Project Hope: Reflections from 2030

Pendle_Hill_main

Project Hope was devised by Result CIC to encourage people we've worked with to think about the future, with a focus on hope and the ability to dream.

We've asked writers to respond to these points: 

  • If there were no restrictions, what would be your dream project?
  • If the project happened and was successful, what would change? (and how would this make you feel?)
  • Who or what would you need to start to get the project going?

This month, our guest writer is Georgia Rigg, a human rights campaigner.

*****

'The kitchen glows a warm orange, as the sunset breaks through the windows. We are in the midst of the frantic scrabble to serve dinner. Cutlery clatters as it’s grabbed from drawers, baking trays burn fingers through too-thin kitchen towels, and wine glasses clink as they are carried outside. Children are ushered towards seats, and a couple are in an animated, but friendly, debate. 

We are all hungry – our meeting ran over after a disagreement on how we should use The Hall over winter. I felt anxious that our newest member hadn’t felt comfortable enough to share their views, but it had ended as well as it could, and now we are together, about to eat. The conversation turns to food; This looks incredible! Mmmmm, I’m so hungry! and soon quietens as we meditate on the tastes. 

I tune out of the murmurs and look over at Pendle Hill. The view never fails to move me. This summer we’ll be celebrating 7 years since we set our home up here. It feels like yesterday, and yet a lifetime ago. I remember when it was just a dream, something we probably wouldn’t do, but enjoyed fantasising about on long walks late into the evening. But as the economy further collapsed in 2023, we thought: ‘now is the time’. 

The four of us all lost our jobs within 2 months of buying the building, so we were right about the timing. That first year was tough. We were scared; scared of what was happening in the country, across the world. We missed our friends, we missed London, we even missed the bullshit work. The building was falling apart in parts, and the winter was bitterly cold, but we worked hard during the days, and in the evenings, we would light the fire and drink, play games, laugh.

When spring came around, we started to realise what we’d achieved. The building was in a better condition and starting to look more like a home. We were able to begin housing other people. Some were on a short-term basis, including our first guest; a queer teenager who’d been kicked out of her home. She stayed with us for 6 months. A brilliant artist, she helped decorate The Hall, painting a huge mural of Pendle Hill on the back wall. The mural is still there. We also befriended a local woman who was in the process of leaving her abusive partner. She would often drive up to us with the kids in the middle of the night, and at some point, she just decided to stay. She is sat across the table from me now, with her teenage sons.

Now there are 12 of us. Nine of us are here permanently, with 3 people staying on a shorter term basis. We try to keep a bed free for anyone in crisis. We grow food that feeds us and many others locally, and host a supper club every Friday which is open to anyone. We get a lot of pleasure from food.

The Hall, once an abandoned farmhouse, is one of the things we’re proudest of. A five-minute walk from our home, it sits up on the hill, church like. It now has large windows, wooden floors and is filled with art, plants, lamps, comfy sofas and chairs. It has huge fold out tables which mean we can comfortably feed 60 people in it. It is rarely empty and is used by us and other groups in the community for workshops, supper clubs, film nights, sleepovers: it’s a magical, communal place. 

That was the disagreement tonight, in fact. Should we use The Hall to house more people over winter? Things are becoming increasingly bleak, unemployment is over 70% in Pendle and the welfare system is now totally defunct. How can we grow our home and support as many people as possible? Tonight, I will read some Octavia Butler. It was her writings that planted the seeds about building something like this among the chaos. We read The Parables together during that first winter here, and it guided us:

All that you touch, you Change. All that you Change, Changes you. The only lasting truth Is Change.” Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower

As I gaze into the distance, I realise someone is saying my name. Our newest member is smiling at me, “It’s starting to rain!” they say, “Come on!” People around me are picking up their plates and running inside, laughing. Of course, it’s raining. I collect as much as I can and as I close the kitchen door, I take a last look at Pendle Hill. Among change, she is constant.'   



If you are interested in exploring your hopes and aspirations for the future, coaching can be a good starting point. 

Get in touch.

 
 

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