Sunday, 17 March 2013

Summary of our trip down the rabbit hole in Denaby

This is our story of the Earth Centre, there are so many stories because so many people were involved and affected by its creation. A group of us spent a few years attempting to return the land to the community and expose the corruption beneath. There is much to be learnt from this tale and we would never have guessed how deep the rabbit hole actually went down in this little mining village.

Please enjoy our story,

The abandoned Earth Centre site was sold by Doncaster Council for an undisclosed sum to Kingswood Educational services company in 2011. The Council acquired the site after the Earth Centre project was driven into administration and closed in 2004. They left the space like a ghost ship for 6 years until local people started investigating strange goings on and began demanding that the land be returned to the community.

The original Earth Centre project began in 1994 as part of the flagship Millennium Project, millions of pounds in public funding was poured into landscaping and designing the then futuristic education centre on the former pit site. You can read all about it in this blog, how they shipped in the 'peace tree' all the way from Hiroshima and like the Earth Centre it didn't survive! They spent thousands flying in guru's and business types whilst promoting sustainability and green ethics. The local people poured their hopes and energies into a project that was mismanaged and eventually abandoned by the suits and left for the police, a war game company and the MOD to use as a playground.

Thing is the local people of Denaby knew very well how to live sustainably, they had endured the miners strikes and the closing of the pits which left thousands without work and many mouths hungry. It was the women of the village that took the initiative to reclaim the land that once was the pit and begin growing food for the local community.

The land was of great importance for beneath it lay hundreds of miles of tunnels and caves dug out by thousands of men and sometimes children who had lived and died in this area not to mention the valuable remaining coal deposits. This is why we think the Millennium Board was so keen to choose Denaby for its Earth Centre project and take the space back from the communities hands.

The local people were visited by representatives and duped into handing over their grassroots project to a bunch of business types promising all manner of wonderful things for the community. Jonathan Smales former head of Greenpeace was named as the brainchild of the earth centre project and work began transforming the site. It must be said that Jonathan Smales and his pals jumped ship as the earth centre was failing. The question is was it set up to fail in the first place? Because so much money over £114,000,000 of public funding was poured into the Earth Centre the local community was not allowed anymore funding for projects because the areas quota was used up by the earth centre.

After its closure many local people put forward suggestions for its use but none were entertained and it remained closed to the public. This huge site full of wildlife, trees, food and medicinal plants, climbing facilities, buildings, kitchens, living water filtration systems, geodomes, educational equipment, a milkfloat and a pirate ship was left to waste and the local people's original food project was no more! Access denied!

It was one day in 2009 that some of us decided we would visit the site and see about starting an eco village and new food project for the community. We found a way in and explored the wild and beautiful space, that after years of neglect had grown into a rich and diverse eco system. We munched on apples from the trees and could not believe that this place had been left to rot! Shortly into a our shambala experience an unmarked BMW pulled onto the site and two armed police officers got out of the vehicle, whilst one stayed in the car with what looked like a drone on his lap. They threatened to arrest us unless we left immediately but we stood our ground as we knew this to be our land! after much debate we decided to leave and begin work on the campaign to RECLAIM THE EARTH CENTRE!

If you consider the land, the neighbouring quarries and vast network of tunnels ancient and new, the interest of the MOD and many dubious companies in the site, the eerie episodes of 'Survivor' the apocalyptic drama filmed for the BBC on the derelict earth centre, the wargame company Cerebus (the three headed dog of war) Airsoft's use of the site, the history of the first corporate mine in the country and the hundreds of men, women and children that lost their lives there, the reluctance of the local council to share information with the local community or allow them access to the site they helped create, it can be said there remains many questions to be answered and many secrets will probably long remain beneath the Earth Centre.

We hope you enjoy our story, we did and we met met many wonderful people because if it. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the campaign, shared their stories, attended meetings, supported our efforts and took part in actions. Reclaim, reuse, resist and rise up!

To begin the story go to the beginning of our blog and the first post on October 26th 2009 - welcome to the story of the earth centre! If you have any questions regarding our story, research and actions please get in touch we'd love to hear your comments :)

Thank you

Monday, 13 December 2010

meet up at the earth centre jan 9th

For anyone that wants to see the Earth Centre and its many resources and for anyone that wants to meet with others that would like to see the earth centre back in the hands of the local community a meet up has been arranged for Jan 9th 2011. We will be having a new year picnic and skillshare at the Earth Centre in Denaby, Doncaster bring along your mittens and snacks.

