‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍© 2018 The Ringsfield Hall Trust

Ringsfield Hall, Hall Road, ‍‍‍Beccles, Suffolk, NR34 8JR           UK Reg. Charity 1093404, Charitable Co. 4222560

‍‍‍‍‍‍Roots & Branches Festival is a collaborative community event hosted by Ringsfield H‍‍‍all EcoActivity Centre




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Friday 15th June 2‍‍‍018

Arrive, relax and enjoy your surroundings in the woods and meadows of Ringsfield Hall, or take part in a tour with plant lore and foraging: Explore the richness and variety of plants and trees, forage for edible plants and make teas on an open fire.  Learning about trees, plants and their uses is empowering and grounding, connecting us to the natural world and nurturing a sense of belonging.

Arrive from 2p‍‍‍m

Welcome to the Festival, with an introduction to the Art of Hosting approach, which we'll be using to facilitate our conv‍‍‍ersations and kick start participation and sharing.  


Opening keynote from Pam Warhurst CBE (Incredible Edible)

Back in 2007, Pam and a number of others wondered how they could mobilise people to help improve their own commu‍‍‍nity in Todmorden.  The answer was food!  Starting with small herb gardens and community plots, Incredible Edible went on to back campaigns, support businesses and back the creation of learning centres, and their ideas h‍‍‍ave gone national and international.  Pam's TED talk was well received for her energy and enthusiasm, and we have the privilege of having her here for our opening night.


Food!  Join our communal supper and meet new friends.


After Hours: kick back, relax and continue the conversation - ‍‍‍campfires, acoustic music from funtime band The He Hews, and great ales in the Tavern.


Lights out for thos‍‍‍e that need it!


Early Bird Activity:   'Sit Spot' Activity: offers time and a safe, held space to sit within the natural world, surrounded by the sounds, smells and the elem‍‍‍ents where you can reach out and touch the earth and explore your connection to the natural world.  This enhances a sense of self and place and contributes to a feeling of wellbeing.


Buffet Breakfast


'Now For Som‍‍‍ething Completely Different' Part 2


Saturday 16th June‍‍‍ 2018

Workshop Session 1: We have two different streams to choose from.

Case Studies: a chance to learn from experienced practitioners of community initiatives, and an opportunity to delve into their successes and challenges.  

Tool-Kit Sessions in which you can learn new skills and how to apply them.

Case Study 1:  Infrastructures for Peace Project, Morecambe Bay.

A grass-roots coalition of local people have collaborated together away from the usual political or bureaucratic process in order to build a more connected community: one that works for 'positive peace' and asks 'what does it mean for us to work together to create a truly healthy society?'.  Dr Roger Mitchell is associated with the Richardson Institute for Peace at Lancaster University, and he will share the theory and practice of this innovative approach.

Case Study 2:   The Missing Kind, Norwich

A young volunteer-led charity that exists to put the kindness back into life, with a mission to create projects (national and international) that put kindness first.  They've already developed and supported self-sustaining social enterprises, such as Norwich's KindaKafe and Shop, and have established an eco-village in Wales, but the scope of their vision is so much bigger.

Tool Kit:  'Designing for Wiser Action'

Do you have a project idea that needs developing?  Are you feeling stuck?  'Designing for Wiser Action' is an excellent Art of Hosting activity that helps grow and develop an existing or intended project idea.  Bring an idea of your own (or come alo‍‍‍ng to learn the technique) and work collaboratively with a small group of people to supportively investigate, interrogate and develop your Next Big Thing.‍‍‍


Refreshment Space:  Mingling & Chatting, with the option of an Earth Walk that integrates a dramatic telling‍‍‍ of  'The Lorax' by The Onceler.


More food!  Enjoy a communal lunch with more new friends


Workshop Session 2: choose between a Case Study of a community initiative or a “Tool-Kit” session learning new skills and applications.  

Case Study 1: Beccles Lido

Shaun Crowley and Graham Elliott share the story of taking ownership of a community asset from the council and making it successful.  Beccles Lido Limited is a community-run charity who reopened the Lido in 2010.  Since that time it has been developed through fundraising, donations and grants and the support of the community; it's also been voted one of the top 50 things to do in Suffolk!

Tool Kit:‍‍‍‍‍‍  Navig‍‍‍ating Local Politics‍‍

Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw is currently the Mayor of Beccles and a County Councillor; she is also the Green Party's prospective parliamentary candidate.  Whether you want to hear more about how local politics works, are keen to know how to navigate local systems to ensure your projects get support, or are interested in getting involved yourself, Elfrede is a young dynamic community-focused activist whose story and experiences are worth hearing.  

Tool Kit:  Can we power a town with 100% renewable energy?!

Using real life data and examples in this interactive session, we'll assess where our energy comes from, how much could be saved, and how much can be generated from renewable energy flows rooted in the local landscape.  We'll then look very practically at how communities and local authorities around the country are building a new energy system from the grassroots up through social enterprises and cooperatives.  John Taylor is the Community Energy Advisor for the Suffolk Climate Change Partnership and co-founder of the social enterprise Sunrise Energy.  He lives in Ipswich and studied renewable energy and architecture with the Centre for Alternative Technology.


Tea, Coff‍‍‍ee and Refreshments before the Workshop


'No‍‍‍w For Something Completely Different' Part 3


Evening Meal: gather outside for Oak Fired Pizzas and more.


Performance by Ewan McLennan

Enjoy a truly intimate setting as mid-summer approaches and singer-songwriter Ewan draws you in with his combination of beautiful voice, guitar and powe‍‍‍rful lyrics.  You may know Ewan’s name from his 2016 tour 'Breaking the Spell of Loneliness' with journalist‍‍‍ George Monbiot: Breaking the Spell of Loneliness doesn’t merely tackle the issues raised, it offers solutions; it offers hope. It’s a moving, thought-provoking work that has relevance for all of us.’


After Hours:  kick back, relax and continue the conversation - campfires, good chat, and great ales in the Tavern.


Lights out for those that need it!


Sunday 17th Jun‍‍‍e 2018‍‍‍

Early Bird Activity:  Viewing Party. This Earth Education experience is borrowed from Japan, where people are invited for a ‍‍‍special viewing of a single flower reaching the peak of its bloom, or perhaps a tree losing its blossoms.  A Viewing Party helps to get away from all the words and to feel the earth and its life on a different level.  Join us for a glass of plum wine and a communal silent viewing of the natural world in all its richness, if we only slow down enough and have the eyes to see.


Buffet Breakfast


Workshop Session 3:  

Case Study 1:  Hodmedod’s: Sowing Small Seeds

Josiah Meldrum tells the story of developing ‍‍an award-winning small company (BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme Food Producer of the Year) from small, but ambitious, beginnings, rooted in sustainabil‍‍‍ity and community.  Hodmedod's forges new markets for British pulses and grains, working with British farmers using fair and sustainable methods of production.

Case Study 2: Pathways Care Farm

Hear from Geoff Stevens about how a small group of people set up an inspirational community care farm on an abandoned 13 acre farm in North Suffolk to support people in need.  In a short space of time, and with few resources, they created an incredibly successful model of transformation for a range of vulnerable people.

Tool Kit:  'Designing for Wiser Action'  Do you have a project idea that needs developing?  Are you feeling stuck?  'Designing for Wiser Action' is an excellent Art of Hosting activity that helps grow and develop an existing or intended project idea.  Bring an idea of your own (or come along to learn the technique) and work collaboratively with a small group of people to supportively investigate, interrogate and develop your Next Big Thing.


'Coming Together' Session to pull together strands, themes and ideas sparked over the weekend, and to start plotting the future.


'Now For Something Completely Different' Grand Finale!  Be astounded by what you've created in a short time!


Farewell Buffet‍‍‍ Lunch‍‍‍


Goodbye and kee‍‍‍p in touch


'Now For Something Completely Different':  learn a brand new skill with facilitator Michael Ormiston with fellow festival-goers and be amazed and what you can achieve collectively in a short space of time... be prepared to try something a bit different.



World Cafe:  World Café got its name because it imitates a café setting where small groups (4 or 5 people) converse together around tables, and is an ideal way to find out what a community is thinking and feeling about a topic. Clare Seek will host this interactive Art of Hosting group discussion to draw together your themes and 'take-aways' for the day.

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