So, this month, we are at last (after 3 years) getting to fulfil our hope of trying to change the world (a bit). Its the thing that brought us to Pickwell and the thing we find ourselves dreaming about more than anything else.
So the first week of November we had a group who came to dialogue all about social enterprise. Its a subject close to Steve's heart so he had quite a lot to do with the hosting and facilitating through the week, along with his brother Jonny (who put the course together) and Shannon (who has a social enterprise herself and made the week happen).
The group came from London, the Midlands, Kent and Tunisia! Their ideas for social change were as wide ranging as someone wanting to mentor disillusioned young people into a career that will last, through to a very dynamic woman whose mission is to end female genital mutilation in 26 countries!!! Having met her, i actually believe she could do it too.
Through the week they had some general teaching and split into groups to focus on one particular enterprise, examine its mission, vision and values and come up with a short and medium term strategy for its launch.
They had rest time too and really enjoyed our beaches. I joined them for a couple of these times and the conversations simply continued. It was inspiring to be around them.
Steve invited up a couple of local friends on different evenings to share with the group about their own social enterprises. This is Brendan. Brendan and his wife Sarah run Sandleigh Tea Rooms on Baggy Point in Croyde (5 minutes from here). I have blogged about Sandleigh before as its one of our favourite places for a cream tea. It was fascinating to hear about their vision behind their business.
When Brendan was a child he lived in a rural village near Oxford. He spent his childhood playing outside with all the local children, swimming in the streams and generally not being home from dawn to dusk. It sounded idyllic. He left the village and returned when he was in his 20's. When he went back he was shocked to find there were literally no children there. The play park had been dismantled and the areas they had played in had fallen into disrepair. It was as if the soul had been ripped out of the place.
Years later, after much hard work and patience, Brendan and Sarah were given Sandleigh. They run it as a community garden and tea room. The plots they gave away for free to local families with a caveat that if they get a bumper crop of something that they give some to the cafe.
Sarah is the brains behind the cafe and she has made it so atmospheric and the locally sourced food is delicious. They have only been running it for two years but already they have managed to employ a full-time baker for their bread. Their sudden success has taken them by surprise.
They are passionate about community and passionate about raising their children to experience the type of childhood they remember for themselves. Well, they are doing it, and doing it extremely well.
We hope that all those who came on the course can go home and put to good use all that they have learnt here. We very much look forward to hearing their stories as they unfold x