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For men who love men

Sharing our Stories

Unstone Grange, Derbyshire

Tue 26th July to Tue 2nd August 2022

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During this week-long event in the tranquil environment of Unstone Grange, we intend to create a place of sanctuary and shelter from the storm, a space of safety to pause and reflect upon on our lives, a community in which it is safe to explore.

The theme of the week is centred around the sharing of our stories about our lives.

Our assumptions are that story sharing is a natural activity and is life-enhancing. People have told and shared stories since before language developed. Storytelling began, and begins, as soon as a person communicates with others about something that is happening, has happened, or may happen in the future. A person does so through the use of their voice and actions, through talking and singing, writing, drama, art, music and song. It occurs, spontaneously, everywhere. It’s something people want to do. Often, it’s fun.

We are constantly telling ourselves stories, for example about what we are doing and who we are. These stories may be helpful or unhelpful. Did we make these stories up? Or did they come from other people? We often assume the stories to be facts and live our lives accordingly. This week will provide opportunities and exercises to examine whether the ideas we have about ourselves and others are facts, or just stories.

Group around a camp fire

We can use many techniques to facilitate our story-sharing, from silly games to deeper exploration through methods from psychodrama, co-counselling, witnessing, ritual, dreamwork, massage and other approaches.

While the organisers would like participants to engage with the theme of the week, no-one will be cajoled into anything - individuals remain in charge of themselves at all times. As well as the ‘core’ workshops, there will be lots of time for other workshops, fun, relaxation and the traditional ECC stuff - base groups, cabaret, dancing etc.

The Venue

Unstone Grange – A Centre for Personal Creative Growth  is set in pleasant countryside, very easy to get to, and on the edge of the fabulous Peak District National Park. We have the whole spacious site to ourselves; house, barn, gardens, camping field, fire-pit (we’ll be having bonfires) - and a hot tub! Accommodation is in shared bedrooms (proper beds, not bunks) or if you prefer to camp we'll offer a discount.

The Organisers

Your organisers for the week are Mike Kaye, David Shackleton and Shaun Kent.

Mike Kaye
David Shackleton
Shaun Kent

Mike has been around in ECC since 2003 and has been an organiser for several events. His professional background is in mental health and he’s experienced in psychotherapy, groupwork and teaching.

David was a keen member of ECC for many years until about 2007. At this point, his new life as a professional actor made it too difficult to commit to active involvement, and so he began to lose contact - to his eventual regret. Now reconnected with ECC once more, he even got himself elected in autumn 2021 as one of the three members of the current Maintenance Group. His particular interest is liaison with local groups and producing the Newsletter.  

Shaun has been involved with ECC since 2010, and has been an organiser for several ECC events.  He’s passionate about ECC and how it can help enrich gay men’s lives through community and contact.

Essential Information

Venue: Unstone Grange, Crow Lane, Unstone, Dronfield, Derbyshire S18 4AL.

Dates/times: Arrival Tuesday 26th July from 4pm. Departure Tuesday 2nd August by 10am.

Accessibility: Unfortunately the house has no wheelchair access or ground floor bedrooms, so anyone with serious mobility issues will find the venue unsuitable.

Public transport: The nearest railway station is Dronfield, about 2 miles away. There are also regular bus services between Sheffield and Chesterfield, dropping off about a 10-minute walk from Unstone Grange.

As the Covid vaccine rollout continues, and assuming there are no new Government restrictions, we're optimistic that this event will be able to go ahead. In keeping with recent ECC events and good practice generally, we anticipate including some Covid measures to promote safety. These might include making places on this event open to men who can demonstrate that they are fully vaccinated, and/or have tested negative for Covid on the day of arrival. Circumstances have a habit of changing, so nearer the time we may revisit the measures needed, and will keep participants informed via the joining instructions.

How to book

We're taking bookings now

Unstone Grange has a lovely camping meadow and if you'd like to sleep in a tent with your own space you can deduct £100 from what you would otherwise pay. If you intend to camp for the week, Mike Kaye (organiser) has 7 tents available to lend. (Or bring your own tent of course.) Contact Mike on 07984 148 203 or email via ECC website.

You don't have to be an existing ECC member to book. Payments for ECC events are on a sliding scale according to your income, and you're invited to pay as much or as little as you can afford. You'll be asked to state how much you're going to pay for your place when you book. The breakeven cost for this event is £425.00 and the rates for different income levels are shown below.

You can make your payment by bank transfer, and you should send it to us straight away to secure your place.

We maintain a generous bursary fund to help men on very low incomes to ensure no-one is excluded for lack of funds. If you don't feel you can afford the concessionary rate, we may be able to help. Please contact the bookings organiser, once bookings are open, if you'd like to request a bursary.

Concessionary rate (for people living at benefit levels) £215.00
Low income (£10k to £20k) £425.00
Average income (£20k to £30k) £510.00
High income (£30k or more) £575.00
Breakeven cost£425.00
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