Practical Skills Training
Practical skills training has great benefit to any person, their community and the wider environment. We empower ourselves by learning and teaching practical skills. With these skills we create working examples of sustainable living and livelihoods as a direct demonstration of what can be done. There are two parts:
Part One: Working with community council wards who are interested in managing their public spaces using local resources, skilled labour from the community and the omission and reduction of fossil fuels. In February 2018 we began working with Bishopston Community Council. We delivered hedgelaying workshops which used local hazel in the council’s woodland for the stakes and etherings. We also identified Mansel Green as a prime site to rejuvenate as a coppice and parkland to provide materials for the local community. We began in February 2019 by planting hundreds of trees. To get involved please see Coming Events
We hold regular hedgelaying and hedgerow renovation workshops, dates are posted on the Coming Events page and facebook.
Part Two: Working with Community Councils, local conservation organisations and community groups to facilitate and organise practical conservation camps on public land. Linked to a portable skills school working in the Gower and the Welsh valleys. This is inspired by the original Civilian Conservation Corps, one of the most popular and successful New Deal projects and still referred to as a period of new environmentalism in the US. From 1933-42 3 million enrollees signed up to living in rural camps and carrying out emergency conservation work. https://climateandcommunity.org.uk/climate-and-community/
Willow Craft Community Project
We are inviting the community to join a willow craft community, a team of volunteers who are interested in learning basketry skills and annually cutting a basketry willow bed.
The learning programme will include:
- Basketry willow planting in February/March, a 12mx 12m plot will be planted up on Mansel Green, Bishopston by volunteers. This will highlight the benefits of the willow habitat. It will involve ground preparation and the laying down of plastic mulch and planting over 28 varieties of basketry willow.
- May-September basketry skills sessions will be organised, an instructor will teach volunteers. This will start building up skills to use the growing willow. Please see Coming Events
- September-December further basketry skills sessions will be delivered by instructors for volunteers to progress their skills.
- November-January harvest the willow beds, grade and store in the shed.
- Final celebration volunteers will build a drying shed in the church hall grounds for the willow harvest and make willow panels for walls.This will happen over a ‘shed raising’ weekend.
The intended outcome is to build the resources for a willow craft community who will maintain and cut the willow bed every year and help use the material to learn the craft and to pass on the skills to new members. The aim is to create opportunities for people to talk about themselves and their environmental concerns, make friends and organise other events in the community that promote the craft and education on sustainability and climate change e.g. litter picking, plastic free communities, organising conservation camps, climate education, addressing loneliness and learning to cooperate.
The plantation will be in Bishopston a village which has a willow growing heritage, where willow was grown and basket makers made cockle baskets for the Penclawdd sea food industry. So underlying themes will be:
- The history and cultural context of willow basketry in the local area and wider UK context.
- The importance of using natural containers as opposed to plastic containers derived from fossil fuels.
- The importance of willow basketry as an example of a sustainable livelihood and its importance in sustainable living.
Personal Development Training
We are developing workshops to improve community members self esteem, assertiveness and dealing with gender issues and stereo types. Healthy communication and cooperation are essential in any community project being effective in the long term. This quote summarises the importance of personal development training in any community project.
“How can an individual or an organisation be truly effective if some part of its available energy is used up in either anger or repressive behaviour? How much time is wasted on community schemes that are launched with good intentions, but whither because no one wanted to say they didn’t agree with the purpose or process?” – Deborah Smith
What is an assertive response? Will it make a positive difference to my life. What are the personal tools and understandings needed to change the way I express my opinions or feelings? These are all valid questions that can be answered in an assertiveness workshop. The purpose is to improve a person’s happiness and well being through unlocking their emotions and encourage honest communication.
Learning Out of Context (LOOC) Workshops
What are the gender stereotypes? What dictates the stereotypes? Why are they a problem? How do they influence the way we act? The purpose of this workshop is to use role play to explore our culturally expected gender behaviour and look at how this limits our ability to work together with both male and females in an equal way. Taking particular attention to societal problems we are facing such as Climate Change.
TACLU! Litter Pickers Hub
Taclu means ‘tidy’ in Welsh and sums up what it is about: cleaning up our public places and feeling good in the process. Dumped rubbish, general litter and fly tipping are a visual image of what the bigger problem is: the need for us to take more care of our shared environment. This project is about helping people to work together for change.
The ‘Litter Pickers Hub’ is a Land Rover and trailer with a small shelter, toilet, refreshments, seating, safety and welfare kit. It can pop up anywhere it is needed in south Wales.
We are open to Invitations! Please get in touch with suggestions of places where there is a rubbish problem, we may be able to visit your community with the hub. Go to the Contact Us page.
We need You!
We need volunteer litter pickers, there will always be more ways to get involved than just litter picking. Personally you will get a bucket load of fulfilment from doing constructive work together with others. Publicly the cleared areas will be clean and observable by all. We will take the opportunity to talk and recruit interested residents for events further in the future; this may be a whole range of educational, practical skills or personal development workshops.
There will be tea and coffee with a place to sit, relax and chat with friends