Convergence participants

What to expect and bring to the Convergence

We expect this page will be useful to you, please bookmark it to refer to in the lead up to the event. We'll keep updating and adding to the information.

When? 10th - 16th September 2015
Where? Gilwell Park Scout Activity Centre, Chingford, E4 7QW
The venue is 30 miles from central London. See the location page.

Book online and make sure of your place.

The full programme is available online now.

Arrivals

If you have a 6-day booking you can register from 2pm on Thursday 10th September.
If you have a 2-day or 4-day booking you can register from 1pm on the start date of your booking.

Thursday 10th September Registration 2pm - 8pm
Friday 11th September Registration 9am – 8pm
Saturday 12th September Registration 1pm – 5pm
Sunday 13th September Registration 1pm – 5pm
Monday 14th September Registration 1pm – 5pm

Please bring your email confirmation of booking with you. When you arrive, come to the reception to sign in.

When you register, you will receive a programme and a wristband pass showing how many days you are going to be at IPCUK. If your booking includes meals you will also get tokens for each meal. You'll be directed to your 'neighbourhood' and to your indoor accommodation or camping pitch.

Walk through the site design - map and 3D visuals.

If you are planning to camp in a live-in vehicle, please tell the convergence coordinators and let them know the approximate size of your vehicle, and the dates you have booked.

 

Please help us and don't turn up without a pre-booked ticket. Note:

  • There is no free admission to the convergence.

  • If you arrive without a booking, you will be asked to pay in full. We cannot guarantee accommodation for people who arrive without a ticket.

What to bring

Everyone!

  • Please bring your email confirmation of booking with you

  • Plate, knife, fork, spoon and mug, tea towels for drying

  • Sleeping bag and a pillow, or a bottom sheet, duvet and pillow. N.B this includes people who have booked Indoor Accommodation and Tented Village accommodation* as these items are not provided.
    *If you have booked indoor accommodation and are not able to bring pillow, bed linen and duvet/sleeping bag, we have a limited number of bedding sets available to hire for £15.00. Please contact Registrations by 4th September if you would like to hire a set of bedding.

  • A towel

  • Warm clothes for sitting outside in the evening

  • Medications or toiletries you might need

  • Clothes suitable for practical workshops

  • Footwear suitable for wet conditions

  • Waterproof clothes

  • Swimming costume

  • A pen and something to make notes on, take people's details, sketch ideas, mindmap

  • Camera, video camera and/or sound recording to record workshops

  • Phone charger (plus plug adaptor for UK, 4-point extension, solar charger)

  • Picnic blanket or cushion

  • Money (£sterling) for books, cafe, bar, and marketplace

  • A poster about your permaculture project or design

  • Bunting: if you have some, please bring it and help us to decorate the site!

  • Items for the Marketplace: Bring and take stall - please bring along unwanted items that may be useful for someone else (e.g. camping equipment, toiletries). Seed swap stall - bring along unwanted seeds.

  • A gift to donate to the raffle if you are able to

  • If you are arriving by car, please consider bringing spare sleeping bags, cutlery, crockery etc. for people who don't read this information

  • If you can bring a gazebo structure that could provide additional shelter from rain, please contact the convergence organisers.

 

If you are camping

All of the above, plus:

  • Tent, mat

  • Sleeping bag - prepare for cold nights: the long-range weather forecast predicts that temperatures on some nights will approach freezing point.

  • Your usual camping gear

  • Headtorch

  • Hot water bottle

  • Cooking equipment and fox-proof food storage if you are self-catering

  • The catering setup is very basic. There is no indoor space for cooking, although we will set up under-cover areas if it rains.

Accommodation and Neighbourhoods

The site will be arranged in four neighbourhoods or barrios. You are invited to spend Thursday settling in and getting to know your neighbourhood. Catch up with old friends, put up some decorations, (and your tent if you are camping!), help create the lighting for the site, make a banner, go on a tour of the site and facilities so you know where everything is, and lend a hand with some of the jobs that will need doing.

Camping pitches will be set up in separate areas for those who prefer quieter evenings and early nights, and those who expect to stay up later. These areas will be Night-owl camping, Early bird camping, Family camping, Self-catered camping.

The tented Village accommodation includes a place in a shared, single-sex tent with mattress, trunk for your belongings and lantern.

Indoor dormitory accommodation is in single-sex rooms with 2 – 8 beds per room, each with a bathroom and toilet.

If you are staying offsite in a hotel or with friends you will need to arrange your own transport.

Wildlife

Please note: Gilwell Park is home to many wild animals such as rabbits, foxes and even some parrots! The foxes are attracted to strong scents and are quite bold. They are not generally dangerous but you should be careful to keep food, shoes and other items of clothing that may have strong smells securely inside your tent. Food in particular should be kept in fox-proof containers, ideally air-tight containers that keep the smells inside.

