Newbold believes in a life sustaining society where we can thrive personally, co-exist in harmony, feel interconnected with the living system of the planet and therefore protect and conserve this for future generations. We believe in empowerment and positive leadership. Newbold believes that to build a more positive society we must empower leaders to face the challenges of today.
Reports from a wide range of Youth charities show that young people face unprecedented challenges in the modern world. Finding meaningful employment is increasingly difficult, and with record levels of unemployment and decreasing job security, many feel a sense of anxiety about the future. Collectively, young people will be the most affected by alarming global trends like climate change, environmental degradation, and social tensions based on culture, religion, or class. At the same time, it is our young people who have the most potential and often the most drive to contribute to a sustainable future.
We aim to harness and empower that potential through recently awarded ERASMUS+ funding. Newbold have been awarded 50,000 Euros by the ERASMUS+ Youth Leader Mobility scheme to run two fantastic 8 day trainings for Youth Leaders in August and September.
In the training participants will learn how to empower young people to identify and use their unique strengths and qualities, in service to themselves and their communities. This will enable them to develop more rewarding careers and take an active and positive role in their local communities.
By Deborah Benhan
A PhD Marine biologist and animal behavior expert, Deborah is an environmental educator and sustainability designer working to support the emergence of regenerative culture and the recovery of healthy ecosystems through innovative design, stakeholder engagement, multidisciplinary education and deep nature connection.
I’ve arrived as a new volunteer at Newbold after attending the Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) Course at Findhorn this past autumn. Since 2013, I’ve been volunteering at a number of similar projects — retreat centres, educational institutes, and spiritual communities — each with its own strengths and challenges, each aiming to achieve sustainability, each taking active steps to improve their infrastructures, foodways, social networks, and habits. I’m delighted with how Newbold compares to the others, and how folks here are engaged with the challenges of making Newbold more sustainable.
The EDE Course divided sustainability into four aspects: spiritual,economic, ecological, and social. Something Newbold does particularly well is the social aspects. I like how we Newbolders incorporate spirituality throughout our daily life, from the morning meditations & Taize singing, to casual conversations at tea break or mealtimes. No one insists that we all follow one particular path, yet I get the sense that we all hold some things sacred, which makes me feel welcomed among warmhearted folk.
An exciting area with which I’m involved is the development of in-house educational programmes at Newbold. One of Newbold’s strengths is on the social side, for instance, a new monthly-meeting Permaculture Design Course (PDC) will be offered at Newbold soon (permaculture.com.au/what-is permaculture). Permaculture espouses a more ‘permanent’ ‘culture’ including pattern thinking, sustainable design, re-imagining human settlements and resource management and also include personal and social permaculture aspects, which is why it seems like such a natural fit here at Newbold. Many of the places I visited were using permaculture, especially the ones concerned about local food.
Permaculture applies the same principles used in ecological systems to social systems (loobymacnamara.mouseman.info/people-and-permaculture), encapsulated in the phrase: “planet-care, fair-share, and people-care.” If we are to become a truly sustainable culture we’ll need to communicate, make decisions, negotiate conflicts, and gather for celebrations and ceremonies. People-care is what Newbold does particularly well. The culture here includes a balance of work time, informal group time, and personal time; meetings happen regularly both for personal sharing and to take care of business. There’s an emphasis on non- violent, or “compassionate communication,” (compassionatecommunications.us) so that when difficult conversations need to happen relationships can stay intact, or even be strengthened. Sociocracy structures (sociocracy.info) help discussion of changes in policy, and ensure that most of us are well-informed when decisions are taken. I’ve been introduced to the 8-Shields work of Jon Young (8shields.com), with specific practices to create a more regenerative culture. We who work and reside here feel valued, nurtured and supported so that we can ably convey our sense of well-being to guests and visitors. It’s striking to me, and I haven’t found anything like it in all my travels. At Newbold, I have I found a culture which cares about people *and* the planet. So I’m hopeful, and encouraged, and plan to stay a while to learn what I can, and teach what I’ve learned.
Root Cuthbertson is an environmental educator, local food gastronomist, honey collector, dance teacher, story-teller, singer-songwriter, blog-writer (that’s a new one!), and is working on a sci-fi action adventure novel.