Andrea Harrn Counselling Services

Community Event

For the past two years I have been involved in organising an event in Dorset, the Gaunts House Summer Gathering.

The organising group called “Heartbeat” came together for the first time in 2009 and we were a bunch of strangers with a common goal of creating a mini community in itself in order to put together this HEARTFELT event for well over 1000 people.  We met about 5 times a year to talk about the event and organise it too.  The Summer Gathering is based on the concept of building a community over 4 days to share and partake in living together, sharing chores, helping out, being caring towards others and all enjoying the programme of over 150 workshops, music on 3 stages, dancing, singing and so much more.  

The year was very challenging in itself, apart form the organising aspect.  Forming a group with others involved going through the various stages of forming, norming and performing……..    Being part of any group involves naturally working with the various personalities within that group and our different ways of working.  

It got me to really think about community and what a community could be and how it could work.    At one point I emailed everyone in the group with the following and I thought I’d share it on the blog as it might be of interest to people:

So, here are the words of my email sent to the Heartbeat Group in April of this year  

“As the “heartbeat” of the gathering we are in effect a prototype community of the gathering itself.  

But how do we define community?  My own thoughts are that community might be about mutual sharing, discussing, caring, learning, performing tasks, responsibility for others within the community, facing challenges together, allowing members of the community to have their own opinions, voice and to listen with respect to each other. 

It might also be about coming to agreements by consensus, arrangement or practicalities.  It might also be about discussing challenging issues.   Within each community people will naturally take different roles, i.e. leader, listener, mediator, worker, specific skill sets etc. etc.   For any community to thrive and grow respect is paramount for each other and the shared goals of the community.    
Communication is Key to community.

So if we want to make the most of this opportunity to be part of Heartbeat then frank discussion and communication is the way forward.

And if we want to extend from Heartbeat to Summer Gathering as a community to be proud of then we need to be the best that we can be for the higher good of the Heartbeat community, the Summer gathering community and the examples we set and show which can be further taken into the wider world.”

We were blessed to be working with some of the UK and world’s greatest experts and workshop leaders in their field.  We had an amazing group of volunteers plus the participants who all came together to have a good time and be part of the community.  

It was AMAZING (even if I say so myself) and feedback so far to the event as a whole has included the words:

Its quite something isn’t it when a group of individual people can come together with peaceful intent and a community spirit, combined with love and acceptance of others and a willingness and tendency to give from the heart.   It allows us to see what is possible for humanity.

I am now interested take the ideas of community to expand into another space and am interested to work with the right people that are coming from the heart.  

I feel that so many people in this country are disconnected to themselves and each other and I would love to be part of a wider change movement.

At this moment I am unclear as to where or when that will happen but I am waiting for the moment to show itself.

In the meantime LOVE LOVE LOVE 

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