12th October 2016.
I am sitting on a tiny chair, my knees wedged uncomfortably under a bright blue table.
Around me, the friendly (but as yet unknown) faces of the ladies of Horringer Pre-School Management Committee AGM.
And the Chair has just joked, summing up a successful year of fundraising: "all we need now is a new building!".
For the first time that meeting, I spoke up: "how much do we need...?"
And that was the beginning.
On Monday, 14th September 2020, we open the doors to our brand new community building.
It's been an incredible nearly four years.
At times, incredibly hard (there have been many tears and sleepless nights...).
But also incredibly amazing: I've made some brilliant friends, learned so much - and most of all...
...WE DID IT.
I am so grateful to everyone who has supported us - including all of my blog and social media readers for being patient with my updates!
In fact, my second ever Kirsten Goodwin Coaching blog was about the first anniversary of the Acorn Project, and what I've learned about teamwork through it.
This has been a massive part of my life, and you've been with me on the journey.
So THANK YOU.
Here are some photo highlights from the last nearly four years...
Launch of the Acorn Project! April 2017.
The Sponsored Slide-a-thon - the first fundraising event I organised! (I didn't sleep the night before with worry, or the night after with excitement...)
First anniversary of the Acorn Project - with the Mayor and Horringer Women's Institute, who have both been major supporters (we've been so lucky to have the full support of our local community - we couldn't have raised the money without that...)
One of our most fun fundraising events: the Muddy Mummies - before:
Our bespoke Christmas cards, designed for us by Tor Freeman (children's book illustrator, and my oldest friend!)
The Pre-School is rated Ofsted "Outstanding"! (2018) This was really important to us to prove to the community we deserved their support for our new building.
The winners of one of our many popular quiz nights in our local pub, the Six Bells
One of our fabulous fundraising posters designed by Pre-School Mum and Committee member Bec Austin (standing at the back in the glasses in the picture above) - this one for our special Lockdown fundraising event (which made over £1,200!)
Pre-School staff getting ready for the big Clear Out! L-R: Stephie (Manager), Gina, Michelle and Mel :)
Our old building nearly completed demolished... You can see it was basically a large wooden shed.
Our new building being constructed! (Ruth is looking particularly happy because we finally had windows after a UK-wide delay due to coronavirus - one of the many hiccups during the final two months of the build...)
Family visit to our building! (This has very much been a family affair - Ruth and I could not have devoted the hours we have without the support of our husbands and children...)
The new building being delivered to site! This was the moment when I felt the most incredible relief, that it was actually going to happen...
And the (nearly) finished product! This photo was taken yesterday afternoon, we still have one more day of finishing touches to go before we open tomorrow! (I will update this blog with the final photos...)
This has truly been a labour of love.
I can't begin to explain the responsibility I have felt over the last few years to make this actually work out.
But we got there...
And that is partly due to a mindset based on one of my favourite quotes:
So one last time, THANK YOU to everyone who has supported the Acorn Project, and kept me going since that fateful evening in October 2016 - especially my family, who have put up with a lot over the years...
And above all, a massive thank you to Ruth, my Acorn partner-in-crime.
We've been a source of support and encouragement, and a non-judgemental sounding board to each other, each bringing our own specialisms but with the same levels of commitment to the project.
And we can disagree with each other without falling out, which has been hugely important!
On Monday, once the doors to our new building open to the Pre-School children, we're heading to the local spa for a well-earned day of rest.
For me, this Project is proof: if you plan well, work hard, learn all the time, and just keep going, dreams can come true...
As ever, wishing you a positive and productive week! 😊 💪 💖