We have just spent the weekend at the Planned Environment Therapy Trust (PETT) in Toddington, Gloucestershire. We were there to celebrate their achievements and their support for others over the years. A wide range of people spoke on the importance and value of PETT – both academically and practically. PETT has been particularly effective in actively bringing together individuals and groups who have then been able to benefit from each other’s experiences and knowledge. Our project was invited to speak about how the organisation helped us establish our organisation and learn to conduct our research into the early history of the Pestalozzi Children’s Village in Sedlescombe.
We were able to show the audience, with the support of PETT and sage advice from its archivist, Craig Fees, how far we’ve come in five years. In 2013 we had no idea that we could even do this work! Since then we’ve learnt to research archives; present our story to a range of audiences (including the Oral History Society and the University of Brighton); recover connections with past Pestalozzi staff (from the 1960s!). Now we are even reaching out to the entire Pestalozzi community that has evolved internationally from that acorn at Oaklands Park in 1959! We are also in the process of writing a book about our Pestalozzi story.
Of course, we have needed finances to get this far – but our success here was also helped by the generous time spent by PETT giving us advice on our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund. The nett result: £9,900 to get us off the ground (but it’s unbelievable how quickly that gets used!).
PETT has worked with other community groups over many years. Of note for us are the Wennington School Association and the Caldecott Community Association (whose history has a special link with our early Pestalozzi community). We are grateful for the enthusiastic support generously offered by these groups when we have visited PETT’s archive and study centre. Their appreciation of our emotional connection with our Pestalozzi upbringing gave us the confidence to engage with them.
There is also a need to make mention of something special about PETT that has struck us over the past five years – and this links to our experiences with the early Pestalozzi organisation that cared for us. When we arrived at Pestalozzi, the same atmosphere prevailed – they were all in it together. The enthusiasm for the activities at PETT has always been visible among all the staff: support, catering, admin, professional – the lot. We know they care.
Our experience with PETT has enabled us to emerge as credible project organisers with an exciting and worthy goal.
Our heartfelt thanks to Craig and all those at PETT with him who have helped us create and take on this project.
Find out more:
If you would like to know more about the Planned Environment Therapy Trust – in particular the Archive & Study Centre – then take a look at this link.
If you have questions for us about it, get in touch here!