Local people will be there to share their stories of the Earth Centre and show anyone round that hasnt seen the site before. Around the local area is an abundance of wildlife and beautiful walks and history, you can enjoy the river don, sprotborough woods, the stunning viaduct, the pennine trail, conisibrough castle and loads more.

We will announce a time for the meet at the beginning of january if you wish to be informed please email and check out the facebook page 'save the earth centre, doncaster' for more info and chat.

Monday, 25 October 2010

FOR SALE again! the fat cats will have their claws out so watch out!

Howdu everyone,

The Earth Centre is FOR SALE email or for the sales particulars and tender form.

Doncaster Council has their signs up and apparently the entire earth centre site is up for grabs. This is yOur space they are flogging, remember community land = business opportunity! Boo!

Will the community get a look in, will the new owners give a shit, will it be for the benefit of the local community and environment or will greed get in the way again?

If you have any desire to purchase the land you must act quickly, the police, the mod and RTTG have had their eyes on it for a long time. The council has previously rejected offers of purchase from community enterprises and local businesses so lets see where this is going. Hark! did you hear that dodgy handshake! Does anyone really believe that joe public will feel the benefit of a quick sale of the site? What about the abundant wildlife and rare species that habit the space, its been derelict for 6 years and has grown into a beautiful nature spot full of food and life.

Please remember the land was occupied by the community long before the earth centre designers muscled in on it and over £100,000,000 of public funds has disappeared into the vortex that is the earth centre. Local community near the EC have struggled to find funding and support for years due to the ridiculous amount that was spent on the space during the earth centre's life, we think they deserve better.

The Land is yOurs!

Love and respect x

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Life grows on at the Earth Centre - come on people take it back!

On Monday, activists climbed the fence guarding the still empty Earth Centre and did some gardening. For 6 years now the Earth Centre has been closed to the community and each year a whole harvest of amazing herbs and plants has gone unattended. While the plants thrive the buildings gather dust and as community workers struggle for resources the Earth Centre resources remain locked behind very closed doors. Back in October the community pleaded with council to allow the people in to harvest the apples, they were lied to and refused so they took apple action and retrived a healthy hoard of juicy apples.

As the only people that appear to have permission to use the site still are the MOD and RTTG, community activists again took action on monday and collected roots and cuttings for propagation so they can be shared and enjoyed by all.

Oh the irony, lets get together people and clean up this corporate mess!

Ooo arr! the only pirates that play on this ship now are hairy men and women with guns boo! Lets give it back to the children of Denaby and Doncaster that helped create this space hurray!

Once Europes largest solar canopy we wonder did it ever work? it boasted 80,000kw of energy a year on top of sustaining the centre, how many people in the village struggle to pay their rising electric bills?? DIY is the future make your own energy we dont need that much really ;0)

Beautiful Gingko Trees, you can pick the fallen yellow leaves in autumn and make tasty tea which is said to have memory boosting properties and other health benefits

The conference centre below is made of reclaimed materials and other stuff! The community groups of Denaby and around struggle for space and funding, it seems really stupid that the Council would rather pay a huge amount each year to keep it closed when it could benefit so many people

Flowering Chives cover the roof of the centre like a lovely purple and green edible carpet.

The not so welcome any more centre

All around the Earth Centre are reminders of the wasted resources and utter lack of respect for the land and the people, like a bad joke education equipment is left strewn allover the area

Computers, tills, merchandise layed all over the floors - its like they all just vanished,
recycle, reuse, reclaim we say!

Below is the £75,000 woodchip burner that heats enough water to sustain the centre it sits sadly in the shop collecting dust, the local community would love to open the space as a cafe and freeshop, it overlooks the river don and many thirsty people pass by everyday.

The Earth Centre could feed an entire community and has enough life to be enjoyed by all, why it is closed to the public and heavily guarded remains a mystery to most, we think that one day its doors will be opened for the people by the people, sharing is the way forward!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

last chance to get community voice heard

hello to all,

there is now only a couple of months before DMBC plan to take bids for the earth centre, its reported that some 30 organisations are interested, we know some of them to be the Police and RTTG. Its an amazing space and could be used to feed a community and educate many children. The plantlife and wildlife are without a voice but they are essential to preserving our culture and environment and are in abundance in and around the earth centre.

