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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

THE WEIRD WEEKEND: Change of Venue

Dear Friends,

There is good and bad news.

The bad news is that we are no longer holding this year’s Weird Weekend in Woolsery. The good news, is that we have found another venue for this year's event, and hopefully for many years to come: The Small School in Hartland.

I have had a lot of emails and telephone calls about the decisions by the Woolsery Community Hall Committee which have led to our leaving. A lot of people appear to be quite angry about what has happened. We would like to say, that whilst we don’t agree with their decisions, they were quite within their rights to make them, and we respect that right. We are sad to move the event away from Woolsery, but by doing so we are supporting the Small School in Hartland even more, and this was – after all – the thing which started off all the problems with the Community Centre in the first place.

From the Small School website:

 “The Small School was founded in 1982 by Satish Kumar and other parents living in an isolated rural community in an economically-deprived area of South West England.   The nearest state secondary school, with almost 2,000 students, was 13 miles away, involving 2 hours travelling a day by bus.  This pioneering group, most of whose children had been educated in small village primary schools, wished to show that secondary education, too, could be modelled on the family, rather than the factory, and based in the local community.

   The school is in the centre of Hartland in the old church hall and at the heart of the community At the rear of the school we have a vegetable garden that is maintained by the students and the food produced is used for the cooked lunches. As a school we aspire to a greener future and we are constantly looking at ways to be more environmentally friendly. As a school we recycle and source all our produce (if it's not already growing in the garden) from the local farm shop in Hartland. By doing this we are not only supporting local businesses but also cutting down on food miles.

  The school serves vegetarian food and other dietary requirements are also catered for. A different parent volunteers to cook the lunch each day and a rota of students help out in the kitchen too. All students attend a Level 2 Food Safety course in order to prepare for the kitchen work. Students also take responsibility for the cleaning of the buildings at the end of the day”.

The Small School is not as large as the Woolsery Community Centre, but we believe that there is plenty of room for our needs. There will be a bar and a restaurant, and profits from both will go to the School itself. However, because we are sad to be leaving Woolsery, we shall be making our customary donation to Woolsery charities.

This is a new beginning, and we hope that in future years the event will grow and that we shall be able to involve our friends across North Devon and make this a truly community event which shall carry on for years.

There will be changes, but as any ecologist will tell you, without change, systems go stagnant, and I would hate that to happen to something to which I have given my heart and soul over the past fifteen years.

We shall be running a shuttle service for anyone who is booked into a Woolsery B&B who doesn’t have their own transport, and will be uploading a list of accommodation and campsites in Hartland over the next few days…

Onwards and Upwards

Jon Downes


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