Appendix 1 – People, organisations and movements that shaped us from the 1970s

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There were many organisations, groups and projects from the 1970′s and 1980′s  which formed ‘the world around Pecket’.  Here we name the ones that supported and/or influenced us most.  Pecket developed at a time when there was a wealth of other organisations of people asserting their rights and planning their own projects. We gained strength from this environment!

* Centreprise, a community bookshop in Hackney, whose supporters started to publish and encourage the writing of books written by local working class people and school children, reflecting their lives and experience.

* The Federation of Worker Writer and Community Publishers, a national association of the many working class writing groups and publishing projects that were springing up all over the country

* Write First Time, a collective of students and tutors producing the National Students paper, for students who were working on their reading and writing.   Write First Time organized the first residential writing weekend at Losehill Hall in Derbyshire (in 1975) for people working on their reading and writing difficulties, and started a movement of residential writing weekends up and down the country.  They were later to organize the week long residential course at Nottingham University (1984) that was to have such an impact on the group in Halifax.

* Gatehouse Project, a collective employing students and tutors, publishing books by people working on their reading and writing and running writing workshops to encourage writing amongst people with these difficulties

*  The Gatehouse project  ‘Opening Time writing development resource pack’ (ed. Chris Hoy and Gillian Frost), written by people working on their reading and writing, including people in Halifax (sections by  Peter Goode, ‘A beginner reader is not a beginner thinker; Joe Flanagan, ‘Tackling a long piece of work; writing before you can spell’ and The Horton House Magazine group ‘Shouldn’t it always be like Thursdays?’; Horton House Life Story group, ‘It all started with smells’).

* The national writing development project set up by Write First Time, run by Sue Shrapnel (Gardener) who travelled the country, including to Halifax, encouraging writing within adult basic education, out of which came the publication  ‘Conversations with Strangers’ a writing development pack.

* The Special Activities Research Project, run by Robert Merry a student from Beauchamp Lodge Literacy Scheme, London, and a member of the Write First Time collective.  The research was funded by ALBSU (Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Unit, the body set up by the Government to develop adult basic education provision).  Robert visited and interviewed people in adult basic education nationally (including in Halifax) to research the value of special activities in adult basic education and wrote a report:  Merry,R. (1984) More than Reading and Writing: Literacy Schemes and Other Activities. Special Development Report. London: Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Unit [archived at Ruskin College] 

* National Federation of Voluntary Literacy Schemes, headed by Eric Appleby, which represented and brought together the many voluntary literacy schemes which had been springing up all over the country, and which organized national residential training events and conferences.

* National Association of Students, which although sadly short-lived, was a highpoint in the development of student confidence and the assertion of their rights and needs.  The residential event they organized at Northern College was a great moment in their history and was attended by students from Halifax.  It had a profound effect on the people who were to become the founders of Pecket Well College, 3 of the group (Billy Breeze,  Michael Callaghan and Michelle Baynes) becoming regional representatives for a time.  Michelle was also Secretary of the group for some time.

* There were drop-in Centres like the Corn Exchange in Leeds and literacy schemes for offenders for example Bradford NACRO (National association for care and resettlement of offenders).

* There were many colleges, (for example Park Lane College, Leeds, Dewsbury College), voluntary schemes, adult education schemes and college provision, where tutors were supportive and encouraged and helped their students to come to Pecket Well College.

* Research and Practice in Adult Literacy (RaPAL) and independent network of learners, teachers, managers and researchers in adult education.  A membership organisation which focuses on the role of literacies in adult life.  It organises an annual conference and publishes a journal three times a year.

* Literacy Research Centre, based at Lancaster University which works to understand the role of literacy in all areas of social life and to improve communication and collaboration between researchers and educational practice

Other Community organisations offering services and support:

  • CETU (Community Education Training Unit, Calderdale)
  • Bradford Community Arts
  • Councils for Voluntary Services.
  • Organizations of disabled people e.g. Calder Valley Club, DART (Disabled Advice and Resource Team, Calderdale), Invalid or Valid as it became known later on, an organization of disabled people fighting for their rights in Bradford.