RTTG are having another 'open day' on March 31st get your invites quickly by emailing (the welovetheearthcentre campaigners are not allowed on the guest list again!) please go along and make sure the communities and the earths voice is heard!

It remains clear that DMBC has made no attempt to assist local community groups with interest in the space and selfishly let another years massive food crop to go waste. It is also now clear that DMBC have assisted RTTG for over a year in their plans to take over.

What do we know of RTTG? They have been liaising with DMBC for a year, they have now held one 'open day' at the earth centre and no one from the community was invited infact many were refused after making enquiries, the Managing Director of RTTG said he does not believe community comes first! Below is a list of partners of the company RTTG; investigate their activities and motives!! many are responsible for chemical, construction, aerospace, defense, 3d tech, nuclear, audiovisual engineering and although there are some creditable organisations amongst them there is no question most are totally dodgy!
Costain, White Design, eOn, Scottish Southern, Modcell, Royal Haskoning, Complete Energy Solutions, National Non-Food Crops Centre, SITEC, MTech, Pilkington, Peglers, Senior Architectural Systems, Glazpart, LBK Packaging, JCB, Kita, Holz Schiller, Saint Gobain, Beta Technology, Stramit, Hemsec, Titon, BASF, Greenspec, Green Building Store, Ransomes,Kognitiv, Polyflor, First Vision, Logix , Corus, Marmox, Balehaus, Cospica, MET-UK/Spice, Strata Housing

On the morning of the first RTTG 'openday' welovetheearthcentre campaigners and local residents arrived at the so called 'open day' and were refused entry, some of those local residents were the very people that began the community farm that once stood where the earth centre now stands, their project was inspired by the need for community self sufficiency and they took the initiative to reclaim and caretake land in their village (former denaby main colliery, now heavily guarded derelict earth centre) in the 90's they were visited by jonathan smales who quit his post as greenpeace director to come and build a environmental theme park on the area used at the time by the residents of Denaby, documents were signed, hands shook and the gravy train moved in totalling the existing community project and replacing it with commerical claptrap and many suits! Then when they'd had their cake they jumped ship and moved on to even 'greener pastures' leaving a legacy of debt, job loss and a community that cant access funding anymore since 100,000,000 was wasted/squandered on a fancy flop on their doorstep.

It was a sunny morning and as the invited guests were led into the earth centre for the 'open day' RTTG's nervous looking managing director offered to attend a seperate meeting at the Denaby TARA to try and console these annoyed and dissapointed members of the community. He explained that RTTG was a not for profit company that would be facilitating experiments and sharing technological ideas with the heavy construction industry, Rapid Technology Transfer with the aim to make large and small companies more 'sustainable'. Welovetheearthcentre campaigners suggested that making companies such as Eon and BASF and Costain (just to name a few of the partner companies due to benefit) would be a step in the wrong direction. They said we need to move totally away from big business and centralised power and that the industry involved (heavy construction) supported by RTTG is to blame for many environmental and cultural crimes. Local TARA representatives gave the MD a lowdown of how they were involved in the earth centre and made clear that they had seen it all before and were not about to see another bunch of suits with technology walk all over their community again! The Managing Director said that he did not believe that community comes first he spoke about the global community and urged all to understand his bigger picture, this did not have the desired effect on the locals or the campaigners. A suggestion was made that RTTG consider the community and hold an 'open day' that would really be open to those interested he said he would be in touch and he has..............

In his email to welovetheearthcentre campaigners he thanked us for getting him in touch with the TARA group and then proceeded to inform the campaign that they would not be welcome as he doesnt see us as'producing the kind of relationship RTTG had hoped for' well the feeling is more than mutual and welovetheearthcentre core campaigners want nothing to do with this type of organisation or its concept and would never condone the work of many of its partner companies - please check them out for yourself

we are a global community that we can agree on but the community that is home to the earth centre is still disempowered by past and present mistakes of big business and technological growth, they need most to have more say in their future and the shaping of the land they live upon. We are on a destructive path and more heavy construction (destruction) is not good for anything but profit for the few. As the old saying goes you cant eat money and local people should take back the right to use land respectfully to meet their needs. Globalisation loving not for profit organisations, nuclear research facilities in Rotherham, habitats and species lost and destroyed so we can build new roads to accommodate 'abnormal loads' woodlands destroyed in the name of Tarmac and tescos, isnt time we stopped this carry on!

