All posts by Claire

Shepton Mallet Prison

Ghostly Attention at Shepton Mallet Prison

Shepton Mallet Prison has been dubbed Britain’s most haunted prison, even The Sun has splashed this headline. What happens next may be down to the stories or the ghosts of Shepton Mallet Prison itself, who may now be having their say prior to the property developer outlining in detail what they intend to do with those poor souls still buried at the site. Shepton Mallet Prison was closed to save money in 2013 by the Government, in its place we were going to have a super-sized prison. Now we Read more [...]
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A volunteer revolution – an unsung hero of the UK economy

“My prediction is that 2017 might just be the year of micro-volunteering and data donation, with cheap technologies allowing everyone to volunteer from home for short and sweet periods of time, no matter how much time they have to give.”  NESTA Around one in three of us volunteers in the UK.  This ratio could be even higher if you include informal (and unrecorded) volunteering.  Those acts involving our time, skills, expertise or just our sheer enthusiasm aren’t always measured.  We Read more [...]
Viv Gordon

I’m not alright, but that’s alright? “I am Joan” review by Claire de Sully, Strode Theatre May 19th, 2017.

In her book Wilful Blindness, Margaret Heffernan (entrepreneur, chief executive and author) says “All that evil needs to flourish is for good people to see nothing - and get paid for it”. And so it goes: Child abuse in the Catholic Church, Nazi Germany's persecution of Jews and other groups, reckless subprime mortgage lenders that brought the world’s financial system to the brink and the Rochdale child trafficking ring (recently dramatised on BBC1), all share a simple fact: “It was Read more [...]
Shepton Mallet Prison

Human stories remains a big draw for Shepton Mallet Prison

Shepton Mallet Prison - one of the UK's most ancient prisons - is proving that demand for its untold human stories and history is not abating. Recently, TV production company Transparent Television spent a week at the prison filming for a major television series for Channel 5, presented by Michael Portillo. Transparent Television's  programme about the prison will dig a little deeper to find untold human stories, and will be aired in the autumn by the major broadcaster. Popular presenter Michael Read more [...]
grow, blosson

Dyslexia – a disability or a unique learning ability?

In a highly personal article written for the Sunday Times, Richard Branson calls for a rethink on how we support dyslexic children in our education system.  Branson recalls his experience of being dyslexic and "dropping out" at 16 with a profound sense of being failed by a rigid, box-ticking education system that he believes treats dyslexia as a disability. Branson - the billionaire entrepreneur -  points out that Albert Einstein, Henry Ford and Steve Jobs are all thought to have been dyslexic, Read more [...]
history of britain

Jenni Murray’s A History of Britain in 21 Women and a chance to add our own chapter? Review by Claire de Sully

A History of Britain in 21 Women has been a great companion for me as it demonstrates how, for these women, dogged determination, ambition alongside single mindedness can see you through to fulfilling your purpose in life, no matter how mighty the obstacles are placed before each step you take. For me the power of this book is that it is as much a history of people than solely a female perspective. Often the stories around these extraordinary women involve men: husbands, lovers, fathers, male Read more [...]
VolunteerMakers

The rise of micro-volunteering and a very British volunteer revolution

Digital and social media makes it easy for volunteers to actively engage with their favourite museums, arts organisations and charities, while many more people are prepared to give short bursts of time rather than a longer term commitment to volunteering.  Put the two together (digital and short bursts of volunteering activity) you have the rise of micro-volunteering. Micro-volunteering doesn’t always require digital technology however, see the examples below, but it is an important impetus Read more [...]
Shepton Mallet Prison

Buy a prison flat – but don’t bring your car.

Shepton Mallet Prison has been lost to a developer's viability plan, denying the town of its rightful share of a windfall heritage asset. It came down to a planning committee, with 8 voting for the proposal and 4 against. We now will have a 400 year old ancient prison of some significance  being transformed into 146 flats, where there are 6 parking spaces for every 5 homes (some of which have 3 bedrooms). This includes visitors and delivery spaces. Most agree this is at least 100 spaces short. Neighbours Read more [...]
Shepton Mallet Prison

Shepton Mallet Prison’s Last Stand

January 2nd 2017 is the deadline for feedback on the latest plans for Shepton Mallet Prison.  The prison was sold in January 2013 in a bid to save £63 million a year in running costs across six prisons.  A timeline of the prison sale has been published here. Below  is my objection to the latest plans, which I hope will encourage more people to give their voice (for or against) the proposals for the future of Shepton Mallet Prison. Daniel Foster – Planning Officer Planning Application Read more [...]
TreeHouse

After the story ends – a review of Tree House, Strode Theatre Studio, November 16th by Claire de Sully

"After Cathy" - Radio 4's documentary on homelessness - followed a year in the life of three people who find themselves down-at-heel. We hear stories about a primary school teacher, with her two young children, forced into emergency housing, a businessman (who once worked alongside Richard Branson), and a folk-singer struggling with alcoholism. It's easy to be drawn into these real-life encounters, this is audio documentary at its most powerful, words hang as true life stories are spliced together. Read more [...]