My second good news story of the week is about how, for a few months in 1991, to quote the title of a book by Christopher Hill, “The World Turned Upside Down”. Well, in a very small way in an equally small corner of north west London for that short space of time, it really was. At least in terms of the perception of the possible.
You see, the Camden Society, which supports people with special needs, required a new horticultural training centre for its clients. Having discovered the likely cost of having it built, they decided that they might be able to save money by doing it for themselves. So, with the help of a suitably experienced architect, Simon Yauner, they decided to use the Segal Method of timber frame building that I mentioned in my last blog, to do just that. So, a group of those with special needs, along with other volunteers went ahead and did so; under the supervision of Steve Backes, a skilled carpenter. What is more, the building was built within budget and on time.
Now, that might be considered somewhat unusual, and not just the budget and timescale bit. What, however, made is even more so was that John, one of those with special needs, ended up supervising some of the other volunteers. And none of them took any notice of that fact. In fact, they didn’t even realise that he had special needs. What can’t be achieved if there is the will to do so?
It’s another of those “Little pieces of Wonderland” that I’ve had some involvement with and that help sustain me during trying times. In fact, its construction features on the front cover of my book, “The Real Big Society and my part in it” on my website. More good news soon.