If 'the future is made of saint gobain' and we choose companies like Polyfloor 'covering the world' and Eon (working with the police to pepperspray their customers who wont pay up) then there is no doubt we will have a lovely world of glass, plastic, nuclear waste and totalitarism on our hands. RTTG can go back to their triangular wheel as far as we're concerned we dont want them here, we definitely dont need them, we are aware not everyone will share our opinion but thats to be expected and we remain full of love and hope for all our futures.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

community led proposal

hello, it seems there are only 4 months before DMBC is opening the door to proposals fof the Earth Centre, this site is obviously a target for many businesses and its gonna take alot of public support to make sure that the outcome is one that benefits the land and the people!

below is a copy of the proposal for a community led People's Earth Centre, we need help to make this a viable option for the council and the community, we ask you to contribute, this is an important piece of land and it would be a crime and a real shame to see it in the hand of greedy corporates once again!

The People’s Earth Centre

A proposal for a community led centre

The People’s Earth Centre is a volunteer based environmental community
project, seeking to facilitate community education and environmental
awareness programmes demonstrating household-level methods of sustainable
energy generation. With volunteer coordination of training programmes to develop new working skills, such as the installation of solar-panels, wind
generators, ground-source heat pumps and high-tech building solutions.

It is the intention that the centre becomes primarily a showcase for the
UK and other international communities, acting as a 'activity and
demonstration centre of excellence' to local schools, universities,
societies and individuals through educational training, with the target
user-group in this regard being local schoolchildren and young people and
the young and long-term unemployed. The secondary function of the centre would be to offer training courses to develop new working skills in environmental technology, for which the target user-group would initially be young people and the young and long-term unemployed.

Volunteers and professionals will deliver workshops to the community that target lowering energy costs and impact on the environment. Workshops will cover, grey water systems, cob building, insulation, pedal power and other affordable alternatives to enable people to support themselves and each other. Links will be made with Good Energy and Ecotricity and other ethical companies to establish employment opportunities.

The objective is to maintain and reopen this facility and to partially
adapt its use for the benefit of local people. The project will be rooted in
community-based development embracing old and new sustainable design principles. This project will help to ensure both the economic and environmental sustainability of a community that has been victim to long-term structural unemployment - a legacy of the closure of Denaby Main coal pit in the mid-1980s.

The centre is built on land that has a long and significant history, where
thousands of men, women and children worked the land and hundreds lost
their lives working in harsh conditions for corporate coal masters.
The mine was central to the life of the community until its closure in
1968 and what was left behind was a legacy of despair and high
unemployment among the local population of Conisbrough, Denaby and
Mexborough. In order to preserve the history and the memory of the lives
lost a community led initiative is being implemented to ensure a long and
sustainable future.

The Earth Centre has been derelict for five years with little maintenance therefore we propose a sensitive refurbishment of the existing buildings, regeneration of the landscape, utilising a good mix of traditional techniques and modern technologies to provide a sustainable place for the community and a strong precedent for other communities to take direct action within their own environment.

The People’s Earth Centre is to be run primarily by volunteers and donations. We have established an initial team of 30 volunteers that can commit 900 hours (equivalent of £7 per hr) a week for the first year of operation, this equates to £6300 time in kind per week totalling £327600 per year. The volunteers have had extensive experience in running environmental community projects and will have relevant health and safety certificates and CRB checks. A ‘Volunteer Coordinating Team’ will co-ordinate the safety and security of the site and of the community whilst they are using the space.

Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council (DMBC) will be invited to have representation on the project’s Coordination and Organisation Committee, responsible for overseeing the strategic management of the project as a key stake holding partner of the project. The following is a model of The People’s Earth Centre management plan,

“Coordination & Organisation Committee”
Members include representatives from local community and voluntary orgs, the community development dept of DMBC, architects, renewable-energy appliance design experts, a representative from the local Community Development Trust and reps from the local education authority.
Strategic Supervision
The People’s Earth Centre, (within
which there will be a Management
Committee, who devolve tasks to
a Volunteer Coordinating Team).

The proposal is that the People’s Earth Centre would have flexibility to have responsibility for day-to-day management of the proposed project, with the Coordination and Organisation Committee meeting regularly once every 6 weeks to oversee the progress of the project, in general ensuring the project is maintaining it’s achievement of fulfilling it’s short to medium term goals and that long-term strategies remain on course, as well as, if appropriate, monitoring the allocated budget should monies have been received.

