three women stand on stage in a hall. From left to right: a woman in all black laughing, a woman in a red hoodie and jeans smiles, a woman holds up a wooden board adorned with paintings and poppies and talks to the crowd.

Last year, parents Jane, Suzanne, Samantha, and Alana had the best summer ever. Why? Because through a one-off funding opportunity, they were able to go on days out, do some gardening, attend workshops and training, enjoy activities with their kids, and access vital peer support. 

However, when the funded programme ended, they realised that, as parents, they shared a common problem with many others in the community: they couldn’t enjoy the little things in life because these often came with an unaffordable price tag. 

Together with the support of Mary Fox and Lilian Gray who work with families at the Bowmar Community Centre, Jane, Alana, Suzanne and Samantha came up with a practical solution to the problem. They developed an idea for a “resource library” where families could access resources and equipment free of charge so that they could enjoy a better quality of life with their children.

In association with the Family Wellbeing Partnership and Clackmannanshire Council, The Lens provided them with the support they needed to develop their idea so they could confidently pitch for investment.

In May 2022, they successfully secured £4,500. Since then, the team have secured a container to house their resource library, which will soon be restored and adorned with graffiti art by local young people.

They've also had an influx of donations, including tools and home-improvement equipment, which will soon enable them to support families across Clackmannanshire.

But the Bowmar Borrowers won't stop there. They're currently developing a website in partnership with Co.Lab, Alloa Academy and Park Primary School to help spread the word of their service even further, all while up-skilling local children by providing them practical experience in administration and website design.

"It's been a really great learning experience and to come together as a team... we've felt we really took ownership of the project" - Jane Miller