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, I have worked as a Theatre Director and Dramatherapist, a workshop leader, 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 25 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).
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.
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…
Founder / Creative Director
Even though it’s still so new, I feel as if the concept of The Patch has been part of my life for many, many years now. Academically I have collected a number of degrees, MAs and professional training over the last 25 years, and worked in a wide variety of settings from the HR department of a City corporation, developing creative education plans for looked after children in residential care, designing community theatre for ATG theatre group, and working with the education sector to support teachers to bring creativity back into their classrooms (and to open their classrooms to the concept of outside learning).
But as I reflect back on all of this, I realise that at the heart of all of these experiences was my desire to connect with others, to play and use creativity for good and powerful things, to go on adventures and take people to places that they didn’t think possible. My personal experiences have shown me that life is too short for regrets, and I have had the pleasure of meeting some amazing characters on my journey so far, (some of whom are still standing beside me on this adventure today) who have given me the courage to have a go, dream big and not only think outside the box, but climb right out of it too, and spend the day playing under the wide open sky...