A Year ago today, Farset Labs opened it’s doors for the first time.
After having spent months in property hunting, and searching for commercial support, and years of community development, with a meagre equipment list, 12 paying members, three (also paying) directors, 2000sqft of dirty, dusty, derelict, (and occasionally, dangerous) workspace and a financial timebomb ticking over our heads when the place would implode if it wasn’t a success.
Today we count 54 members (and counting), over 350 individual event attendees, heading-to-5 (still paying) directors, an equipment list that rivals some research labs, a deserved reputation for creativity, STEAM outreach, community inclusion, irreverence and an almost chaotic ethos of openness, and a list of individuals and organisations that we’ve worked with that constitutes one of the best inter-organisation networks in Northern Ireland.
We’re not gonna make a big deal about it; we’ve got a MASSIVE PARTY to do that later, but I wanted to highlight a few points of awesome.
- It has quite literally been done with no money and no paid ‘staff’; apart from an emergency injection of cash by the directors over the whole legal issue, we’ve been self sustaining thanks to event fees, event sponsorship, and membership dues. We have had no generic support from any agency, or organisation. We had one paying corporate member, AISN, who unfortunately had their own funding cut. We were sorry to see them go, but it goes to show that not everything that’s awesome is massively funded by a government sponsored acronym… (Although some would like to claim that they support us indirectly, which is kinda like saying I support those agencies through my taxes and therefore should get credit for their work…)
- Eoghan and David have been legendary; two undergrads of Electrical Engineering and Physics respectively being able to manage both their academic commitments and to dedicate time and energy to keeping Farset going and growing, with no payback other than the execution of their passions, they are a brilliant example to the next generation of young social entrepreneurs.
- We’ve finally got to a level of stability that we can put some energy behind our outreach projects. CoderDojo is turning out to be a massive success, and school visits and career day talks have been a great success and will continue.
After a year, we’re just about on our feet, but the challenges, financial and organisational, grow with each week, but we’re still having fun, and now we know we’re making a positive difference in the world.
PS I was just reminded of the below post; haven’t quite hit all the targets but it shows how far we’ve come.