GET TO KNOW: TONI FINNIMORE FOUNDER OF THE SOCIAL SOCIETY

 In Get to Know, What really matters
We joined forces at a gig back in March 2020 called “Better together, a night of amazing live music showcasing up and coming talent. Here we catch up with founder Toni to chat about ‘the social society’ and her amazing campaign ‘Shows on the road’ a six month project to support the uk’s musicians and performance artists.
This project is so important right now as times are really tough for musicians and creatives across the UK.
“After the first lockdown we hosted a socially distanced picnic to bring people together and it was a huge success.”

What’s bubbling?
There’s lots bubbling at the moment, there’s always lot’s bubbling! 

I have launched my #showsontheroad tour, a six month project to support the arts in the UK, where I will be live streaming over 100 artists from my humble campervan whilst traveling the country. I am undertaking a national roll out of the social societies volunteering model from February and am super excited to reach more charities in need as a result. This year has been a really tough one and I am proud to be able to lead the way with a new and innovative approach to volunteering. 

Tell us in a nutshell what The Social Society is?
We are ‘The Social Club 4 Social Good’ our paid volunteers provide highly skilled support to charities inside our three month skill sharing programmes. We also run events to reduce isolation and loneliness and raise funds for local projects with our membership fees.

How do we support charities in these tricky times?
I honestly think this is one of the easiest questions I have had to answer. I would say, keep doing what you are doing! I have been overwhelmed with the amount of support I have witnessed locally following COVID19 and continue to see kindness both inside and outside our community. Kindness is cool folks!

“I have launched my #showsontheroad tour, a six month project to support the arts in the UK.”

What’s great about volunteering?
The feel good factor, helping others in need and making a difference. I am a champion for long term sustainable methods of support rather than quick wins. Government structures no longer work and this has been apparent for some time now. If you want to volunteer make sure your support packs a punch not just now but way into the future! 

How has c-19 affected you this year?
We usually run a number of events each month to connect people and generally have a great time. We had to cancel our event schedule almost overnight and unfortunately were not eligible for any financial support as an organisation. Whilst this has been really difficult, especially as a small business trying to grow, we are lucky compared to most. We have ploughed our energy into supporting those that need it most and cooked up quirky and innovative projects throughout lockdown that sit outside the box and make an impact! 

Why did you set up The Social Society?
For many many reasons, some of which we don’t have time to go into now but in a nutshell, the charitable giving model in this country doesn’t work. Businesses painting the community shed or digging allotments for team days to fulfil their corporate social responsibility needs isn’t sufficient. Charities prop up core community services where government support is lacking and do so without any additional help financially or in the form of additional resources.

The Social Society is a way of giving back both financially with our fees, offering long term sustainable methods of volunteering through skills development and connecting communities through fun and unique events. We have a great time, our community has fun and our charities get the support they need and in our eyes that’s a win win!

“Be kind, look out for one another and take one day at a time.”

Your new project campaign “Shows on the road” sounds amazing .. How did you come up with the idea?
After the first lockdown we hosted a socially distanced picnic to bring people together and it was a huge success. Shortly after, Boris changed the rules again around gatherings, live music and events in general. Musicians, artists and performers were contacting me asking for help and I wanted a way to do this safely alongside supporting local charity. My mind is always full of bonkers ideas, I’ve always wanted to do a roadtrip and after the year we have all had I figured I could bring the two together. 

Living in and live streaming events from a van, what could possibly go wrong!

How can people help the campaign “shows on the road’?
Donate, share and tell all your creative friends. We are running a crowdfunding campaign to pay the artists that apply to perform and are without work and really need your help. People power, let’s spread the word far and wide!

What’s your dream for the campaign?
We get to showcase 100 artists in 15 cities, support 30 charities over six months exactly like the plan!

What do you think is the most important thing to get us all through these hard times?
Each other. Be kind, look out for one another and take one day at a time. Noone thought we would be in the position we are in now back in January and every person’s journey has been so very different. Be kind, be compassionate and look out for those around you and in need 

How smelly will your van be after the road trip?
It’s going to smell of roses of course

Who’s your dream musician to work with?
ED SHEERAN, ED SHEERAN, ED SHEERAN

Any questions for HEY GIRL?
Fancy joining us for another on the road collab!

Big thanks to Toni for taking time out of her busy time table, please if you have time and money go to her crowdfunder campaign and support her as its such a great and needed project for these times.

Here’s the links to her websites…

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/shows-on-the-road

https://www.thesocialsociety.org.uk

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