One of the cornerstones of community living and holistic education is participation. Community members participate in our systems, providing the energy for the systems to operate AND contributing to the sense of inclusion for themselves and others.
One of the main ways we invite participation is through our daily Rota System. At the beginning of each week, each community member signs up to contribute to our four daily meal-related shifts (see below). The number of shifts we ask each member to do depends on their role and the number of people on-site. Typically we ask workshop participants and community guests to contribute three shifts per week, FIRs to contribute three to five shifts per week and volunteers to contribute three to six shifts per week. We do our best to maintain equity in this process.
For each shift, one person serves as the team Focaliser. This person is usually an experienced staff member who is familiar with the shift requirements and capable of guiding other members of the team. We also provide written guidelines for each shift in the form of a checklist that might help the Focaliser ensure the shift is properly completed.
- Breakfast Preparation (1 hour): One or two people, depending on the size of the group, prepare and lay out our buffet breakfast. While we ask each person to wash up their own dishes, the breakfast team is responsible for clearing up after the conclusion of breakfast.
- Lunch Preparation (1 hour): One or two people, depending on the size of the group, prepare and lay out our buffet lunch. While we ask each person to wash up their own dishes, the lunch team is responsible for clearing up after the conclusion of lunch. The lunch team usually consists of staff members or community guests, because workshop participants are in their sessions right up until lunchtime.
- Dinner Preparation (2 hours): Three or four people, depending on the size of the group, prepare and serve our buffet dinner. This meal is typically the most elaborate one of the day, which opens the door to creativity and originality in cooking.
- Dinner Cleanup (45 minutes): Three or four people, depending on the size of the group, do all of the washing up after the meal including personal dishes. This includes drying and putting away all items and ensuring all kitchen spaces are clean, orderly and ready for the next day’s breakfast team.
Each day there are opportunities for community members in any role to offer sessions of interest for them, including dancing, playing music, making art, playing games or anything else! We maintain an Offers Board where these are listed.
Daily Tasks (Staff Only)
Each morning while the workshop session is underway, the staff (core team, volunteers and FIRs) work together to maintain and improve the centre. Staff members select one or more tasks to do daily for one or more weeks. Here are some examples of typical daily tasks:
- Administrative work.
- Care and feeding of the resident cats.
- Cleaning and tidying the Long Room prior to each workshop session.
- Cleaning and tidying the “Nook” area, entry and dining terrace.
- Cleaning and tidying the “Shower Block” and outdoor toilets.
- Coordinating laundry services
- Coordinating transport for beach trips and other outings.
- Shopping for food and supplies.
- Watering, weeding and harvesting in the vegetable garden.
- Watering, weeding and harvesting other areas of the garden such as flower beds and trees.
Projects and Other Tasks (Staff Only)
From time to time there may be larger-scale or longer-term projects that one or more staff members might work on. For example:
- Cleaning and organizing the tool shed.
- Monitoring and maintaining the centre vehicles.
- Improvements to the centre’s physical plant, such as painting, plumbing or repairs.
- Maintaining the lawn and other areas by mowing and strimming.