Our Last Trimester Newsletter
Greetings from the valley of Corris.
What have we been up to recently?
December 2018 to February 2019 (with a little peek into March) have been a tremendous period of togetherness, love and so many wonderful development activities within Braich Goch.
HeArt & Dreams Creative Learning
We are delivering a series training workshops to offer the wider public on Participatory Action Research and participatory methods pulling together our diverse range of knowledge and tools we have gathered through our collective experience of working with communities in the UK and abroad, these methods are underpinned by the PAR principles and philosophy. Our first workshop was delivered in February. From participant’s Feedback we gather that this was a successes, It was also provided some learning for us and brought us opportunities to collaborate on future projects. Our next 2 day workshop is in May 24th to 25th - Please spread the word. Here is what some of the participants said:
"Thank you so much for a truly beautiful time. I feel so Happy to have made new friends, I loved the course content, It has been inspiring and motivational, plus I look forward to keep learning... "
"Thank you - very inspirational and creative sharing, very hopeful and insightful..."
"Thank you for Fun and Learning and Radical Research...more to be getting along with... See you soon! Love, Peace and Action!"
BG-RA & AMT team (walks)
Events, Networking and Partnerships
We started the cold month of December with a heartwarming event organised by the London Friends of Braich Goch end of year fundraiser party. More than 60 people gathered to celebrate Ros’ life, (our co-founder, dear friend and comrade who sadly passed away last year). We had a lovely night with beautiful folk music and Colombian cumbia, delicious food cooked and donated by volunteers, an auction that included works of art and holiday packages. Beautiful cards were created from Ros’ artwork, which were also sold during the evening. A total of £2000 was raised and we all had an amazing night. Thank you London Friends of Braich Goch!!
We recently hosted the Ann Matthew Trust’s (AMT) trustees and the Braich Goch Team met at our base in the Corris village. The AMT trustees are a bunch of individual all connected to the work and life of Ros Norton. They have been entrusted to create and manage the charity organisation that will have full ownership of the actual building of Braich Goch and make sure that the aims, objectives and values are always at the centre of what is done by whoever inhabits the building, whether is Braich Goch-Red Arm CIC, or anyone else. This was our second organisational meeting.
People's Kitchen Fundraising event
For us it was a very important meeting as big part of it was about relationship building, something that is central to our values and the way we worked. We went for a long walk up the mountain directly above the Corris village, a challenging walk at firsts, as it was very steep, perhaps representing our collective journey at the moment in the setting up of this collective dream. As we descended on the valley of Aberllefenni, many conversations were happening among the hikers; conversations about our private lives, the worked we do for a living, our dreams, the current political climate and of course, Participatory Action Research.
The sessions in the house went from collective cooking, games, singing and a visit to the local pub. Our most structured space in this residential involved reporting on the worked being done by both parties in the last few months, as well as, the immediate needs of the house. We have identified several areas that we need urgent attention, such as sections of roofs and some minor electrical problems. We talked about fundraising strategies and shared out jobs; we have a collective working plan for the both organisations and our partnership for the next few months, as we await response from charity commission on the status of the AMT. In general we all believe that we created genuine emphatic rapport between the two parties and this is the beginning of a lengthy relationship, we hope. Thank you AMT!!
Braich Goch has opened its space to host our drumming circle collective, we have had two drumming circles; one at the end of February and one at the beginning of March, with a total participation of 18 local people so far from all ages. This initiative came about as a suggestion and request by our friend Gareth, who was involved in the Friends of Braich Goch Mid-Wales fundraising event in Machynlleth. We are learning Afro-Latin beats: Cumbia, Guaguanco, samba, among others. It has been proposed and we want to fuse these rhythms with Celtic folk music. The drumming circle aims to support local activist’s initiatives as the local Extinction Rebellion group with marches and demonstration, as well as, being a space for letting go and just bang a drum. The drumming circle will continue to meet every Friday from 18.30 – 20.30.
