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8.1 Continuity and forward momentum

 

First among the benefits to accrue from "Therapeutic Living With Other People's Children" have been in the organisation of the Trust itself: In the journey of self-development it made in building a successful grant application to the Heritage Lottery Fund; in its journey of renewal, re-dedication and transformation while shepherding the project to a successful conclusion; and in its new journey, which has begun with the implementation of a new business plan in which the Executive Directorship, for the first time since the founding of the Trust, has been separated from the role of Trustee, professionalised, made accountable to Trustees as an employee, and given the freedom, direction and authority to grow and improve the work and workings of the Trust, and its sustainability.

 

Having developed an excellent project team enriched with 18 months of intense and successful learning experiences, the continuity and forward movement of the Trust has been ensured, at least in the short term, by the Trust's decision to offer ongoing full-time employment to the members of the project team, for six months (in the first instance) beyond the end of their HLF-funded contracts; and by the decision of project oral historian Gemma Geldart, project administrator/transcriptionist Chris Long, and project director Dr. Craig Fees to accept the offer. Furthermore, using targeted funds from an earlier bequest, project volunteer Matthew Naylor, who graduated from the University of Glasgow's archives course earlier this year (2011), has accepted an invitation to return and to join the team on a three-month contract to catalogue the Richard Crocket Collection.

 

The monthly full-team meetings which were instituted as part of the transitional process (5.2 above) have continued, as have the Tuesday lunches and regular weekly meetings, continuing the incorporation of the old established team and the more recent project team into a single new, and interestingly synergistic Planned Environment Therapy Trust team.

 

All archive, oral history and published material gathered during the course of the project will continue to be looked after as part of the Archive and Study Centre's permanent collections; indeed, the collections have continued to grow post-project, with the addition, among others, of wooden sculptures from Shotton Hall. Visitors will continue to be welcomed: In the short time of the writing of this report over thirty people had already visited, including a researcher; and two Archive "Weekend"-style visits had been scheduled to take place before the end of 2011, with two more Archive "Weekends" firmly in the calendar for 2012, and an oral history-gathering tour being planned as a direct extension of the project.

 

At the time of the Final Event there were four books in preparation by participants and Community members, the completion and publication of which the Trust will support and facilitate. Furthermore, by the end of the project two research students were firmly imbedded in future work drawing on the project and the associated heritage collections within the Archive and Study Centre: Imogen Wiltshire with an AHRC-funded M.A. Studentship in the History of Art at the University of Birmingham, focusing in the Archive on the work and therapeutic influence of Romanian-born artist Arthur Segal; and ESRC-funded Jenelle Clarke, whose Ph.D. Research Fellowship exploring personal heritage and identity formation, using material generated by the project, is being taken at the University of Nottingham. As an outcome of the project conference, discussions have also begun about potential projects with Dr. Sarah Hayes, Research Fellow in the Centre for Medical History at the University of Exeter.

 

Another aspect of the Project which the Trust would wish to develop for the future is the cross-fertilisation which has begun to take place among members of different therapeutic communities, formally and informally. The extraordinary success of bringing together members of different communities in the Performance Archive "Weekend" continued in other formal events - visits to Trinity Catholic School and the Mulberry Bush School, the Conference, the Final Event - as well as informally, in invitations to join another's Archive "Weekend", for example. Much of the impetus for this cross-fertilisation has come from Community members themselves, and the benefits seem substantial.