Volunteer in the Archive
There are a huge number of ways to help the Archive and Study Centre, and develop your own understanding, potential, and CV at the same time.
Visit the Archive and Study Centre
Come to Toddington, and work here. Help to catalogue, clean, scan, interpret, share. We can help with travel costs; and for longer periods of volunteering it may be possible to arrange accommodation on the site for you: Enhance the work of PETT and the Archive and Study Centre by day, watch Shakespeare in Stratford-on-Avon at night. Or balance scanning and preservation with country walks, or trips into Cheltenham for the Cheltenham Festival or high-end shopping. Discover the history of therapeutic environments, and discover the pearls of local village churches. Pubs. Steam-trains. Museums. Craft work.
Work from Home
But if you can't come to Toddington, there is still a great deal you can do to help. Do you have particular interests you'd like to explore? Do you have particular skills you can put to use? Are there skills you'd like to develop? Let us help.
For example, you might:
The Archive holds masses of typescript and manuscript documents, and with the help of volunteers based at Toddington we are able to scan and upload a growing number of these to the Resources section of the website (or the Wennington and Caldecott websites). But these are simply images, and not text, so search engines can't do much with them: They can't suck their contents into massive search databases to make the documents instantly available to searchers the world over.
SO, if, working from home or office, you can transcribe one of these scanned documents, turning it into a computer text file, you will open that document up to the world, you will give it a new and searchable birth. Because your name will go at the bottom of the transcription (unless you request otherwise!), it will also be in some sense your baby - you are the midwife.
Documents which are already online, and ready to transcribe:
- An Introduction to Q Camp for Boys. December 1945
- "Memorandum on Proposed Q Camps (for Offenders Against the Law and Others Socially Inadequate) Under the Management of Grith Fyrd (Pioneer Communities)" 
- Q Camps: "Symposium on Future Developments, March 12th, 1939" [Marjorie Franklin]
- Hawkspur Camp for Men: Constitution [1936?]
- David Kennard: 'Personal Profile' (1973)
We also take orders. If you know there's a document you'd like to see and transcribe, and if there aren't copyright or confidentiality stumbles to get in the way, we will get it scanned and online for you: Yes, volunteers are that precious to us! To register an interest and to volunteer, contact the Archivist.
Transcribe Oral History Interviews and Recordings of Events
Transcribing events and oral history interviews requires a special kind of person, with a range of skills and discpline. If you didn't have them before, you will acquire them as you go along! (For inspiration, see "A volunteer's experience of transcribing").
Not everything in the Collection is available for transcription by volunteers, for simple reasons of confidentiality - but there is a mass of knowledge and information locked away in the audio and video files here; it would be great to be able to get more of it out and into the world.
If you're interested, contact the Archivist.
Carry Out Detective Work
For example, have a look at the Introduction to Q Camp for Boys. Who are these people who have associated themselves with it? Who is Mrs. Maurice A. Wood of Cherry Pie in Watlington, Oxfordshire? Why was she involved? What happened to her? Does she have or did she leave any letters, or documents, or photographs, or diaries, or anything which would fill out the picture of Q Camps and her involvement with it?
And what about the long list of donors and contributors in the Progress Report for Alresford Place School in 1953: Can we put any flesh onto these folks and organisations - what was the Bannerman Road Nursery School, and why has it made a subscription or gift? Who is Lady Cohen - how and why was she involved?
And who isn't involved? Where is Otto Shaw, for example, who was a member of the Q Camps Committee, which preceded Alresford Place School?
Research and Oral History
There are countless records of interest to the history and heritage of this work in the National Archives; in the National Archives of Scotland; in local record offices; in the BBC Written Archives Centre in Caversham; in the Bethlem Royal Hosiptal Archives and Museum; in people's lofts and garages: A wealth of exploration and discovery, just waiting for your time and energy.
And as for oral history: whether you know it or not, there are people in your village, or neighbourhood, or organisation - people right next to you, as well as far away - who have experiences of deep relevance to therapeutic communities and open educational work: former children in care, perhaps, or teachers, or members of communes, or students on placement, or family members of....People whose knowledge and experiences, if recorded, can enrich the understanding and documentation of students, researchers, yourself, practitioners, politicians...
We can lend equipment, and if you can travel to Toddington (or pay for a trip to you) we can train you in using the equipment, and the basics of oral history and oral history interviewing.