As a mum to three children, my hope for them is that grow up to be happy, healthy, fulfilled and creative. Not in the sense that they will be artists or musicians, but in the sense that when they face a problem, they will embrace the challenge, think creatively to find a solution and have the skills to be able to solve it. Working alone, asking someone for help or collaborating to find a solution.
I hope they will meet lots of dynamic and thought provoking people along their journey, people who will inspire them to try new things, people who will share stories of their lives and introduce them to different perspectives, and people who will listen to and be inspired by their ideas.
I hope their childhood lasts long into their later years, and that they always remember how to play. These are the basic principles upon which The Patch…a thoughtful place to be, was created.
In my professional life, since 2001, I have worked as a Theatre Director and Dramatherapist, an outdoors learning facilitator, an alternative education practitioner, and more recently as a consultant of creativity for learning and wellbeing.
It is my belief that as adults we need to take a great responsibility in the way we educate, inspire and nurture our children. From the words we choose to speak, to the possibilities that we offer, and the way that we help our children to navigate their way through their lives and to make sense of the world around them.
My experiences over the last 20 years have shown me that creativity, playfulness and storytelling are key tools in the emotional and psychological wellbeing of our children, building confidence, self-awareness, empathy, problem solving, communication skills and collaboration; all skills that are vital to the development of a happy, healthy, motivated and creative being.
My vision for The Patch is a welcoming, nurturing and creative space that offers a place for exploration, for connection, and for the development of endless possibilities.
The Patch is an invitation for all ages to step into a thoughtful, meaningful and inclusive space where they can find freedom and purpose, stillness and vibrancy, an individual opportunity for time out from a busy life; to get lost in an activity or just find a place to sit and reflect, as well as an invitation to get involved, to become a part of something, and to find connections with others.
Behind all of the offerings here at The Patch is a depth of thought, planning and creativity. The setting of intentions and the actualization of these intentions gives The Patch a powerful presence. These intentions include inspiring creativity, offering support, developing acceptance and of imagining the most extraordinary of possibilities. In essence trying to encapsulate all that makes us feel warm and safe and loved & fulfilled and inspired and connected, and wrapping that up into a bundle and laying it out across an acre of beautiful countryside!!
If I had to sum up in one word what the heart of that offering is, its storytelling...
Sharing the stories of our lives, creating stories from our imagination and using storytelling to take us to places where we might just discover a new world waiting for us… giving permission for stories to be heard, to create a space for stories that celebrate and encourage, for stories that combat loneliness and reduce anxieties, and for stories to inspire change and fulfilment in our lives.
I have worked with stories for many years, as a theatre director, educator, therapist, and in my own personal process. Out of those experiences I have formed the opinion that in order to connect with people so that they feel able to tell their stories, we firstly have to create an environment where it feels easy to be able to share. Even the hardest of things, because the environment has been set up that maybe you don't even know that you're about to tell your story and it just tumbles out. That might be through a child building a Lego creation. It might be through a breath or a movement in a yoga session that just allows a feeling, or a moment to escape or to be inhaled. It might be through the metaphor of a character or of a dream or a vision that can be enacted through small world play or embodiment through role-play. It might be through creating a visual image, through the power of song or music or collaboration, or just being free to make noise.
By providing a space that nurtures our well-being, allows us the freedom to be creative and gives us space to honour our stories, then we can encourage those around us to embrace their stories too.
Now that the spaces at The Patch have been created, and there are invitations across the site for all kinds of engagement (from digging in the earth, to sitting round a campfire, to exploring and painting and playing), the next step is to build a team who can develop The Patch into a vibrant community space.
The future of The Patch is very exciting. I have spent the summer creating a wonderful team of extraordinary facilitators, artists and creators. It is our collective vision that now presents itself in our Autumn Offering.
Our facilitation strives to find a balance of friendliness and welcoming warmth, of support, kindness and gentle encouragement, alongside a dynamic energy that fills you with confidence and inspires and encourages you to embrace the opportunities on offer.
These intentions have been set out in a document that we are calling The Patch Promise.
In the near future we will also be introducing Patch Membership, an opportunity for your family to join us as and help shape the future of The Patch. From working weekends and special membership events, to private hire opportunities, skill sharing events and campfire catch-ups.
Thank you for your support of The Patch so far, and I wholeheartedly welcome you to be a big part of its future…
Looking forward to seeing you at The Patch again soon…