Getting organised – setting up our group

 Our Calderdale Students’ committee mobilised and Billy remembers “We met with Gillian in a number of venues. We used different places and we were getting thrown out of Horton House anyway because we spelt ‘biscuit’ wrong in our posters”. Luckily we were offered use of free rooms at CETU (Community Education Training Unit) and a meeting room in Queens Road.  We formed a steering group. Whilst archiving we found the original typed document formalising the Calderdale Student’s Committee: click here to see it:

Calderdale Students Committee start up document

Also the last copy of Not Written Off: click here to see it  Not Written Off 6

Working together on these early dreams by producing Not Written Off and the Opening Time Pack we became a a strongly knit group. Having thrown off old labels of ‘student’ and ‘tutor’ we had loved working together as equals – this approach was evolving into what would later be known as ‘The Pecket Way’.

We were steaming ahead and the group of founder members mobilized and by the end of 1986 we had:

* Set up a steering group to work towards our own residential centre

* Met in Gillian’s flat above an old co-op building at Pecket Well where her dining room doubled as a base for the group’s office

* Dipped into our own pockets for all expenses

* Taken advice on fundraising to rent and convert the old co-op into a residential college

* Got support from many sources including local councillors offering free meeting spaces

* Become members of regional and national groups e.g. NFVLS (National Federation of Voluntary Literacy Schemes)

* Members received training in recruitment and equal opportunities and appointed Gillian (a founder member) and Ali (who had been helping the group as Community Education Training Worker) as joint co-ordinators and Ann as Secretary.

* As workers took up their posts an office was rented in Gibbet Street, Halifax and they, along with Ann as Secretary, and what were now the Pecket Wellians, began the long process of, in the words of one early participant “Getting the dream of a residential college”.

We had become the ‘Pecket Wellians’ and there was no stopping us!

Click to read Josie Pollentine’s (previously Gillian Frost) personal descriptions of founder members which you can download here.