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Project information

Catching the Past in the Present

To run a forum in Bedford to engage between 30-50 participants to explore and start speaking about the trauma held in our communities, whether it be in the histories of individual migrants who are here, or of whole communities dislocated or simply silent, around what brought them here.

March 2017 - June 2017

Charity information: Act for Change

Act for Change logo
  • Need


    There are currently many feelings, views and opinions about the pressing issues of migration in Europe, the UK and in localised communities. These feelings and the thinking in the shadow of these feelings when unprocessed, can create increasing 'fundamentalist' -like environments where each of us does not listen to the other - enough. We need to learn how to deal with our differences in a non-violent way and focus on the healing that is needed.


    Our project is needed to bring together people from different background and countries; to create a safe space to express and transform our feelings about the past, present & future so that we can be present in our interactions at this time.
    By creating open forum spaces for people to get together an learn to facilitate each other in conversations around our different feelings and the diverse stories and experiences we have, we are strengthening civil society in ways that are ever more needed.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To open up a dialogue on the very hot issue and painful experiences of migration.


    » a 2-day volunteer participant facilitator training for 10 people (assumes a small drop off in numbers)
    » to run an open forums on trauma and migration to help us understand what happens to the trauma that is not processed & to the feelings & the history.
    » Pre & post open forum briefing & debriefing/ supervision of the volunteer participant facilitation team.
    » Producing and disseminating the results of the forum (including the research that would be going into the forum and the community results.

    What success will look like

    Train 8 participant facilitators from the local area in April and May 2017 and Run the forum in Bedford in June 2017 for 30-50 participants

  • Impact


    Our project will bring people together and begin to develop the attitudes and habits of mind needed to bring people together, to learn about each other, and be open to exploring hot issues together.
    Learning to research in preparation for the forum and capturing 'how to' for future replication will enable a long term change in that it will be easily replicable locally.
    We will demonstrate the results of the forum in a report that will be disseminated widely.


    Risk 1 is around the research and preparation for the Forum. Engagement of a wide and diverse audience will be key and so will require an individual or small engagement team to prepare and draw the people we wish to engage in.
    Risk 2 is to do with the vulnerable people who will wish to attend, and we have in place safeguarding policies, and a rigorous recruitment and selection process to ensure we meed their care needs.
    We will also carry out a risk assessment, as appropriate at the outset.


    We will report to Donors by posting a pdf of our report on our website, and emailing it directly to our donors where we have that available. We will update the project on the Big Give website as well to provide a link to the report.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £7,769

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,796 Training Volunteer Facilitator training (2 days)
      £985 Materials organising and compiling
      £483 Recording & disseminating incl. transcribing, compiling
      £600 Hospitality for participants in training and Forum sessions
      £1,520 Volunteer Project Management based on £19 p. hr max. 4 hrs a wk for 20 wks
      £1,200 Travel expenses for Volunteer Facilitators at (£10 per day, for 12 days)
      £465 Marketing materials setting up website, printing a leaflet
      £720 Venue Costs for Open Forum, project supervision pre & post Forum
  • Background


    Bedford has approximately the same population pyramid as England with a quarter of the population under 20. Ethnically, it has as its biggest ethnic group 'British White' but there is also a sizeable BME group.
    Nine out ten of the most deprived areas in Bedfordshire are in Bedford itself and 11 are in the 20% most deprived nationally. We will target the two most deprived areas, Castle and Cauldwell.


    Residents in Castle and Cauldwell in particular will benefit from our project. Our project will benefit people from no particular ethnic or religious background, gender. Our project will benefit people between the ages of 25-64 years.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are uniquely placed to carry out this project as since 2007 we have been growing our understanding of the systemic impacts of trauma.
    We work in communities particularly with young people and their families to address the negative impacts of trauma. We see the collective aspects of the trauma experienced by these young people and how it impacts on their individual lives but also how the trauma impacts on the communities in which they live. This give us an unparalleled insight.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Lea Misan

    Project Coordinator - Lea will work in partnership with various stakeholders, eg. housing associations & develop inbound marketing for the forum.

    Paola Esperson

    Volunteer Facilitator Training - Paola has extensive experience in forum facilitation.

    Darren Johnson

    Advisory - He is a Trustee of Act for Change and will help us to draw the key institutional stakeholders we wish to involve