Words by Smiley Team
Following the death of their daughter, two parents felt compelled to help young people in North Cornwall and Devon build more positive futures.
Rose and Johnny’s Bamford’s daughter, Pearl, died in 2019, aged 19. Having helped her through her struggles, they experienced first-hand the lack of support, direction and hope for their daughter’s generation. They felt her death highlighted a need for positive, creative activities and community involvement.
This is why they set up The Pearl Exchange, a social impact enterprise to make sure young people are not left behind or excluded. “Our overall vision is to create a strong, resilient, open-minded and sharing community where young adults have opportunities that inspire and motivate them to both explore their creative potential and flourish in the wider community,” they say.
“The creative arts are at the heart of what we do and we aim to facilitate mentorships with inspirational figures and build connections and partnerships to motivate and galvanise action.”
Now, the social enterprise in Bude has launched a fundraising appeal to continue its work to prevent rural isolation and poor mental health. “We need funding to keep our creative hub going, to build the resilience and life skills of young adults in rural Cornwall & Devon,” they said on Crowdfunder.
Fliss Loxley, 35 from Bude, the project manager at The Pearl Exchange. “The crowdfunder is to help us provide our services free of charge for people aged 18 - 30 from North Cornwall and Devon,” she tells Smiley News.
“We offer free workshops, talks and events in the creative industries, enterprise and wellness realms. We aim to offer people somewhere to come and connect with each other, gain confidence, improve their employability skills and experience culture.
“As a small remote area, there are very little cultural, social and employment opportunities – so we’re trying to fill that gap."
The crowdfunding appeal is going to make a “huge impact” to their attendees, says Fliss.
“Cornwall is a very deprived area with a growing employment, housing and mental health crisis,” she adds. “There are simply not enough jobs, not enough houses (other than second homes) and statutory support is incredibly oversubscribed.
“Younger people grow up with very little hope and generally look to leave as soon as they can. We’re building a youth focussed vibrant community which helps give the younger generation of North Cornwall a place of their own. Having this funding means we can fully programme our next year’s events, broaden our reach and provide free counselling for many more people.”
As a local resident with a young child, Fliss says it feels even more important to her than ever that we invest in the younger generation of this place.
“They keep a place alive, they provide positivity, diversity, hope and energy,” she says. “However, they need our help, they’ve been forgotten.”
DONATE: You can donate to The Pearl Exchange's fundraiser on Crowdfunder.
GET INVOLVED: Find out how else you can support the social enterprise and get involved.