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Seeding our Future

Resilience and wisdom to stay happy in the years ahead

The present is already so uncertain and demanding that most of us don’t want to consider the future.  But surely the pressures and changes we face now are likely to continue, and increase?  The aim of the Seeding our Future project is to evolve and share ways that individuals, communities, businesses and public service providers in the UK can grow their resilience skills and wisdom to thrive and adapt to meet future pressures positively.  A distinctive aspect of our approach is using time in Nature as a catalyst, helping people to open to new viewpoints and learn from the resilience of ecosystems. 

Seeding our Future (SOF) is a non-profit project, started in 2017.  The founder and main funder is Alan Heeks, a social entrepreneur and writer (see www.alanheeks.com). We are collaborating informally with Westminster Centre for Resilience, Hazel Hill Trust and other organisations. Alan has been exploring resilience for many years: he has led numerous workshops on this theme, and set up Hazel Hill Wood, a 70-acre conservation woodland and residential centreshowing how to learn resilience from natural ecosystems (see www.hazelhill.org.uk). 

Project aims

The overall aims of Seeding our Future is to work as a pioneer and catalyst: identifying new issues, and creating or gathering processes to help our client groups to face them.

We aim to do this by running pilot projects with relevant partners, and professional evaluation. When we have approaches that have proved successful, we will offer training programmes to enable others to use our material. 

Pilot programmes

During 2018 to 2020 we are running and evaluating pilot events for three projects, aiming to have proof of concept leading to rollout during 2020 and 2021: 

A. Front-Line Futures: The capacity of front-line public services is crucial to everyone’s wellbeing: these include the NHS, local authority functions, and parts of the voluntary sector. Currently we are seeing a severe upturn in burnout and staff turnover in many areas, alongside rising demand and shrinking resources. 

In 2018-19 we are running several pilot programmes, including residential workshops at Hazel Hill Wood on resilience for health professionals such as hospital doctors, GP’s, mental health professionals  and managers, led by a joint team from Hazel Hill Trust and Westminster Centre for Resilience. Initial evaluation has been very positive.  

For more information on programmesand progress, see http://www.hazelhill.org.uk/woodland-resilience-immersions/  

B. Future Conversations: Research shows that most people prefer avoidance and denial to engaging with the future outlook.  The aim of this project is to offer knowhow and facilitation to help members and organisers in disadvantaged communities to explore the upsides and downsides of the next 10-20 years, including impacts from climate change, and raise their skills and confidence to enjoy the years ahead, drawing on natural resilience, deep ecology and other methods. The format is a series of facilitated conversations, covering individual/family issues, global concerns especially climate change, and community needs. We have started pilot programmesof 6-8 sessions in four locations: two in London, one in East Midlands, one near Glasgow. These should be completed by Autumn 2019. For more info, see FUTURE CONVERSATIONS

C. Business and Climate Change: This is a new project, where we aim to start pilot programmes in late 2019. The mounting climate crisis will call for radical change from businesses, and will bring a host of new pressures and disruptions. Our aim is to help provide the different mindsets and processes to enable constructive adaptation: see more here

Partner Organisations

Partners are a central element of our strategy for this project, and we welcome approaches from other potential partner organisations.  Those already involved include: 

  • Westminster Centre for Resilience: A leading expert in resilience research and training for public and private sectors, and strengths in evaluation of such work: part of Westminster University, London. 
  • Hazel Hill Trust: Alan Heeks is Chair of this registered charity which runs Hazel Hill Wood, a 70-acre conservation woodland and education centre near Salisbury, which Alan also founded, and which has proved a valuable setting for resilience programmes. 
  • Schumacher Institute: This non-profit think tank and research network headquartered in Bristol is our lead partner, with many years’ experience in exploring futures issues. 
  • Hawkwood College: Centre for Future Thinking: Have supported the project by hosting events and providing contacts.  

We are in discussion with partner organisations for the Business and Climate Change project. We welcome approaches from potential partners for all three projects.

Contact information: If you are interested in help, partnership, or staying informed, contact Alan Heeks using the contact form or tel 07976 602787 

To download Seeding Our Future Overview please click below.

NEXT: Future Conversations

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