So 2016 started quite similarly to 2014 with a new baby in the house. I was fortunate enough that when agreeing to take the job at Axon Vibe I’d had the foresight to request that, in the event that we had another baby, I’d be able to take a 3 month extended parental leave (unpaid). I was so glad I’d done that as it meant I could be much more involved in Ethan’s early days and also give Evie some much needed attention too.
Although I’d been freelance when we’d had Evie, so in theory was more in control of my time, I was also more worried about what money was coming in. Although my extended leave was unpaid I did have the security of knowing I had a well-paid job to go back to. I’m definitely a supporter of extended parental leave, ideally paid, and was able to put this into practice when DoES Liverpool’s admin guy, Seán, had a child last year. We agreed to give him a month’s paid leave rather than the statutory minimum. Obviously as he’s a part-time worker the cost was less to DoES than it might have been for a full-time person, and a month is still a lot less than we would have to give for maternity leave but I did want to make sure we did more than the minimum and was glad that the other directors of DoES agreed.
Someone's chuffed to be a whole 2 months old! pic.twitter.com/MCmV3wEV5n— John McKerrell (@mcknut) February 3, 2016
Looking back it seems like DoES Liverpool’s search for a new home began in earnest around March 2016. We looked at a few places around Bold Street and the Ropewalks, found a reasonable candidate on Victoria Street but then found what we thought could be a great option near the Ship & Mitre pub off Dale Street. It was actually quite a large building, at 8000 square foot over 4 floors, but we were hoping that we might sublet out reasonably large portions of it to other businesses. We took the community on a series of visits and spent some time working out whether we would be able to afford it, but in the end the owners decided to rent it to a charity that they were involved with so it slipped out of our grasp. Following this we got a little jaded and as far as I can recall didn’t really do much more searching until 2017.
I took Evie to MakeFest in the Central Library in Liverpool in June. It was nice to have a day out just her and me and she seemed to find it interesting, though was a bit nervous of some of the costumes from the Comic Con attendees who were wandering around! Makefest is a great showcase of “making” in Liverpool and beyond and has lots of interesting workshops. They’re actually planning for this year’s event so if you’re interested in exhibiting you should definitely sign up. (ahaha! yeah I started writing this in January 2018 so we’ve had two Makefest’s since)
Jumping to the end of the year we finally come across one of the projects that I wanted to blog about, that triggered me starting on the whole “Year Notes” process! I laser cut some Christmas presents for the kids. It was quite a labour of love taking quite a while to prepare for (given I could only really work on it for minutes each evening) but I was very pleased with how they turned out… for more detail on that see this follow up blog post.