Vision of Glastonbury - 2001
(12.05.2001- Brief report on recent developments in Glastonbury.)
A number of new and encouraging initiatives have occurred during the last two years in particular. Key points could be said to be:
- A number of new people have arrived to live in the town who are highly competent – able to operate in the conventional world but coming to Glastonbury to live and work in the different atmosphere of this place. These people have made a significant contribution to the new enterprises that are starting up in the town.
- Real support from the conventional town for community initiatives which they can understand – from this emerges the need to make new proposals acceptable to more conventional people without undermining the philosophy behind the project.
- Small enterprises started from scratch with a small group of dedicated people seem to work better than large and ambitious projects.
- The vision of Glastonbury as a great centre of Pilgrimage can be better attained by setting up individual components offering each of the services required rather than by trying to design one all-embracing project.
- There is beginning to be an understanding that a place like Glastonbury, with its wide range of talented and individualistic people, is in a unique position to set up prototype community and sustainable projects. These initial projects can be used to learn more about what is needed before similar projects are set up in other places.
Glastonbury Trust - At the moment this is still my main activity in Glastonbury. The Trust is in a strong position. We own the Glastonbury Experience complex of buildings, with no borrowings, and have a useful sum invested. Our main purpose is providing funds and practical help to get new projects going in Glastonbury. We concentrate upon activities that promote sustainability and community projects.
Isle of Avalon Foundation - The Foundation is thriving. It is now concentrating on offering on-going year long courses. This has lead to a substantial growth in activity and revenue and the Foundation is now firmly established and self-supporting.
SRB 6 – Social Redevelopment Fund 6 - Glastonbury has been awarded £750,000 cash over four years from the Rural Development Agency. It is to be used for creating jobs and relieving social deprivation in Glastonbury. Malcolm Williams of Mendip District Council asked us to help with names of alternative people to sit on the management board. Mike Jones and Gareth Mills, both Trustees of the Glastonbury Trust, are now on the award granting committee.
Glastonbury Development Trust - The SRB6 management body is setting up a Glastonbury Development Trust. This will be concerned with helping community projects put together viable schemes for support by the SRB6 money. Once a project has been accepted, this Trust will raise matching funds from other sources.
Morelands Site - The site has been purchased by the Rural Development Agency. The whole of the 40 acres of this site are now owned between the RDA and Mendip District Council. Schemes for the use of the site are now being considered.
Morelands Village - The Glastonbury Trust has sponsored a report on the use of the Morlands site. This covers a wide range of projects including a Conference Centre/Theatre, an Alternative Energy Exhibition Centre, a sustainable housing project, small workshops, a recycling centre, an organic garden etc. Each of these projects will be individually financed and run by separate groups of people. The project is at an early stage and obviously there will be many other ideas for consideration by the RDA.
Assembly Rooms - The Assembly Rooms went through rather a traumatic period a few months ago. Now continuing with much the same objects as before but with a new management team. Hopefully they will be able to sort out the on-going problems of financing this venture.
Glastonbury Online Ltd - There has been a web site on www.glastonbury.co.uk for some five years. Last year the Glastonbury Trust helped raise £25,000 to turn this site into the Glastonbury official web site. A new company was set up and support obtained from the RDA, Glastonbury Town Council, the Chamber of Commerce and Mendip District Council. It is now accepted as the official town site and a lot of progress has been made in bridging the gap between the alternative and local communities.
Glastonbury Experience Complex - At the moment there is no link between the GE rooms accessible from Market Place and the shops in the two courtyards on the High Street. We are now finalising plans to link the two with a staircase from the Miracles Room in the front Courtyard. This will improve the facilities for the Miracles Room and make the rooms in Market Place more accessible. Plans are emerging for a new Glastonbury Online public information centre and possibly a Pilgrim Information Centre in the premises at 8 Market place.
Sustainable Housing Trust - Last year the Glastonbury Trust sponsored a research paper on Sustainable Housing. South Somerset County Council accepted the proposals in the paper and a new sustainable housing trust has been set up. This trust is now purchasing a site on which to build the first sustainable houses.
Credit Union - The Glastonbury Trust supported the setting up of a Credit Union here in Glastonbury. Mike Jones is the Hon. Secretary. This is now firmly established and has had a very successful launch.
Robert Barton Trust - This charity was set up about three years ago to support homeless people in Glastonbury. They have established a successful pilot drop in centre and have now acquired larger premises and are expanding their work.
Spiritual Crisis Group - A group has been set up to explore the problem of spiritual crisis and to offer counselling to visitors and locals. An active research group is now operating
Sanctuary -This project is in abeyance! We had a fundamental difference of opinion on how to move forward and it was felt best to suspend activities for the time being. There is a feeling that whilst people do want to have a place to honour the sacred with like minded people, there is not much enthusiasm for a place where people of all beliefs can meet.
The Phoenix Project - This is a new arts space that has been created in its own premises. Initiatives include teaching people to make their own web pages, a listing of “who’s who in Glastonbury” on the town web site and a wide range of art workshops.