Raising funds and resources to sustain The People’s Earth Centre

The project is designed to run without incurring huge costs, money ruined it last time. In order to establish the resources needed to achieve this we will use an initial start up grant of £5000 from South Yorkshire Community Foundation and will apply for further funding from a number of other sources including The Coalfield Regeneration Fund. This will enable the centre to have sufficient tools and certification to begin the first stages of the project.

Once The People’s Earth Centre is running we will apply for funding from The Arts Council for installation projects and will investigate further sources of funding throughout.

We anticipate that within the first year we will double the amount of volunteer time committed to the project estimating time in kind in the second year to be £655200 per year. This is based on the interest received from volunteer organisations such as ‘Pixie Works, British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV), Voluntary Action Doncaster and Rotherham, Circle Communities, businesses such as Zedfactory Ltd and individuals that have expressed intentions to be involved.

A shop and café will be opened as soon as sufficient health & safety measures are in place and will be run by the volunteers. Products will be made from locally sourced food and organic food that will be grown on site. The People’s Earth Centre will establish a relationship with local food outlets to acquire donated food and vegetables that can be used to create meals and snacks. This will help to promote sustainability and community cohesion, the shop and café will promote healthy eating and will adopt a no meat policy for health & safety reasons and to lessen any impact on the environment. Research has shown that local people that currently use the area around the centre would use the shop and café regularly.

A recycling facility will be constructed on site and local community and business will be invited to use the facilities to reduce their impact on the environment. The materials collected will either be used in installations or exchanged for cash at local recycling plants. A composting area will be open to the community who can use it to dispose of their green waste.

During the first year of The People’s Earth Centre creative events will be held where camping will be an option. A contribution of £20 for waged and £10 for unwaged will be the minimum fee to camp. We estimate that an average of 30 people will attend each event. This is based on interest received from individuals and the success of similar events at gatherings held by likeminded organisations such as Coed Hills, Northern Green Gathering and Treefest. The camping events will include environmental workshops and campaigns, permaculture, organic veggie cafes, stalls, healers and alternative therapies, kid’s space, theatre and circus workshops, and a showcase of environment living in action, including solar power and wind power (eg a solar powered cinema). Our aim is to promote sustainable living and co-operative working.

Local businesses will be offered advertising space and market space during events. There will be a small charge for this service. Based on the success of trading market space achieved by similar local projects such as Northern Green Gathering, Treefest, Shambala, Bomfest and from the interest already shown by the local community we estimate that this will generate funds for the centre.

Volunteering is one of the most rewarding ways you can make a real difference to people living in the toughest circumstances. Most people volunteer because they want to give something back and find they get much more in return. The People’s Earth Centre will work closely with volunteer organisations to provide opportunities for local and international volunteering. This will generate vast amounts of time in kind that will help cover maintenance, housekeeping, caretaking and teachings of the site.

The original Architect of the Conference Centre and the Shop, ‘Bill Dunster’ and his team have agreed to contribute through voluntary action. This would be to assist volunteers to gain the correct knowledge of the buildings in order to maintain them and learn about the skill used to make them. This will help reduce costs and provide learning opportunities and skill share situations for volunteers and local community.

WWoofing opportunities will be offered at The People’s Earth Centre, WWOOFing is volunteering to work on organic farms to learn the principles involved in organic farming. A WWOOFer is a volunteer who works on an organic farm for a few hours (generally 5-6 hours a day) in exchange of food, bed and learning experience. The person who owns the organic farm is called a WWOOF host. To facilitate the entire WWOOFing activity, there are various WWOOF Organisations. These are not for profit organizations that provide a list of hosts and membership cards to aspiring WWOOFers. Dorm and camping facilities will be free to individuals committing time in kind through this activity. Hedge laying will be carried out with the aim to completely remove the metal fencing. Allotments and the Forest Gardens will be maintained and cared for.

Bee keeping will be introduced to the site with the aim to help local biodiversity and educate children about wildlife and the environment. Volunteers will have the opportunity to learn how to keep bees and process the honey.

Community Welfare & Education

We plan to collaborate with the Miners Gala that runs once a year in Denaby and aim to work closely with the ‘Pin The Pits’ Campaign to support their work and the local community. We feel that ‘Pin The Pits’ the campaign headed by local artist Rachel Horne is an important goal for our nations history and culture and that it complements the landscape and community that is home to The People’s Earth Centre. The activities involved bring together old and young from many backgrounds and areas and will benefit our local and wider community.