HeArts & Dreams Creative Learning / day 2
Organising Ourselves and Our intentions for the year
We had a very productive team residential at Braich Goch facilitated by Dr Jasper Singh working on conflict resolution strategies: our rituals for decision making and working together (procedures and protocols). This was very useful and important for us, as we are learning how to work together in this new Braich Goch venture. This process facilitated a space for the team to deal with internal conflicts and foster clear honest dialogue and communication between us. This is an ongoing strategy; we agreed to engage in the process for the next six months.
At the beginning of this year, we held a team residential and created our yearly work plan, which is helping us in directing our work. We agreed on working on a Participatory Action Research (PAR) project that examines the causes and effects of Brexit and post-Brexit in disadvantaged communities, including those of people from migrant and refugee backgrounds. The project has an initial phase of research to generate themes that later in the year, through a process of laboratory theatre will inform the creation of multidisciplinary performance piece that invites audiences to dialogue about this complex issue.
As an important part of our work plan, we are pleased to initiate and support the running of a peer-led Youth-led research steering group for a local young people that a) looks at what is happening for young people in the area, and b) creates a youth-led group. We aim for this to become a youth-led project. BG will facilitate space, resources and participatory research methods for the group to make things happen, the young people agreed to keep meeting on Thursday evenings at BG and bring along others. We have a substantial amount of time dedicated to fundraising; we started working on the Arts Council, Lush Foundation, Greggs Foundation and Paul Hamlyn funding bids.
HeArts & Dreams Creative Learning / day 1
Drumming session / BG-RA
We are currently revising and shaping our policies for our everyday operational activities; including safeguarding and are working on finalising our premise license application to be advertised in the local paper for public knowledge.
The end of 2018 saw families come together at BG for our Christmas/end of year gathering. Several families and people from the network came together from around the UK from 8 different nationalities including: Guinea, Nigerian, Pakistani, British, Welsh, Colombian, Ecuadorian and Somali, over 30 people came through BG during December.
Five families from multi faith backgrounds sat down to share an amazing meal for our end of season dinner on the 25th December.
Some of our friends living locally agreed to support us by creating a Mid-Wales Friends of Braich Goch group spearheaded by our wonderful local volunteers Dora , Jack, Rosie and Richard. In February they organised a People’s Kitchen fundraising event. A wonderful and delicious meal was cooked at the local Quarry Café in Machynlleth where around 50 people gathered to share food and hear about the work being conducted at BG, £272 was raised, thank you Mid-Wales Friends of Braich Goch!!
We had volunteers from London, Hull and the local area come together for a wonderful communal work day at BG. We cleared both gardens and prepared our vegetable beds with compost produced on site. We also planted local wild plumbs; which have now sprouted!! We are now ready to start our planting season. We also supported a local neighbour with their garden upkeep. We finished the week by completing a circular walk up Cadir Idris and now feel confident with guiding people there for future walks.
The Winch Project / Residential at Braich Goch
Other users of the Space
The months of January and February were hectic, with hosting four days Co-Counselling Course (two in January and two days in February). A young people’s residential from The Winch Project in north London. This is a group of young participatory action researchers working around the issues of youth violence; they were here conducting a youth participatory evaluation of their own work. It was a pleasure to see BG so busy with so many people working on different issues that really matter to our communities.
We have had two local organisations use the Braich Goch to deliver their own training, one was Bike Corris; the people who run the mountain bike tracks in the area, they did their first aid training here. And the Public Interest Research Centre (PIRC) approached us to host a four-day co-counselling session, two of which happened this month.
We also started our outreach programme in Brighton, Hull, Leeds, and Bristol. We connected with people doing amazing work such as the 1000 for 1000 project supporting homeless people in Brighton and running several initiatives for people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.
Looking after the Space
We have been worked on getting the place up to date with safety regulations including fire and electrical requirements. Braich Goch is now fully checked and has passed all of its fire and safety requirements. Our battle against the rhododendron is a continuous endeavour, but we have managed to clear it off the back of the house! The BG land management work is a continuous job.