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8.3 Maintaining and Extending Benefits in Relationship and in Partnership

 

Among the many benefits which have accrued during the course of the project have been the strengthening of relationships with outside groups and organisations, and the development of new ones. As an outcome of working together, these relationships are continuing to build, with initiatives already in progress which will ensure continuing and extending benefits as one consequence of HLF's investment in the project.

 

8.3.1 Building on established relationships

Wennington Old Scholars and the Caldecott Association, as stakeholders in future developments, have both booked Archive "Weekends" for 2012, and are both taking an active part in the newly-created email discussion groups and initiatives noted in 8.2 and 2.7.14 above. The organisation of a successful two-day conference together has deepened the relationship of the Trust with the History of Medicine Unit at the University of Birmingham; and close co-operation in the organisation of two conferences, hosting of a Board meeting, and Board involvement in an Assessment, Training and Advisory Event, among other things, has deepened the working relationship between the Trust and the Child Care History Network. The contact and relationship with the Charterhouse Group of Therapeutic Communities has similarly been strengthened.

 

Among the unexpected deepening of relationships has been that with the Mulberry Bush School, one of the longest-established of the pioneering therapeutic residential environments for children, and an internationally respected one. There were strong existing foundations, in the form of prior consultation on the Mulberry Bush's archives, in working together on the Mulberry Bush training course, and in holding archives of significant individuals related to the school; and in former Mulberry Bush Director Richard Rollinson's agreement to Chair the Project Management Group and to become Chair with a view to the longer transition in the leadership of the Trust, those foundations were strengthened. Mulberry Bush Organisation CEO John Diamond agreed to join the Project Management Group. The School then took the decision to lodge its archives with the Trust, becoming the first major accession of the project for the new project archivist.

 

Had these archives been deposited with the Archive prior to the project, or had it been anticipated they would be, the Mulberry Bush would have been sought as one of the focal communities. As it is, a series of accessions have followed, as have various meetings to explore future ways of co-operating, a one-day pilot Archive "Weekend" (4.1.5), a visit by Community members to the Mulberry Bush (4.8), and participation by the project oral historian Gemma Geldart and Executive Director Richard Rollinson in the School's annual Open Day for former students, which itself then led to a visit to the Archive by one of the former students.

 

8.3.2 New relationships

Some of the relationships developed during the course of the project, such as that with the Care Leavers Association, are clearly new. Others, which developed during the long course of the project and its inception, are now so familiar that it is difficult to think of them as an outcome of the project, such as the relationship through Sîan Roberts, as a member of the Project Management Group, with Birmingham Archives, and through Stephen Steinhaus with Trinity Catholic School in Leamington Spa. Others will be referred to throughout the report, such as oral historians Barbara Gibson, or Elaine Harris of Kibble Education and Care, or Gudrun Limbrick of WordWorks. The link with Dr. Rosie Parnell of the University of Sheffield's School of Architecture, and with Prof. Martin Parsons of Reading University's Centre for Evacuee and War Child Studies feel both established and new. Others are new and potentially growing: A visit from Governor Dr. Peter Bennett and Director of Therapeutic Communities Dr. Michael Brookes of H.M.P. Grendon as a response to the presentation by the project oral historian at the TCTC Conference in Birmingham (see 4.0.7.c) is an indication of possible future directions of development, as are discussions with the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS). Among other initiatives is a proposed conference with the Community Archives and Heritage Group; and among the new friendships are many individuals from the Communities themselves.