Left to right: Cllr Ian Hall (ward member), Waffle directors Tim Whiteway and Sophie McLachlan, Cllr Stuart Hughes (East Devon Chairman), Waffle director Matt Smith and Cllr Andrew Moulding (ward member)

Learn more about crowdfunding at East Devon District Council’s free introductory session on 25 July

Thanks to crowdfunding, including a £4,000 contribution from East Devon District Council, Axminster residents and visitors can now sample delicious waffles and drinks from Waffle, a new community waffle house, which has just opened in the town centre.

Waffle is an innovative not-for-profit organisation whose aim is to create a community owned and run space, which will be used to bring people together to form unlikely friendships from the oldest to the youngest, with a particular focus on those who are lonely or isolated.

The directors of Waffle are passionate about finding ways to tackle loneliness, isolation and exclusion by encouraging cross-community interaction. As well as organising care home visits, hosting free community events and education workshops they are providing a space for teenagers to go in the evenings.

They even have a pay it forward scheme where customers can buy food and drink for those less fortunate than themselves. For £5 anyone can buy a wooden card, which entitles the holder to a free waffle and drink. The card can either be left with Waffle, who can pass it on to people within the community who they know are in need, or the customer can take it away and give it to someone they feel would benefit from an act of kindness.  

Waffle raised the majority of the funding they needed to start up their Community Interest Company by running two crowdfunding campaigns. Crowdfunding enables community groups and other not-for-profit organisations, including town and parish councils, to raise money all in one place to make their project happen quickly, without having to fill in multiple application forms.

There is still over £100,000 of funding available to community and voluntary groups and other not for profit organisations in East Devon through crowdfunding from East Devon District Council. The £100,000+ available is in addition to a large amount of county-wide crowdfunding money available from Devon County Council and from Devon and Cornwall Police as part of the Crowdfund Devon partnership.

Crowdfunder is the crowdfunding website that the Crowdfund Devon partnership are using. Visit: https://welcome.crowdfunder.co.uk/crowdfund-devon/ to find out more.

East Devon District Council is running a free Introduction to Crowdfunding session at Blackdown House in Honiton on 25 July from 4.30pm to 6pm. Booking is essential - to book a place please email: crowdfund@eastdevon.gov.uk

Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. 

Councillor Ian Thomas, portfolio holder for Finance at East Devon District Council said:

It’s great that we’ve been able to be part of Waffle, as they’re passionate about finding innovative and intentional ways to tackle isolation, loneliness and exclusion in their community. Well done to the people who had the idea, put in the hard work and have now seen their idea become reality! If you have a project in mind you think would benefit from crowdfunding, come along to our crowdfunding event on 25 July and find out more.  

Sophie Mclachlan, one of the Directors at Waffle, said:

Crowdfunding for us was a great way to get the community involved and give them ownership from the very beginning and we were so excited to find out that East Devon District Council were offering support through this channel. The process was really straightforward and the guys at East Devon were incredibly encouraging.

Matt Smith, another of the directors, said:

Waffle just simply wouldn’t have happened without the incredible support that we received from all over the community in all sorts of ways. Crowdfunding with East Devon District Council was a brilliant way for us to not only gather funding sources in one place but also to share the passion behind our vision.

How to use Crowdfunder

This is how groups can put their project onto the Crowdfunder website and start raising money, including from Crowdfund Devon:

  1. A group has an idea for a project. This could be constituted voluntary and community groups, town and parish councils, registered charities,      registered community interest companies, constituted not for profit      organisations.
  2. They fill in a form on the Crowdfunder website and make a simple video giving details about their project. Their idea is published on the online      crowdfunding website.
  3. They publicise this project and its presence on Crowdfunder as widely as      possible, ie they tell their ‘crowd’. The crowd can include the local      community, visitors, businesses, users of the service, local and national      organisations and funders, East Devon District Council, Devon County      Council and Devon and Cornwall Police.
  4. The crowd pledges cash to the project, and shares the project more widely.
  5. If the project reaches its target it receives all the funding that has been      pledged to it.