In these uncertain times, the idea of stumbling across an organisation that helps people become the best version of themselves sounds very appealing. Turning onto Westgate Street in Gloucester will take me to just the place: the home of Kingfisher Treasure Seekers.
Eight years on from the day they opened their doors, this social enterprise provides activities and support to cater for a wide range of interests. Treasure Seekers runs workshops and groups for people who want to get into the world of work or are seeking support with substance misuse. Their more relaxing activities include the music room, Make and Take craft space, performing arts, discos, and open mic nights. Whether visitors are attending a confidence building course, indulging in some retail therapy in the gift shop or relaxing with a coffee in The Cavern, Treasure Seekers has something for everyone. In this way they have supported over two thousand Gloucestershire residents who may have a disability, challenges to their physical or mental health, or are disadvantaged in some way.
I spoke to Hub Manager Sally Collis to find out how she came to be an important part of such wonderful work.
“I was a secretary in the NHS,” she explained. “When one of the directors started talking to me about what they do here at Treasure Seekers, I was inspired and knew I had to do this.”
She now manages the hub of all the activities here.
“I’m a real ideas person, so this is a great place for me.”
Sally’s ideas have been key to Treasure Seekers surviving lockdown.
“We had to close the shops and look at how we could run our activities in a different way,” she said.
This was as well as supporting the vulnerable people who say that Treasure Seekers is like a home to them.
“A lot of our visitors have mental health difficulties and the pandemic has been massive for them,” she said. “We supported people over the phone and on our live chat system.”
They have survived in the way most of us have over the past few months: by taking it all online. Treasure Seekers has set up its own online gift shop and a separate craft shop. Rather than running craft activities in the hub, people can now buy kits to make at home. In this way, their Make and Take has become Take and Make! They are also looking at running some of their activities, like performing arts, in a virtual space. Sally and her team are clearly stars.
Apt, then, that Treasure Seeker’s logo is a many coloured multi-layered star to represent the different facets of a person. As their name suggests, they work with people to find the treasure within themselves to achieve more than they thought possible and do great things for their community.
As lockdown eases, Treasure Seekers is a guiding star to many vulnerable people in Gloucestershire. It would be easy for Sally to feel overwhelmed by the challenges that come with this ever-changing situation. Fresh from furlough, she said:
“The important thing is to spread the word that we’re back up and running.”
To find out about this trove of opportunities, visit Treasure Seekers’ profile on You’re Welcome.