RISE Autumn Gathering 2023!

We came together at 42 Acres, a beautiful nature retreat in Somerset, for the autumn RISE Community of Practice Gathering.

For this autumn's RISE Community of Practice Gathering, we descended on 42 Acres, a wonderful nature retreat near Frome in Somerset.

As we work remotely and live in different corners of the UK and Europe, taking the time to meet up in person and spend quality time together helps refresh our connection with each other and lay the groundwork for what we do and where we go next as a community and company.

What matters to us right now?

This year we took time out to explore economics and systems of money and exchange with Inez Aponte. How we create, recognise and reward value (and all the messiness around how we do this as a business, both out in the world with clients and internally as a team) is an important topic for us and one we wanted to spend some time wading through.

Money can feel like a dirty word when it comes to creating sustainable solutions, yet it's the system we work within as a business and how we account for profit, what we do with it, and what money can enable us to do, or share, with the world is worth exploring.

🍁 We wondered: how can we do things differently in a way that financially supports our team and allows RISE to function as a business, yet doesn’t perpetuate the social and environmental problems linked to our current economic system?

Inez spent the day with us as we delved deeper into what’s important for living and working in a kinder way. On one hand, it’s an important choice we made to invest our time and money to enable this conversation, and work together on these issues as a business, yet we recognise the immense privilege we have to be able to take the time to do this.

Questions that emerged from our time together...

🪸 Are there new ways we can collectively support the work we do as a team?

🌲 Can we create new systems of exchange with other businesses to enact greater real world change? 

🪴 How do we support our clients in establishing what’s important for their organisations: does this include the health and wellbeing of their employees and the planet?

🕸️ The work we do (which involves investing time to connect, sense, reflect and thoughtfully increase our awareness of ourselves and others) is often the very stuff that is hard to quantify, measure, and attribute to certain outcomes and can at times feel counterproductive. Working at the fringes, or in grey areas, often helps us see what’s stuck or not working. In our current economic system, spending time on this stuff is often undervalued, yet it’s by learning to work more collaboratively together that we can tackle the very big problems that underpin the increasingly intense issues we face as a society.

💛 What brought all this home to us was having the absolute pleasure of our consultant Nana-Efua Lawson join us with her baby daughter. We were together doing important, exciting, challenging and at times unsettling work and it was all possible within the company of the next generation which felt both crucial and comforting 🌿

We’re so interested in finding out where this journey takes us 🏔️

PS. A huge thank you to the friendly 42 Acres team for their wonderful welcome and all the care and attention they put into hosting our week together. We loved that sustainability and wellbeing are at the heart of everything they do, from their beautiful solar-powered buildings to the nutritious meals made from their own kitchen garden. Their aim is to create the most wonderful environment for people to come together - which we throughly appreciated 🧡

A few snaps of our time together...


Gita, Jemma and Martina in the kitchen garden
1 RISE Consultants Gita, Jemma and Martina in the kitchen garden at 42 Acres during our 'walk through RISE's journey' where we explored where we've been, where we're at, and where we hope to go.
Madelanne, Jo and Beth making zines

2 On the first evening we gathered in the yurt for a zine-making session led by RISE consultant and artist, Jo.

Looking through a gate into a walled garden
3 The walled garden at 42 Acres in Frome, Somerset
Inez pointing at a board while Jemma looks on

4 Exploring Barefoot Economics with the wonderfully engaging Inex Aponte.  We are questioning how we can function and develop as a business that focuses on human flourishing for both our clients and ourselves.

Nana and her daughter sit in on the floor in front of a wall of colourful post-it notes

5 RISE consultant Nana joined us with her baby daughter as we explored economics and what matters to us when it comes to creating a good life.

Madelanne, Megan and Jemma write ideas on pink post-it notes

6 RISE consultants Madelanne, Megan and Jemma consider ideas for what makes for a good life.

Beautiful accomodation at 42 Acres
7 Beautiful planting and accomodation at 42 Acres. An on-site kitchen garden provided nourishing meals lovingly created and cooked by their super friendly team.
The Treehouse at 42 Acres
8 The incredible treehouse at 42 Acres. Just one of the many enchanting spaces to explore and gather in the grounds.
Jo, Helen, Gita, Beth and Polly sit in a circle
9 Jo, Helen, Gita, Beth and Polly gathered together in the yurt.
Inez, Gita, Nana and her daughter sitting on chairs

10 Inez, Gita along with Nana and her daughter exploring ways we can create a more economically sound, inclusive and sustainable RISE for both ourselves and our clients.

The kitchen garden at 42 Acres
11 The magical kitchen garden at 42 Acres.