Woolhopian Rant

I was at Woolhope Cockshoot over the weekend, this is the residential centre that I am one of the trustees of. The place is a small self-catering and very funky cottage in the middle of nowehere. It’s dirt cheap to use and is a popular venue for a goodly number of groups from around the country.
As a centre we have to rely on groups cleaning the place when they leave in order that its pleasant for the next group to arrive to. One of the things that unsettles me a little is Youth Leaders that work on the basis of ‘what is the minimum tidying and cleaning we can get away with?’ and I’m not sure what this models to the young people from those groups. On arriving this weekend though I discovered that the previous group had gone to little or more probably, no effort at all, Woolhope was a right state.
woolhope fireplac.jpgIt’s quite sad when groups don’t look after the place, what I found is that all the groups I’ve ever taken there have got a real kick out of leaving it in tip-top condition, we’ve had fun with young people and leaders working together to give something back to the place that has provided us with such a memorable weekend. To me it’s basic Christianity in action, be a blessing to the people, places and situations that you encounter.
I should add that the majority of Woolhopians are very consciencious, but as a result of the group that left the place in such a poor way, we need to look at issuing much more specific cleaning instructions and maybe some sort of contract. Some help please ….
If you were going to use a residential centre, what tidying instructions would be helpful and what would wind you up? Should they be on the wall or should they be sent to you in advance? How can we be prescriptive enough without appearing naggy or overbearing?

6 Replies to “Woolhopian Rant”

  1. Why not have a slightly tounge in cheek checklist for arrival. Ask the group leader to fill in a form that says:
    When you arrived were the carpets clean,
    was there firewood,
    were the bathrooms clean,
    anything not as they would expect or anything that surpassed expectations.
    And at the end say “By the way, you could also use this list as a check-list for tidying up when you leave”
    Have it on a card with a stamp and an address and ask them to send it off, that way they will also know that there efforts will be noticed.

  2. a check list is good but I took a group to a place who were so finicky in the details they left you it just made the leaders grumpy (add to this the fact the previous group hadn’t done a great job).
    Sometimes the obvious needs pointing out to people and can be great team work when done in a fun way – maybe you should offer a cleanest user of the year award? 😉

  3. I think you definitely need a list there, if you sent it out, how many leaders would forget it or lose it? I’d just be quite clear in providing a list as to what needs to be done before you leave. At the last centre I stayed at, I did more cleaning than we needed to. They were suprised that I mopped the floors, when they only wanted them swept! A list would have been useful.

  4. I think it’s a real shame people wouldn’t think about it naturally.
    It was great when we were there as one of the lads opted to stay behind and clean up rather than hike and when someone went to walk on HIS clean floor it was HIM who said “Hey! Shoes off!”
    So often we can all too easily miss the great youth work you can do in the ordinary rather than the hi-tech. We loved mucking in together to cook and clean and tidy and all that.
    I think it would be a sham eif woolhope went that way but more a shame if people arrived to find it in a state. It’s such a lovely place when it’s tidy (and that’s me – queen of the untidy office speaking!)

  5. I think the clearing up bit is so important on a weekend away, not least because it never ceases to amaze me how many young people have never cleaned a toilet or a bathroom or vacuumed before. It really challenges sexist attitudes that are often entrenched in youth groups that it’s the woman’s job to clean up! I will never forget the look on one young man’s face when I told him that I don’t do any cleaning in my house because that’s my husband’s job and that if he wanted Jez to come and show him how to clean the toilet I’m sure he would! One of those moments I perhaps shouldn’t have enjoyed as much as I did!

  6. I like Crispin’s idea linked with the best user type award. Maybe the prize could be a free night at Woolhope for the following year!
    I don’t think that it’s that hard a job to clean the place…not like cleaning a swiss kitchen and counting all the cutlery etc!!! A tick list would prob be a good thing posted out and in the cleaning cupboard.

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