Meals, Food, Entertainment

Everyone: Please bring a mug, plate, knife, fork, spoon - thank you!

6-day catered place includes: 17 meals:
Thursday 10th September: Evening meal
Friday 11th- Tuesday 15th September: Breakfast, lunch, evening meal.
Wednesday 16th September: Breakfast

4-day catered place includes: 12 meals (11 for Wednesday departures).
Arrive after 2pm on day of arrival, leave before evening meal on the day of departure*.
*This will be after breakfast for Wednesday departures.

2-day catered place includes: 6 meals (5 for Wednesday departures).
Arrive after 2pm on day of arrival, leave before evening meal on the day of departure*.
*This will be after breakfast for Wednesday departures.

 

Food will be vegetarian and vegan. If you have advised us of particular food needs we will cater for you.

Meals will be served to people who have a token – if you lose your meal token you can buy a replacement.

If you have booked a camping place with self-catering please plan to be self-sufficient for your food supplies, storage and preparation. There are no refrigeration or cooking facilities onsite and open fires are only allowed in designated places. Please store your food securely in an airtight box.

Paid-for hot drinks, soft drinks, snacks and cake will be available throughout the day. There are shops in Chingford nearby (up to 30 minutes walk).

There is free WiFi (wireless computer networking) across much of the convergence site.

 

Entertainment

The programme includes plenty of time to socialise, play or listen to music, attend after-dinner talks, dance, and watch theatre.

There will be two open mic nights at the convergence where anyone can sing or play. If you would like to join in please bring your instruments and voices! It would be great to hear a variety of music from different countries.

There will be two bars in the evenings, one will serve alcohol and the other will serve non-alcoholic drinks and cocktails.

Travel Information

If you would like more information on public transport to Gilwell Park, please download this handy document with travel costs and times for a number of journey options.

From Heathrow Airport - The Heathrow Express runs between Heathrow airport and London Paddington Station.
At London Paddington take the Circle or Hammersmith and City line on the underground (tube) and travel 9 stops to London Liverpool Street station.
At London Liverpool Street station get an Overground train to Chingford, usually platform 5. Travel 7 stops to Chingford.

At Chingford station it is 2 miles to the convergence. You can get a taxi from the station (Chingford Cars: 020 8524 1111) or you can walk for 30 minutes.

From Stansted airport - Take the overground train 3 stops to Tottenham Hale. (Train travels towards London Liverpool Street and leaves from Platform 3).
From Tottenham Hale, take the 230 bus towards Fyfield Road (6 stops). Get off at St James' Street (stop D)
From St James Station, take the overground 4 stops to Chingford.

At Chingford station it is 2 miles to the convergence. You can get a taxi from the station (Chingford Cars: 020 8524 1111) or you can walk for 30 minutes.

Other airports - Gatwick (LGW) and Luton (LTN) airports are all approximately 100 minutes by public transport. London City Airport (LCY) is only 11 miles / 17 kilometres away, but has no long haul flights.

Eurostar - At London St. Pancras International take the underground (tube) Victoria line to Walthamstow Central Underground Station.
At Walthamstow Central take the Overground train to Chingford Station.
At Chingford station it is 2 miles to the convergence. You can get a taxi from the station (Chingford Cars: 020 8524 1111) or you can walk for 30 minutes.

About the trains from Liverpool Street station - Chingford Station offers a direct service to/from London Liverpool Street station with a journey time of less than half an hour. Trains are every 15 minutes throughout the day.  It is in Zone 5. To get an idea of journey time and costs follow this link and amend the 'From' station to be your local station. Please note bicycles aren't allowed on the peak-time trains from 4:30pm 6:30pm.

You can get a taxi at Chingford station, or look out for the shuttle service on the arrival afternoon (Thursday 10th) and back again on the last morning (Wednesday 16th) for a small donation.
 

It takes about half an hour to walk from Chingford station to Gilwell Park, and it is not far from from the River Lea cycle path. See this image for a map showing the walking route from the nearby bus stop to Gilwell Park.

By road – Junction 26 of the M25 is around ten minutes by car from Gilwell Park. There is plenty of free parking.

See this helpful 'how to find us' page.

If you are driving and have a spare space please advertise it on GoCarShare or Freewheelers.

By underground (tube) from London – You can take the Victoria Line to Walthamstow Central, then get an overground train to Chingford. (If you are travelling from accommodation close to the conference, this will be the best way).

Or, you can take the Circle or Hammersmith and City Line to London Liverpool Street station, then get an overground train to Chingford.

