When The Party Is Over

Parties generally leave you with a lot of cleaning up to do, but what happens when the purpose of the party is to clean up? Brockwood had two such parties over two weeks in July. Participants came from as far afield as Spain, France, Poland and Holland to help out and the amount of work accomplished was phenomenal. The first week’s ‘work-party’ was for alumni of Brockwood Park School, and the second open to all. A total of around 40 people volunteered over the period, each devoting 5 hours a day for 6 days, to working in the vegetable garden, Grove, grounds, swimming pool, kitchen, and housekeeping. When they were not busy with work, participants set time aside for dialogues, K tapes, yoga classes, Shiatsu, Alexander Technique, Qi Gong, music-making, as well as informal evenings and a trip to Winchester.

Three participants reflect on their participation in the Work-Parties.

I was going up the hill that leads to the Brockwood Lodge, slowly immersing myself in the all-present energy that permeates this place. As the main house emerged from between the trees I felt like I was coming home. Again! There was a movement in silence there which left me spellbound. I have often wondered where it comes from, but, being none the wiser after all these years, I content myself simply to experience it.

Of course, this gentle, unobtrusive feeling tends to leave once you get to Reception, to be swept away by Brockwood’s activities. And activities there were many, as we had come together with friends old and new, to help with some of the things that needed doing around the school and grounds.

It was a week of truly great times. Outdoor work, dialogues (and you know how those can go), rota, morning jobs and all the rest of normal the Brockwood day. Re-connecting with some old friends and connecting with some new ones, I see a lot of potential in the Alumni and Friends of Brockwood network. It constitutes a formidable force that could help in many areas, not necessarily by people physically being present, but also by providing help from afar, given that we live in the age of digital proximity.

Brockwood is my family and I am sure many of us feel the same and are ready to help if an opportunity presents itself. What we would need now is a tool to help us organize. Hopefully, our efforts did help in the long run and the school will invite us again - I'll be back!"

-Kris Gorski


I needed holidays or shall I say holy days. After working for the NHS (mental health), and being a coordinator for Headway (a charity for survivors of a brain injury) for about 17 years. I wanted to find out what the difference was to working at Brockwood, and if it would be possible to work in a different way. I had forgotten what it felt like to be part of the working environment at Brockwood. Besides this I love Brockwood, I feel at home there, and I can be myself more than in other places, and I always meet lovely people.

As soon as I entered the grounds of Brockwood and smelled it (yes Brockwood has its own smell), I felt as if a load had fallen off me and I started to relax. I listened to my body and mind very carefully and also to other people all in a relaxed way. I connected with the place, the people and myself. Connecting was what it was mostly about for me.

I love the work in the kitchen (something I did 33 years ago) and felt myself in a time warp. I saw the same person chopping the veg, but only with more experience in life and wiser. The combination of work, K time (I re- discovered the dialogue in a new and fresh way), morning meeting etc. was very balanced and made the whole experience complete. I could take the time for what was happening in my mind, body, and spirit. I felt so relaxed at the end of the week that I felt I gained more than I had given. I hope to take the spirit with me when I go back to work tomorrow. Thank you all for making sure I had a fantastic holiday.

-Nolda Schulte


Coming back home to give a hand was a great pleasure and a privilege! On the first week, with our Brockwoodians brothers and sisters, we 'played', in the mornings, around the garden, the housekeeping or the kitchen, while in the afternoons, we moved our bodies and observed/inquired. We juggled a bit with the schedule and even tried morning jobs in the afternoon. If you wish to know how it went come to the next one and you will learn at first hand!

On the second week, Brockwoodians, parents and friends of the school became great friends in the walled garden, the Grove, the Cloisters, the Pavilions, the wings, the Rose-garden rooms, the swimming pool, around the wood pile and Art Barn.

We also had great fun with Qi Qong, Shiatsu, Alexander technique, intuitive games, photo-shoots, and learning about vitamin D and wilderness.

These intensive weeks were full of hard work, friendship, wellbeing, great food and fun… It would be nice to see you on the next one!

-Sonia Figueras


The success of the recent work-parties was largely due to the untiring work of two key volunteers, Sonia Figueras and Paco Calvo, without whom it would not have been possible to run everything as smoothly and as 'hassle-free' as happened. We are very grateful to both of them and they are pictured here on a night out at a restaurant, a small token of thanks for their great assistance.