Being there (short version)
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Getting to Pecket was a feat in itself! People arrived by public transport via Hebden Bridge train station and then local bus up a very steep hill; or by car or minibus. Some people even managged to walk up the hill!

The effort was worth it. As one Fed (Federation of Worker Writers an Community Publishers) said:

“It was a nice building to work in. It never felt like an institution. It was a very pleasant place to stay, a communal place out in the hills. It had a great big airy work room which was really nice to be in”.

There was art everywhere. One participant remembers the “Door signs…the pictures were to help people find rooms.” Each door sign was made in wood and designed to be tactile so people who could not read the numbers or people with visual impairments could feel the sign and know which room was which.

Another visitor remembered:

“Going into the building, it always struck me, the friendliness of people there. Students’ work was displayed around the building. It was less like a traditional college – more a community centre. This had a big impact on the education – the informality of buildings and friendliness of staff had a relaxing effect on the student. Learners were less awed by surroundings compared with a traditional college. They relaxed quicker and became ‘themselves’ quicker. People respond to their environment.”

The two words most used by Pecket Wellians and volunteers about the College and what they developed there were that it was like “family” and like “home”. For one interviewee, it was also about the identity of Pecket Wellians and ‘belonging”. She said:

“It was homely, like someone’s living room. It was very friendly. … I didn’t realise how important this building was until it was being sold off and I realised how important those places are within the communities they live in. I grew up thinking they were very solid. They all melted away. The building was about identity and claiming space for voicing things – actually to have a space that you could call your own. Maybe it was for people who no-one else had really understood or wanted?”