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Pete Lawrence - 08 Sep 2017
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Making new best friends is essentially at the heart of the Campfire experience and many are looking forward to seeing more sparks created by our new and existing members meeting and up and exchanging thoughts and ideas.

Hello from today’s home-from-home in Buckinghamshire - I've parked up on the Common overlooking the Beacon at Downley, a peaceful retreat after a couple of busy days on a rare visit to London and much activity around our website launch last week.

Thanks for all your contributions and engagement on the site - it’s great to see such a buzz around the fire after many months of heads-down work getting it ready.

I popped over to see the rooms we are using at Union Chapel at Highbury Corner, where our Campfire Convention event is to be staged on Saturday November 4th. The location has added resonance for me, not least because the church and venue has a long and proud tradition for non-conformism but also because my previous project, The Big Chill was born in that same space back in 1994. 

The event has just been put on sale - the day starts at 10am and goes on til 6pm and will include a variety of thinkshop panels and speaker sessions as well as lunch (veggie and vegan options available) and coffee and tea and snacks (biscuits and fruit) included in the ticket price.

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The Margins Project provides the catering at Union Chapel - a charity that works with those experiencing homelessness, crisis or isolation in Islington. They run two weekly drop-ins providing food, showers and advice on benefits and housing and also run a winter night shelter for up to 15 guests. They offer support groups such as art, a job club and therapy and run a kitchen training programme, offering paid employment to 12 formerly marginalised trainees over the course of the year. They prepare and serve the food for the concert goers and daytime hirers at Union Chapel. After the programme they transition the trainees into further training or employment.

Several of us are finalising the panels as we speak and hope to publish a schedule next week, but as a preview, I can reveal that subjects will include : 

  • Sustainable communities (check one of many excellent articles by Sally Hughes for inspiration).
  • Reimagining politics. (we had a very successful first forum sofa session led by Indra Adnan last week).   
  • How we live and work together : values, co-housing and co-working initiatives, adapting to society's future needs and requirements.
  • The politics of food - what choices we have, the way the food industry works and the backstory to the food production process.
  • New designs for education - we bring together some progressive thinkers and doers.
  • Campfire’s next year - starting Beacons, Campfire Conversations and other events, the next phase of our technical development and how our Kudos scheme aims to reward members for input and engagement.

Making new best friends is essentially at the heart of the Campfire experience and many are looking forward to seeing more sparks created by our new and existing members meeting and up and exchanging thoughts and ideas. The social side of Campfire is often where the real talking gets done, so with that in mind, I have found a great venue which is 0.5 miles away (11 minutes walk) for an evening Campfire Convivial. It’s the function room at Hemingford Arms and tickets are available now in even more limited quantity (50 only - strictly first come first served). The event ticket will include a free bar for the earliest arrivals. 

The Convention has been selling fast over the first 24 hours and are limited to 160 so I'd advise purchasing as soon as possible. The after-party tickets are limited to just 50 for the attendees of the Convention and all available from the same booking page.

Looking forward to seeing you if you can make it on November 4th.. it should be a productive and stimulating day.

Don’t forget that we stage our second forum Q&A sofa session online on Tuesday evening 20:00 UK time and our guest will be Jonathan Leighton. Have your questions ready and I expect another lively discussion, this week about "promoting compassion and alleviating universal suffering"

And we have a Campfire Conversation at The Good Life Experience in north Wales next Saturday 2pm-6pm...

Pete x

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