By the end of March 2020, The Space On Main (The Space) was expected to reach 10,000 visitors within the first 18 months of being open. By February, The Space had been visited by an average of 536 people per month and over 8,840 people total. Due to Covid-19, The Space was forced to close its doors March through June. It reopened to individual use in June. With 100% loss of income March through June, and 66% loss of income from June until present day, The Space’s future has been uncertain. Because The Space is 100% volunteer run, we have not qualified for State or Federal CARES opportunities. Thanks to generous support from community members in Bradford and beyond, The Space On Main has continued operating and plans to do so as long as possible.
Despite Covid-19 interfering with activities, The Space On Main has continued to provide opportunities to Bradford and area residents in 2020 including:
- REACT UV Business Accelerator & 10-Week Business Planning Course with the Center for Women & Enterprise led 23 entrepreneurs from business idea to business plan completion;
- Entrepreneur Stories panel series interviewed 30 local small business owners;
- Citizens’ Academy interviewed over 50 local leaders in a forum setting for people to learn how to engage in local leadership opportunities;
- Monthly leadership workshops hosted by Doug Teschner of Growing Leadership, LLC, including how to lead during times of crisis;
- Code for UV (a Code for America Brigade) has been working diligently on developing technical solutions to local problems including a directory application mapping out local food resources for Little Rivers Health Care and an application to assist with mapping out broadband usage for justifying local need.
The Space On Main provided leadership for Bradford and the surrounding area during Covid-19 in countless ways. Some examples of leadership included: hosting webinars to help people learn remote collaboration tools such as Slack & Zoom; co-hosting a webinar with the University of Washington to teach librarians how to move offerings online; hosting several “just for fun” events to let people connect and play together; hosting a series of literary-focused events highlighting local storytellers, musicians, actors, etc.; supporting Catamount Film & Arts and SOCAPA School of Creative & Performing Arts on their 72 Hour Youth Film Festival via Zoom & YouTube; hosting a volunteer training webinar for Willing Hands & Little Rivers Health Care; providing pro Zoom access to community groups for online meetings such as Bradford Planning Commission, Cohase Chamber of Commerce, Newbury REDI, and Bradford Business Association; providing pro Zoom access and facilitation of community school board outreach events, political candidate forums, and special town meetings; opening a Free Community WiFi network up for people who needed access for work/school, and hosting Free AARP Tax Assistance twice per week.
The Space On Main represented Bradford in meetings with Upper Valley Strong; coordinated regional community organizer calls with Fairlee, West Fairlee, Newbury, Groton, Chelsea, Corinth, Topsham, Ryegate, and Vershire; participated on economic recovery calls with Vital Communities; served on a state-wide advisory team with the Vermont Council on Rural Development to help towns navigate recovery efforts; and attended and led sessions with Town Hall Project & AARP Connected Communities to help with tech tool training to support Mutual Aid efforts across the United States.
As we enter 2021, we continue to support remote workers and local economic/community development efforts. We are busy applying for grants in order to complete our makerspace and to bring full-time business acceleration and incubation services to Bradford. We are continuing to develop our partner network in order to bring additional regional, state, and federal resources to Main Street. If you would like to become a member or get involved, please do not hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more, visit thespaceonmain.org.