by Author Jamming Station

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Where is The Mill?

Where is The Mill?

When folks ask, 'Where's The Mill?' It’s like we're sharing one of Totnes' best-kept secrets. So, when we point them to the 'cool 17th-century spot with a working water wheel right next to the massive Morrisons car park—the one you pass by all the time.' They always get it then!

Jamming Station is creating a music and cultural hub that puts young people at its heart enabling them to grow in confidence and step into their community.

Moving into the 17th-century Totnes Town Mill in 2022 was a game-changer for us. Every week, 75 young individuals now flock to the building for music and education, while a total of 120 people grace its historic halls. The opportunity to operate our programs in such a stylish and richly historic setting feels like an incredible stroke of luck

However, this wonderful home for our venture unfortunately does come at an enormous cost. The past financial year alone saw us channelling 50% of our income into The Mill, and countless hours of time and energy has been invested. From door locks to fire safety measures, electrical upgrades to security systems, the list of necessary improvements seemed endless. Managing the building has become a significant focus, with nearly every meeting consumed by its upkeep instead of being able to focus purely on the music. Despite the exhaustion, being there remains a huge privilege; that we don’t forget. Thankfully, our organisation is maturing rapidly, and we are learning to navigate the responsibilities and risks associated with such a monumental task.

We're hopeful that our efforts will not only benefit the Jamming Station community but also enrich Totnes as a whole for years to come.

Still, even with the additional workload, we remain committed to our core ethos:  empowering young people through music. Everything we do is aligned with this mission, it is at the very heart of it all. It has meant that physical infrastructure and maintenance has become an integral part of the process- after all, our home plays a crucial role in facilitating, fulfilling our ethos and serving our community. 

With the keys to our beautiful home in hand, we get to witness the profound impact it has on the faces of the young people who join us. They not only feel welcomed and safe, but also at home, a part of our vibrant community. 

As they observe us tirelessly working behind the scenes, and see us designing and adding to it for them, we hope they'll gain a deeper appreciation for the effort that has gone into making The Mill ours. Ultimately, our goal is to empower them and provide insight into what it takes to operate a successful social enterprise. They are currently experiencing Jamming Station history in the making, and that has been inspiring for all of us. 

This wouldn't be possible without our community! 

Along the way, we've learned that our community support is essential. Currently, we have six bands, a choir, and an independent school for those aged 16 and over using our building each week, alongside our regular Core Band Sessions. We also receive numerous enquiries for new hires every week. We carefully review these enquiries, looking for suitable partners who share our passion for empowering young people. We see these relationships as partnerships that align with our values, expanding our offerings for the community. The funds we receive go towards covering overheads and core costs that support the essentials to our operation. 

“I hired the space for a wellbeing event for mothers and it was fantastic - just what we wanted. Great communication, great rate and lovely space.”

This springtime we will be launching a crowdfunding campaign which offers benefits, eg. hiring The Mill for a party, workshop space or an ‘away day’ for a local business, amongst other things. The money we raise will develop the space as an improved performance space, and with a recording studio amongst other things, if we can raise enough.

We’ll update this article with the link once it goes live.

Since we’ve been here at The Mill, we have certainly put The Mill on the map as a thriving hub for young people. With our next stage, including an upgrade to the equipment and resources we have, we feel it will have even more kudos in town.

We want to take this moment to thank Youth Music for the Recharge Grant support we have received during these few crucial years, enabling us to build the foundations of a small but beautiful business model that involves the community and holds young people and music at its heart.