This is the link to the diary of the journey so far.
As of the things have progressed in a positive way quite significantly. I think i have about 4 or 5 people on my working group.
I have a good contact in council who will help distribute my petition for community support to some relevant organisations around the place. I was talking to her about finding a place to start a meditation group which is cost free.
I am currently looking for a free place to start a meditation group and also a place to start a depression support group. When i get the latter group going, i will probably adopt a 12 step program to model it on as these provide structure which is necessary to avoid just a common gabfest.
I've got a few tentaive possibilities for a free place. In order to find these places i've had to be able to justify why i should be allowed to have such a place for free and why my groups and the centres acivities should be run on a donations only basis. There are two reasons which i now cite. ONe is for the good of personal development a la buddhismi - cultivating generosity and good will etc in the individual and secondly to make the activities available to everyone as easily as possible. I especially think of the poorest people in the society as i want them to feel they can come. Also the donations systems means that people can try different things because there is no financial reason stopping them. Also you can't charge people to attend a support group. If i have coffee and things like that around when the centre is running, then people will have contribute to that off course and if i run weekend meditation retreats as i would like to, then there will have to be a fixed amount that people will have to pay to cover the food expenses. But dana will still be dana. I will be sure to activitly encouraging people to give dana. I won't just have a pot at hte door way that everyone can ignore without a second thought. On the other hand, i don't want to bore everyone with undue pressure. But the offerings tray as it is done in church is a good thing to keep in mind. And i might even consider using that system. Not sure though.
Another development is that i've thought of an idea for a small business that can be run separately from the meditation centre. This business would raise funds for the centre so that we are less dependent on grants to fund it. I will not talk about the business here until its established or until i know we can do it. or not do it. What might not work here might work well in someone else's community. Suffice to say its a business than anyone can do. And suffice to say there does not have to be one type of business or way to make money to fund a meditation centre. Thsi is one way and i am glad i've thought of it. Had i not though of it and if it doesn't go ahead then i would just rely on income from government grants process.
I've looked on our local council website for information regarding grants and there are quite a lot of grants that we would be eligible for. In order to be able to apply for a grant, one has to form an organisation or get auspiced under an existing organisation. I'm doing both at this point. But i've just found out that it doesn't cost much at all to set up a not-for profit organisation. Only about $40 for the application fee. I think its a bit of work working it out though. And i think i hope i can hand that job to someone else. You also need a president (me) a treasurer and someone else which i can't remember right now. This is hte core of the working group but you want a bigger group of supporters involved. I've started seeking these people and i thnk i have now about 5 people who are keen or probably keen to be involved in this way, so that really makes me feel that this project has a chance now.
I'm preparing some information so that a local online news paper can present my project to the community and ask for input and support. The editor has already agreed. I also asked for continued free promotion. I have to contact the local newpaper again with regard to this as well. They've already published one letter some time back to make people aware that my project is in the ether.
So the three things i'm working on now is
1. find a free place to start a meditation group and a support group and run each on a weekly basis.
2. gather letters and indications of community support by emails to note a persons willingness to be involved in the project and a petition to show basic support from the community.
3. establish a working group (which is essential for applying for funding.)
4. Meanwhile i continue to seek support from auspicing bodies, and government which will be detailed either already or down the track but not right here. And other organisations that we need on our side.
I've also already approached the local AA group to invite them to run their group from our centre and to invite someone to be on the working group. There was the unexpected result that people in AA might be keen to try meditation although they'd never given a second thought before. So that made me feel very good.
The kind of people i've begun approaching to be on the working group are people who are involved in the area of meditaiton, spiritual practice and 'healing arts'. I got their numbers from teh advertisements in our local phone book. I've been pleasantly surprised that not all are airfy fairy types. I've found one woman already takes a vipassana style meditation group. One woman who has a japanese style massage and therapies business and she has an interesting meditation technique that i'd never heard off. I have another woman who is a bit involved in things that dont interest me but i think her meditaiton style is still useful for people since she's already got a group going. And she seems like a nice person. Its jsut going to be a little challenge to make sure her psychic type activities don't start playing a part at the centre as i feel its important that our activities are kept pretty maintstream if we don't want to alienate useful people like council. I'd rather have maintstream medical people onside too and if its too whacky, they will not come round.
I've also been consulting the yoga center and the medical centres looking for indications of support in the manner of referral of patients and customers. The yoga centre has already said that they would promote the centre. And i can see how the centre could reciprocate promotion by allowing them to hold one off short yoga demonstrations or workshops in order that they might reach new customers.
To find a vacant building where the centre could live for a while, i've been talking to real estate people and business people. these people have been great with ideas for where else to look. One put me on to hte fitness centres and as a result of that there's a website that promotes all these sorts of activities and i've been offered the chance to promote the meditation centre there too. It won't cost me i believe because this is a community non-profit project. It might be this same person who will have a suitable space available for running a depression group. I have to go and check it out this week.
If anyone has any questions after reading this feel free to ask. If you have any suggestions you can also feel free to make them. HOwever before doing that i hope you will understand what the project is so that you don't waste your time.