Wednesday, 29 July 2009

SER anti Nazi badges

The SER committee in response to recent events felt it would be useful to make new badges that pledge our collective opposition to racism and fascism. We had 50 button badges made (25mm diameter) and gave them out a Tolpuddle. They are all gone but if districts or members want them we can always get more made up.

SER sends message to Vestas workers

The following message of solidarity was sent to the 600 Vestas workers facing unemployment.
Dear Colleague

I am writing to you as the Chair of the South East Region Woodcraft Folk to extend our solidarity with you and other Vestas employees trying to defend their jobs and families against the threatened closure of the plants on the Ise of Wight and Newport.

It seems ludicrous to any right thinking person that this should be allowed to happen. Every day it seems there are new stories in the media of the threats of global warming and its impact upon the flora and fauna of the planet. The government itself has talked of the need to "green" the economy, and evidence shows that the government talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk- a comparison of the "green" economy in Britain and Germany illustrates the point. It seems incredible that the government has stated it will create 400,000 green jobs in the next five years but is willing to stand by and allow such jobs and their incumbents to go to the wall. I note that the government is going to give Vestas £6 million for off shore development. This handout should be caveated with an insistance that the plants stay open.

The threatened closures are just one more vicious example of working people paying the price of the recession brought about by the bankers' and employers' greed.

I understand you are in court today. I wish you luck.

You are not just fighting for today, but also for the future. The Woodcraft Folk as a co-operative children's and youth movement understand and applaud your stand for the generations who will have to live with the consequences of a consumerist society and a class of people who put the buck before the needs of people and planet.

Yours in solidarity

Paul Bemrose
SER Chairperson

Saturday, 25 July 2009

SER Woodies at Tolpuddle 09

The Woodcraft Folk have been attending Tolpuddle for a number of years now, with our presence organised by members from the South West region. However, this year the usual organisers were unable to attend and members from the South East stepped in to help ensure our presence continued to be felt.

For the first time the Woodcraft Folk actually appeared (squuare logo and all) in the festival programme produced by the TUC. And although eventually the space allocated to us was inadequate for running some activities, the Folk made the best of it and invaded other open spaces to play parachute games! Activities the Folk provided included making gods eyes, singing, friendship bracelets and parachute games. All were well received by the young people who dropped in on activities. The SW members also tried to get a list of names together of interested adults who might want to help start a new group in Dorest.

The South East brought new button badges "Woodies against the Nazis" to give away, as well as pens (promoting the new SER website) and postcards that included the HQ phone number - should people want more information.

On Sunday the Woodcraft Folkdrawing members from Spelthorne, Portsmouth, Southampton, Brighthelmstone, Oxford, Bath, Swindon, Exeter and London joined the procession that marched through Tolpuddle. Placing ourselves at the back, we made a lively section of about 70 people with flags, banners, chants and singing. It was clear that bystanders and others in the procession knew we were there!

The afternoon finished at the stage set up in front of the martyr's museum with speeches from Brendan Barber and veteran socialist Tony Benn. This was followed by music from Transglobal Underground and the Bard of Barking- Billy Bragg.

It was a great weekend, enjoyed by all. Everyone felt it went well and the Woodcraft Folk were highly visible. Our numbers are growing year on year and it would be great to have more people from the South West, South East and London next year

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Sussex Pioneers Craft Camp

The craft camp was attended by 42 Pioneers from Hove, Eastbourne, Steyning and Brighthelmstone, over June weekend at Peter's farm at Kingston near Lewes in East Sussex. This event has been going for a number of years now and is always a well attended event.
The Pioneers did metalwork, recycled masks, digital photography and bushcraft (making stuff with wood and knives - spinners, tent pegs, cars ...). They also made little fires to cook their sausages on for dinner on Saturday night (eaten with chips and baked beans), then they baked bananas with chocolate in the embers of their fires. Later in the evening there was a campfire with songs. It was a lovely relaxed weekend which everyone- Pioneers and adults, really enjoyed.

Peter was great, giving lifts in the tractor and trailer and generally being very helpful (think he enjoyed it to and commented what lovely children they all were.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Woodies in Tolpuddle...coming soon!