A weekly seed exchange will be held at the centre and the community will be invited to help construct a seed and plant information base. This project will help to establish native species and share the knowledge of our local environment. Volunteers and communities will then collaborate to connect and develop local Abundance Projects to create a map of wild food throughout the region. A website will be launched to publicise and network the project.

Local naturalist groups, Wildlife Trust, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Friends of the Earth (FOE) will all be invited to work with the centre to develop a regional map of wildlife. Local community will be involved in running a project to preserve and protect areas and species.

The Café will host a monthly ‘Community Cook-up’ event where all are invited to bring along an item of food that will be prepared and served by volunteers. The event will incorporate art and music and give local artists an opportunity to showcase their talents and meet their communities. The event will promote healthy eating, The People’s Earth Centre, community cohesion, local business and environmental awareness.

The jetty and ponds on the Earth Centre site will be open for fishing and an onsite fishing steering committee will be established and run by volunteers to ensure the proper use, management and caretaking of the activities. This will benefit local angling clubs and youth.

An open air art gallery will be established with local artists invited to carry out installations as well as schools, universities, children’s groups and others. Art is an integral part of human nature and The People’s Earth Centre intends to be a common ground for creativity and expression to be used by all. The art will be shared with all the area.

A skate park area will be designed through a project where local youths and skateboarders take the initiative and help to build the area. This will engage the local young people and create a vibrant centre. The youths will have the opportunity to then volunteer for other activities and learning programmes on site.

Local outdoor pursuit volunteers have agreed to assist the running of the climbing and zip wire facilities. They are experienced instructors who hold appropriate certificates and have had extensive training. Plans are to organise canoeing and a range of outdoor adventures.

Traditional activities will be available to the community and organisations they will cover a wide range of traditional craft and ancient skill. Such as:

Woodland crafts; coppicing, besom (broom) making, basket making, chair making, hurdle making, rake making, fork making, handle making, ladder making, charcoal burning, broaches and pegs
- A green woodwork area will be constructed using recycled materials and locally sourced timber. Volunteers and community will use the facility to make their own tools and art.

Building crafts; bender building, yurt building, earth ship construction, roundhouse construction, steam bending, walling, wooden building, thatching, slate cutting
- Materials will be selected from local sustainable sources or recycled material. Opportunities for schools and community groups to construct their own shelter will be offered this will serve as an educational exercise to raise awareness of low impact living and community action.

Crafts of the field; hedge laying, dry-stone walling, making stiles, animal husbandry
- These techniques will be used to reconstruct the borders around site by volunteers from local colleges and community with the aim to eventually take down the metal fence which will then be recycled and used for art.

Workshop crafts; coracle making, charcoal burning, chair making, founding, turning, boat building, rope and net making, knife making, stick and crooks, making field gates, potting, brick making, tile making, paper making, basketry, rush and straw work, jewellery craft, sled making, carving
- Plans are to construct a foundry and use existing buildings and materials to hold the suggested workshops. Trained and skilled volunteers will assist participants to learn the skills and create pieces of work.

Textiles and home crafts; spinning and weaving, wool craft, cotton craft, dyeing, candle making, soap making, cloth making, needle craft, felting, hat making, clothing alterations, blanket making
- A sewing room will be created with facilities and machines for public use. Participants will be encouraged and assisted to make their own looms and use recycled materials to create household essentials and art.

Power of the Community – Our story

Although the much loved Earth Centre had become a curiously vacant ghost ship the people had not forgotten. Many had wondered why it was no more, and more questions arose as a corporate war-games company moved in followed by the Police and the MOD. This once lively colourful resource was now in the hands of the few and they were shooting at each other!

A group began searching for like-minded folk and it wasn’t long before a few became many. To begin with they contacted the Council and asked politely if they could access the site to harvest the abundant fruit and medicinal plants so that they could be distributed to local community groups. Unfortunately they were refused on the grounds that the fruit was nearly all rotten and infected. Saddened by this the group took direct action and retrieved a haul of apples that were then made into lovely pies and shared amongst the community.

The group decided then that more community action was needed and that The Earth Centre was far too important and must be saved and reopened for the people. Initially they asked the Council to hold a meeting with the community to discuss the future of the site but to no avail. In response a public meeting held by the people was arranged and local press was contacted to spread the word that all were invited to share in this meeting and have their say over the future of the Earth Centre.

