Many of us are struggling to find time or willingness to consider our future. The changes we’re facing in the next two or three decades are complex, often contradictory, and can feel daunting. Research shows that our main strategies for coping with future changes are denial and avoidance.
Moving people from overload to active participant in a positive future is the key aim of Future Conversations. The project aims to use natural spaces to start conversations about our shared future, especially about the impacts of the climate emergency, working primarily with disadvantaged individuals and communities facing social and economic hardship, and with community organisers who support them. A series of guided conversations will enable people to explore their hopes, fears and needs for the next 5-20 years. We will explore facts and feelings, and provide processes and information to grow the confidence and skills to shape the future positively.
Hosting community conversations in natural settings, Future Conversations will offer a range of process tools, practical techniques and activities including natural resilience, deep adaptation and deep ecology, but with content geared to participants’ needs.
The aims of Future Conversations are to:
- Raise individual and community resilience generally
- Grow the personal and group skills to face alarming situations, handle anxiety and conflict, and act constructively, both as individuals and as communities
- Provide knowhow and support for positive responses to major challenges at personal, local and global levels, particularly the impact of the climate emergency.
We are interested in working with additional partners for the next stages of the project.
Single Conversations series partners: these could be local projects, or national organisations.
Roll-out partners: we are seeking a few regional or natural partners who could use this process through their network. We would hold a facilitator training for you and then support the newly trained facilitators to prepare for and deliver the sessions.
We will be running a 3-day training for facilitators later in 2021 and are taking notes of interest now. Please email email@example.com for more information or to note interest.
The research and development to date, has been funded by Seeding our Future. SOF has limited funds for further programmes, and we are seeking to work with local partners, who can self-fund this work or partner in fundraising.
Pam Candea: firstname.lastname@example.org 07970 327975
TRAINING AND PILOTS HELD IN 2019
In January 2019 we held a training for 14 people to learn how to facilitate Future Conversations and followed up by supporting 3 groups to run a series of Future Conversations. The three pilot programmes were held during April – September 2019, with local community groups in London, the Midlands and Scotland.
Follow-up questionnaires showed that people found the activities and the connection developed with others rewarding. Additional outcomes include:
- 87% of people found the personal skills for facing difficult situations and handling stressful feelings helpful or very helpful
- 80% of people found the support and skills to help the members of the community to support each other and face challenges positively helpful or very helpful
- 88% of people found the information and help in understanding climate change and other big issues helpful or very helpful
One of the groups has embarked on the project (community grown ‘soup veg packs’) they developed during the sessions is looking to find funding to support that work further.
The group at Belville Community Garden Trust ranged in age from people in their early 20’s through to people in their 60’s. It was mainly women but the group of 6-10 each session usually had 2 or 3 men as well. The group were comprised of people who were connected to the Belville Trust in some way as participants or volunteers.
The group in Sneinton welcomed around 25 participants in total across the sessions. Locals, Community Project leaders, Union representatives, Education professionals, Councillors, Freelancers, Community workers and Council workers amongst them. 6 people attended most of the sessions, others participated for 1,2, or 3 sessions.
The High Trees group was composed of 10 students who were part of an English as a second language training and who brought with them their experiences of climate change impacts form their own countries.