The Essentials

Name of event:  Restoring Your Creative Balance
When: Wednesday 10 – Wednesday 17 August 2016. Arrival: 4pm-6pm, latest departure 11am
Where: Laurieston Hall, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, DG7 2NB
Number of places available: 60

The Event

This will be the only week at Laurieston in 2016 and the only opportunity to experience the famed Laurieston Magic with friends from ECC for the next couple of years: we will not hold any events at Laurieston in 2017 as Laurieston Hall residents have decided to take a break from hosting events. We do not have information about future years so for those who love their Laurieston Hall fix, 2016 should be unmissable. Early booking is advisable as we expect the event to be fully-booked.

All the favourites will be there including the sauna, cabaret and ceilidh plus a trip to Kitty’s. There will be base groups, as always. These are small groups of about six men which meet daily; they can provide a space for reflection on the day, support for anyone who needs it, and a chance to connect with some participants at a deeper level.

You will also be asked to undertake about four work-slots during the week, when you will be helping members of the Laurieston Hall community to prepare our meals and clear up afterwards. Many men find that this interaction with the resident community is a very enjoyable part of the week, as well as reminding us that we are guests in their home. We want to support personal growth through creative activity workshops, sharing and learning new skills to boost confidence and wellbeing among community members. Try a step outside your own comfort zone… you might like it!

Dance your socks off at the ceilidh, shower us with showbiz at the cabaret or emote with a monologue at ‘The Fringe’. It’s up to you.

The more workshops we can confirm in advance the better so bring your workshop energy, ideas and creativity. Workshops confirmed so far include: monologue writing for performance; circle dance and harmony singing; and we need more. Almost any idea of yours can be turned into a workshop, whether physical activity (e.g. yoga / massage/art/ body painting / meditation), or discussion on a wide range of topics. If you want materials, or some help or support to run your workshop, please let us know.

You can also hear the latest progress report from ECC’s Guardians Group about its work to implement the ECC@30 proposals.  This workshop has been requested by those who were at the 2015 Autumn Gathering to provide engagement and clarity for those attending, and gives you an opportunity to share your ideas and help to shape the future of ECC.

The unstructured parts are not forgotten: bonfires, sunbathing on the lawn, swimming in and boating on the loch, late evenings around the hall fire, renewing friendships and creating new ones. As always, the success of the week will depend on your energy and enthusiasm…

New to ECC events?

Laurieston is an ideal safe introduction and new members can opt for a one-to-one informal ‘buddy’ to assist them to have a good week, in addition to joining a base group.  Let us know if you are new to ECC when you book.

The Venue

The participants have access to a nearby Loch for swimming and canoeing. The house is surrounded by woodland and meadows offering plenty of walking opportunities. It is also steeped in history to explore, and has a calm spacious feel. There are nooks to sit and read in, a farm to visit and Castle Douglas just down the road. Mobile reception is patchy but best when you visit the cows!

The organisers

Stu-Colin-Steve-Jon

L-R Stuart, Colin, Steve, Jon

Stuart Groom
I joined ECC in 1997 and have attended at least one event most years, particularly enjoying Laurieston and the outdoors adventure provided by the Lake District weeks. I have co-organised a number of events, including at Laurieston, the most recent being the themed week ‘The Castle and Beyond’ in September 2014 and, before that, the summer week at Laurieston in 2013 alongside Jon Homer. I have always got a lot out of the weeks – a chance to take some risks, relax, dance or just reconnect with myself and others and be deep, silly or a bit of both. I’ll be looking forward to meeting old friends, making new friends, enjoying the peace and magic of Laurieston and, hopefully, finding a few deep connections among the men with a lot of laughs along the way.

Colin R. Harvey
Hi, I’ve been involved with ECC for over three years and attended several events including Laurieston and AGs. I was a base group leader last August at Laurieston but this will be my first as part of an organising team although in the ‘real world’ I’ve organised various events and projects before. I’m looking forward to working with Steve and Jon and having a lovely creative time in August with you all.

Steve Williams
Hello there, I’m Steve. My background is in mental health in the NHS since 1989.  When I’m not being in the health service, I campaign to save it from privatisation.  I’ve been attending ECC events at Laurieston Hall since 2012 and find it a restoration to my spirits.  This year, the team and I hope to create a spirit of renewal and adventure as ECC prepares for the next 30 years.

Jon Homer (bookings organiser)
I’ve been involved with ECC for many years; after my first week at Laurieston, which was nothing short of life changing, I have always regarded gay men’s weeks there as very special opportunity for spiritual renewal and growth, as they offer a chance to live in community for a week with friends old and new. I am involved in the current discussions on ECC’s future, looking at how we can adapt to meet the needs of gay men in a society which has moved forward a long way, but which for many is still not welcoming. My personal interests include music and dance. I am also interested in creating a safe space for us as gay men to explore aspects or our lives, and looking at ways to reach out to gay men from other cultures, including forging links with groups in other countries.

Background

The Edward Carpenter Community was initially formed of small groups of men mainly from Leeds and London in 1985. Over the last thirty years it has developed into a nationwide network of friendships and its membership now numbers around 1,000.  There has been a succession of residential weeks, first at Laurieston Hall only, and more recently also at other venues, where participants experience a week’s life as part of a community. Many still regard Laurieston as the ECC’s spiritual home, a place where we have always been welcomed.

Booking a place

You can either send your booking electronically or print it and send it by post to:
Jon Homer, 212 Sovereign Road, Earlsdon, Coventry CV5 6LU.
You can also contact Jon on 07974 477206 for any enquiries about booking.

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