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Celebrating the Roger Pickering Common Ground Solidarity Fund

Did you know about the Solidarity Fund? Because of a very kind legacy left by Roger Pickering, youth organisation Woodcraft Folk were able to offer places on their Common Ground camp for a reduced fee for young participants and volunteers from the UK who would benefit the most. The charity are very pleased that everyone who applied received support, either from the Solidarity Fund or through their own local districts’ fundraising. 

Woodcraft Folk have been hearing amazing stories of people’s time at camp, and the charity are very grateful that Roger’s legacy was able to support a total of 150 participants to take part! They got to experience the international fun, community and skill-sharing of Common Ground, when they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to attend. Woodcraft Folk want to celebrate the opportunities this funding gave young people – here are some stories and photos from their time at camp.

Jumping into Pioneers (Brighthelmstone)
Costumes for Alice in Wonderland Night (photo by B)

“I loved meeting all the new people and making new friends. I couldn’t have gone to camp without the help from Woodcraft, thank you so much.” – Pioneer, aged 10

“I’m on a low income and would never have considered coming to camp without the opportunity of funding. […] We all had an amazing time, new friendships were made and lots of participation across the program and they all contributed to the daily rota responsibilities. […] Mathew aged 16 appreciated the freedom within the safety of the camp (stewards and respectful adults) to explore his identity and abilities. ” – B, leader to five young people

Volunteering for site services, photo by B

“5 [participants] moved back to France straight from camp, they enjoyed it so much they would like to set [up] a Woodcraft/IFM group in France.” – Stephen, district co-ordinator

“As I sit reflecting on my 5 days at Common Ground I feel a sense of contentment that I am trying to understand and untangle.  What is this contentment and why do I feel this?  I think it is a collection of little satisfying moments – the human connections that make us feel alive and show us our purpose: the previous Elfin coming up thanking you for something; laughing about some dinner secret with your clan; working with a young person to solve an urn or tent problem; the Palestinian music that drew people like a magnet to our fire.  As well as all the things that generally don’t happen: the flexing of big egos; the shouting; the judgement of others; being unforgiving to others in difficult circumstances.” – Brighthelmstone district member

“The funding meant we could come to the camp!  The kids had an amazing time and didn’t want to leave.” – Brighthelmstone district member

Connections at the closing ceremony (Brighthelmstone district)

“Our DF’s who benefitted from the solidarity payments were a crucial part of our camp – they came up early to set up the big tents and kitchen tent and worked tirelessly as Clan leaders and modelling fantastic kindness and leadership skills to us all!” – Gail, district chair

“I would take this opportunity to say big “Thank you” to people who made our Common Ground experience possible. We really enjoyed it and learned so much from it. 

I am originally from Ukraine and this year was rather difficult for us… it was probably the most hard time I’ve been through. 

My two children and I have at Common Ground that special connection with people we all need at the moment and we continually speaking about those days when it all was about friendship and international exchanges but not a space for war”. Ivan, Anastasia and Irina

All about friendship, but not a space for war (photo by Irina)

If you were supported by the Solidarity Fund and would like to share your memories of camp, you can email them to; ask your Woodcraft Folk district co-ordinator to pass them on; or you can share your story anonymously with this form (remember to say that you were a Solidarity Fund recipient) 

Roger’s legacy has made a massive difference to these young people. If you’re considering making a charitable donation in your will, visit Woodcraft Folk’s legacy giving page to find out more about how to leave a gift to Woodcraft Folk, to help young Woodcraft Folk members of the future experience more camps like Common Ground.

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