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The Confluence Initiative

In response to the Cockermouth floods in November 2009 Riversmeet Community Cooperative held The Confluence Workshop to bring together creative practitioners, organisations and local people to explore the potential for new cultural initiatives to support Civic Renewal and Regeneration beyond the crisis.

An important outcome of this event was the establishment of our partnership with Soroptimists International to focus on building the practical skills within the community to foster creativity, self sufficiency and resilience to change.

Notes from the Workshop

The Confluence is the point where all that energy from the surrounding catchment comes together. As well as  a force of awesome destructive power, it brings the joy and delight of the Kingfisher and the Heron into our midst. Our Rivers powered the Mills that made our Town such a productive place to establish early industries and they bring the nutrients and minerals that provide the fertility of our soils.

“ New realities have first to exist in the imagination. The artist can open up the forgotten complexities of the past,  expand the memory bank and creative possibilities for the future. Faced as we are with depressing scenarios of population growth, climate change, economic and spiritual meltdown, we need to train ourselves and young people in particular to understand history, to think on our feet -  rapidly, laterally and creatively and to reconnect practically and physically with the environment. They need an inner confidence about their own creative abilities  (which is not always developed in the current education system.).

I believe we all need – or indeed -  crave: Beauty, understanding, belonging, mystery, peace of mind, wilderness, vision and wonder and above all the opportunity to exchange stories, songs, jokes and dances in a participatory community. 

Essentially at a time of an alleged growing economic crisis, we urgently need to creatively restructure our fundamental thought processes. So, rather than getting strapped on the rack of puritanical doom, let’s grab an affirmative opportunity to dream productively and play generously. “

John Fox


A primary need emerging from this event was the call for a space to connect and create, where people could share resources and rebuild for the future, which has lead to the development of Riversmeet Community Resource Centre.