The public meeting was a huge success for the campaign and the community, it was well attended by locals, former employees, councillors from various parties, Green Party members, local volunteer workers, BTCV, ‘Compost’ John of York, local businessmen and women and community groups such as Pixie Works. It was established that all were in favour of reclaiming the Earth Centre as a community led project. The meeting venue was Denaby & Cadeby Miners Welfare Club and it was noted by former worker and Labour Councillor for Denaby, Chris Mills that ten years ago the original Earth Centre group met in the very same place. The feeling was positive and a second meeting was arranged.

During the campaign members of the We Love The Earth Centre group meet every Sunday at the Earth Centre to greet new people, learn more about the ecology of the area and enjoy the space around. An event was organised prior to the public meeting so that people could meet each other and take part in ‘Bender building for a better world’. On the day there was a great mix of community members such as local families, university students, local artists and local tradesmen and surprisingly the Police although they did not help construct the bender!

The group has met every Sunday since October not always in great numbers but we anticipate once the winter passes the people will grow like wildflowers. We intend to continue to share skills with one another and make positive actions to highlight the need for The People’s Earth Centre and to complement through art and community action the natural landscape.

This is a rough draft and we invite you to contribute to your ideas and thoughts this is a proposal for The People’s Earth Centre and everyone is welcome.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Community first! We dont trust the fox to fix the chicken coop

The Earth Centre and ensuring that the community is at the heart of its future.

As you may be aware a campaign has been running to revive the Earth Centre in Doncaster as a community space and environment skill centre. Since October we have had no help or support from Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council (DMBC). Our calls to DMBC for a public meeting have been ignored and in response the people held their own meeting on December 15th 2009. From the meeting it was established that a common interest to see the Earth Centre used by the community was shared.

Our next public meeting is scheduled for January, 19th at 7pm at the Denaby and Cadeby Miners Welfare Club
– all are welcome and we will be discussing the outcome of campaigners meeting with the Millennium Commission on January, 14th and the Mayors response to questions by campaigners posed at the Full Council Meeting on January 18th. We Love The Earth Centre campaign has it own proposal for a community led People’s Earth Centre with volunteering environmental education and skill sharing at the heart of activities and this will be shared at the meeting on the 19th.

In the last few days it has come to our attention through much research that a limited liability company (RTTG) Rapid Technology Transfer Group and the DMBC have been privately making plans for the future of the site including an open day. To our knowledge this has not been publicised and very few people in the community are aware so in order that the community not be excluded again! We feel it important to share this information and urge you to attend:

Earthw rks
Development Planning 2010
First Quarter – Open Days - Tuesday, Feb 9th and Wednesday, March 31st
This is an open invitation to all organisations and individuals willing to contribute expertise to restore the site of the former Earth Centre as a national resource for researching, understanding and practising sustainability. Please e-mail to register and receive full details. Outdoor wear is recommended. Photography for personal use is permitted in all areas.

The We Love The Earth Centre campaign is concerned that this event has not been shared widely and we remain insistent that the community be put before profit and that they are involved in all aspects of planning and developing the future of the Earth Centre. It is also important to us that the site be used for grassroots development and be inclusive of all so we hope that you will study the motives and plans of this company and share your own visions.

Below is a list of partners of the company RTTG; investigate their activities and motives!! Together they are responsible for chemical, construction, aerospace, defense, 3d tech, nuclear, audiovisual engineering and much more!
Costain, White Design, eOn, Scottish Southern, Modcell, Royal Haskoning, Complete Energy Solutions, National Non-Food Crops Centre, SITEC, MTech, Pilkington, Peglers, Senior Architectural Systems, Glazpart, LBK Packaging, JCB, Kita, Holz Schiller, Saint Gobain, Beta Technology, Stramit, Hemsec, Titon, BASF, Greenspec, Green Building Store, Ransomes,Kognitiv, Polyflor, First Vision, Logix , Corus, Marmox, Balehaus, Cospica, MET-UK/Spice, Strata Housing

In April DMBC will be accepting proposals this open day is part of the RTTG proposal. For information about the We Love The Earth Centre proposal please email or come along to the meeting on the 19th alternatively keep checking our blog all are invited to contribute.

It is the aim of the We Love The Earth Centre group to bring together community to share ideas and skills and to work to preserve and protect our environment and our culture.

Love and respect.