South East Region members of the Woodcraft Folk will be joining in the celebration of the Dorset Farm Labourers who were sent to Australia for daring to organise a trade union over 170 years ago. Yes we're off to Tolpuddle! There will be members from Portsmouth, Southampton, Brighthelmstone and Spelthorne are turning up mob handed.
Tanya Harris has co-ordinated the SE's presence, and liaised with comrades from the South West who usually comprise of the Woodcraft Folk presence.
So its from Fri 17th July to Sun 19th July.
If you're there come along and say hello!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Calling all South East DFs

Morgan Jones wirites:

“DF South east Thing is at Bushy Wood scout camp from the 15th-17th of July.

DFs should arrive at about 2pm on the Wednesday and we are aiming to leave the site at about 2pm on the Friday.
Please email me at if you want to come along.”

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Feedback from training camp


Good Being
told off
Good Company
Seeing different Tents
The Food
New Friends and old friends
New games
Wood work
Carol wanting to go in the woods with Paul (?!)
Enjoyed meeting people from everywhere
Sharing Stories/Info was useful
Enjoyed team building and sharing games
Real activities we can take back to groups
Like the relaxed atmosphere
Enjoyed the lie-ins!
Good opportunity to network, got some useful contacts
We'd all come again - thanks!
No Bedtime!
The games
Making new friends
Loved that the weather was with us most of the time
Like putting up yurt and tipis
Loved the networking and knowledge sharing
Loved the cooked breakfast
Loved the informal structure
Like that it was mainly family children only
Everyone cooperated doing everything
The site was good
Nice to know new people
Fun to taste the food - glad it was there Friday evening
Good activities Learned new games, songs and activities to bring home
Like the string team building game
Love the English weather!!!
Would like to come for longer so we can get to know each other better
Nice that we didn’t have to get up early
Good with a trip into town


Bad Weather
Not enough animals
Too short
Not always enough time for translation
Too many up too late with lack of consideration for others wanting to sleep
Public site

For Next time?
Accounts for new people
Food Hygiene
More training opportunities please
More people from all over UK?
Poss longer camp
Bring in people from outside woodcraft
Better weather
Bigger meeting area
More veggie food
More skits in the evening
More breaks in the programme
More thought for socializing tents

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Never too early

The inter regional camp between the South East and the South West will take place from 14th August to 21st August 2010.

The site booked is “Lyon’s Copse”in Hampshire, near Southampton. Its at the western end of the SE region and just east of the boundary of the SW.

It belongs to the Scouts and you can view photographs at:
index.htm. We have booked the whole site excluding the pine cabin, i.e. three fields, and the Lyon’s lodge.

The intention is to offer lodge accommodation to comrades with disabilities in the first instance. Two rooms downstairs can be adapted for people with mobility issues. We would welcome any feedback from you on how we can ensure that the camp is set up to be as inclusive as possible.
The first newsletter has been written but will not be issued until this years' summer camps have been held. If you want an advanced copy, please email Beni on

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

South East regional training event

On the weekend of 15th to 17th May the South East Regional Committee organised a training camp for new leaders and DFs at Bexhill.

There were about 60 participants including 18 members of DUI, our sister organisation in Denmark. Districts represented were: Brighthelmstone, Eastbourne, Hastings, Kennington, Knaphill, Spelthorne, Walton, Southampton and Portsmouth.

The weekend included sessions on KPing, WF new youth leader training programme, an introduction to the WF, playing games, carving tent pegs, putting up yurts and tentipis and learning a little about DUI.

Rose Mitchell- the new regional worker came to visit on Saturday night, as did the WF Chair- Danny Rowe.

The feedback has been entirely positive and the DFs and new leaders felt connected to the wider movement by meeting people from other districts. Feedback certainly indicated that members want more such events. The Regional Committee will be looking into the possibility.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

This is the first entry in our blog so we thought we should tell you about our new website where you can see all the southeast district's calendar of events, pictures and other fun stuff. You can see all of them on our map here.

You can add the map you your blog too with this code: