Thursday, 2 May 2013

Community Day at Coggeshall Grange Barn

This Monday we joined several teams from National Trust properties in the Eastern Region at Coggeshall Grange Barn for an update and discussion on community engagement, with a focus on family volunteering projects. Our first impressions? An English Spring (especially when it's as late as this one) is just the best…sunshine, the fresh green of new leaves, cowslips, pretty villages. And Coggeshall Grange Barn is HUGE, an astonishing timber barn with a history going back to the 1100s. Also cold (but we had been warned).

First off, David Huse updated us on how he's working to promote family volunteering projects in NW England. David joined us at Anglesey for the Bottisham Children's Centre family volunteering session in mid April and is keen to apply some of the ideas he picked up. Janet and Lois then outlined recent Anglesey and Wicken community activities and plans for the future, before we heard how the Essex team identified ways to connect with communities in areas with low NT involvement.

A very welcome hot lunch of bangers and mash (and some of us managed the chocolate brownie with hot sauce too) set us up for an afternoon of detective work in Coggleshall. What could we discover about opportunities for NT involvement in the local community by checking out local shops, community spaces and by chatting to residents? We had some interesting encounters… and I think we were all impressed with the amount of information we came up with. It did remind me of doing Geography field work in the days before computers! 

The final session was a discussion of how our findings could be used to develop activities that would introduce local residents to the NT in Coggeshall and encourage them to get involved. 
We're keen to find out how much people know about the community activities we do at Anglesey and Wicken. If you have a few minutes, you can help us by completing our (very short) survey here: Thanks!

Community Reporter

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