is affirming and signals Made in Somerset as a quality, well-run event. Finally, without publicity there would be no-one coming. All publicity is important and Lodestone’s is very much appreciated. Access to their own, loyal supporters is a great gift from Lodestone.
We wish you every success.
Follow Etatu on Facebook and Instagram: @MiS4Etatu and @EtatuKenya or visit their website https://www.etatu.org.uk.
Visit the 2019 event on Saturday 4th May 2019 in Somerton at Ace Arts Gallery and The Parish Rooms, from 10am to 4pm