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Closure of Ecodysgu

Believing there is much lacking in mainstream education, especially for those that are more practical than academic, EcoDysgu was set up 2002 in the hope that we could show change was desperately needed and could be beneficial for all involved.

This was to prove much more difficult than we imagined. Even with all the bureaucracy, obstacles and funding of tax payers monies not being done in a sustainable way, we still managed to deliver our services to over 6,000 children, young people and adults, work with hundreds of volunteers and supporters, renovate buildings, share renewable skills, methods and ways of living and educate on the well being of ourselves, each other and the planet. The enormous number of emotionally charged and sometimes amazing stories from participants made the hard work and challenges all worthwhile. Over the coming months I will endeavour to record those stories on this site.

Having built a successful delivery and reputation we secured a large contract in 2011/12 for the delivery of a programme of workshops of ACU (OCN) accreditations. Agored Cymru, the accrediting body called our services ‘exemplary’ and said we were everything they had set up accreditations for!

However, half way through the programme our agreed contract was halved and we were underpaid by £20,000. Financially we could not withstand this loss, we were also exhausted by the huge amount of energy we personally needed to continually battle a system that is so closed and self serving. It has taken us a year to manage to pay off all our creditors and battle for the rights of the child and ourselves.

During this time, amongst other things. we have been told:

1. The young people were not capable of achieving such outcomes as they did with us. We disagree, they are entirely capable, talented and able when offered an alternative environment and approach.

2. That if we did not fill in 2 forms that we considered to be fraud by doing so, then we would not get paid. We continued to refuse to fill them in, we did not get paid.

3. When we won a mediation process and it was deemed the other organisation was in breech of it’s code of conduct, they claimed the outcome was not clear. Written in black and white, it was clear.

4. We were excluded from meetings and told that as this was personal I could not attend any further meetings.

There was nothing personal about this – it was business.

5. That we had failed because we did not have any Masons on our board, that this could be rectified and arranged and if I did what I was told we could continue to be successful. We turned down this offer.

6. When I suggested the practices were corrupt, I was told that if I didn’t understand that that’s how the world works then I live in a detached reality. I surrender, I live in a detached reality – because I do believe that we can all co-exist without all this corruption that is being exposed in the media on an almost daily basis. I believe in a better world.

And so with no energy left to fight the machine we have now closed the gate at EcoDysgu for the final time. So sad but such a fantastic 10 years! I would like to say a great big ‘THANK YOU’ to all of you who participated in any way shape or form in helping to establish, deliver and create the amazing place on the hill in Tondu.

A special thank you goes to all the children and young people who attended our programmes and touched our lives so incredibly. May your futures be bright, delightful and extraordinary – love your lives for they are precious.

Finally my grateful thanks go to Suzy Davies – AM for the Welsh Conservatives – who believing a wrong doing has occurred here has taken on an investigation into the situation and promised to take the findings right through to Europe if necessary. Also to my mother who never stopped believing in me or EcoDysgu through all the trials and to my daughter who had to put up with her crazy pioneering mother!

Julie Lyddon

Future contact can be done by email: touchtheearthj@aol.com or on linkedin http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/julie-lyddon/20/921/23b