 

Local taxi numbers (these firms offer short local journeys, e.g. from Chingford Station to Gilwell Park, as well as airport transfers which should be booked in advance)

Advance Cars: 0208 509 9999 / 0208 509 1111

Ambassador Cars: 0208 347 9999

Redbridge Radio Cars: 0208 520 4444

 

Children

The Children and Young People's group will run fantastic and fun activities for ages 4 and up. You are encouraged to join your kids in the activities so please plan to do this at some point during the day. You'll come and collect them at mealtimes, and they will be offered healthy snacks throughout the day. We will ask you to sign them in and tell us about any health issues. Parents remain responsible for their childrens’ well-being and behaviour at all times.

We are not able to supply a crèche for babes in arms – babies and small children are welcome at every workshop and there will be a lovely space for them and their grownups.

Accessibility and Site Rules

Gilwell Park has some site rules, please help happy relations with our hosts by following them.

  • No open fires are allowed except in designated areas. We request that no children play with fires, unless as part of the planned children’s activities.

  • Please respect quiet areas.

  • No dogs are allowed on site except guide dogs and assistance dogs.

  • Wear a helmet if cycling.

  • We reserve the right to ask people to leave without refund, if they do not respect site rules.

  • CCTV is installed at Gilwell Park. It is owned and operated by the site owners The Scout Association, who feel it assists crime prevention and supports personal safety for the thousands of young people who use the site each year.

Any questions please get in touch.


General information for IPCUK

Visas and entry into the UK
Even if you did not need a visa when you visited the UK in the past, please check the requirements now as this may have changed. Citizens of the European Union do not need a visa to enter Britain. If you are from any other country, find out about visa requirements before you travel

If you are travelling with a visa we recommend that you have a return flight and confirmed accommodation, for the whole time you are visiting the UK. Bring documentation of your plans.
If you are not travelling with a visa please be aware that you may still be required to confirm your accommodation or return travel plans
.

You need to be able to show that you can support yourself financially for the whole trip, unless you are allowed to undertake paid work in the UK.

Please contact Registrations & Visas with any queries.

Travel in London (and other places in UK)

London is a large metropolis with many options of travel that criss-cross each other. It can be a bit much - here is a list of websites, mobile apps and ideas to help.

Public Transport

  • Plan your journey and how to pay for public transport with this very useful website tfl.gov.uk
  • If you are using public transport an Oyster Card is usually the best value within London.
  • Citymapper mobile app – Free on Android & IOS – gives you bus, tube, cycling & walking options on how to get where you want to go.
  • It’s also possible to travel on the river Thames by boat.
  •  If you are visiting from outside the UK the best value within London is to buy a Visitor Oyster Card before you arrive (info is available in several languages).

Driving
It’s not recommended to drive a car in London, but if you have to, please note:
Parking in London can be very expensive. Some people park in a car park near a train station outside London and get a train to the centre. Try www.justpark.com
Be aware that London has a zone where you have to pay for being there. This is the congestion charge zone and it borders the Conference venue. If you go into the zone (even for a minute!) you’ll have to pay the £11.50 a day charge. This can be done online, or from many newspaper shops and 7/11s etc.

If you are in a minibus or other larger vehicle you may also have to pay to enter the Low Emission Zone . Plan your route carefully to avoid this.

If you choose to hire a car to drive around the UK before or after IPCUK, it can be a good idea to pick up the car outside the centre of London. Traffic is heavy and it takes a long time to get out.

Taxis
Black Cabs (also known as Hackney Cabs) are the ones you see in films of London. To hail a Black Cab you need to make sure the orange light above their windscreen saying ‘TAXI’ is on.

There are quite a few mobile apps for hailing taxis – Hailo (black cabs) and Uber (peer to peer cabs) are the two most popular.
You can use Mini Cabs but make sure you have booked it in advance (never hail one from the street) and check to see if they’re licenced (a large sticker on their windscreen). Personal safety is an issue with unlicensed Mini Cabs - for more info on Mini Cab safety go to: www.tfl.gov.uk/modes/taxis-and-minicabs
Bicycle rickshaws operate in the West-End, they are a fun way to get around, but can be very expensive, so be sure to agree your fare before you get in.

Mainline Trains
Travelling around the UK on trains can be wonderful, with beautiful scenic landscapes or breath-taking coastlines. Sometimes it is expensive with crowded, slow trains. For best value book in advance, it's usually much cheaper to book train tickets 4 weeks or more in advance. Even 1 week in advance will save you a lot of ££. If you buy a ticket on the day it can cost hundreds of pounds depending on the route. Check your ticket is valid for travel before boarding a train otherwise you may have to repurchase a full price ticket on board. Train travel is very safe in the UK, but some smaller stations can feel intimidating late at night and may not be staffed.

Bus/Coach
Try www.nationalexpress.com or www.Megabus.com for cheap bus/coach travel.

Visiting London
London is a great city for tourists with thousands of things to do. Visit London lists lots of free visits and activities, or you might want to try some of the many walking tours on offer, eg www.timeout.com/london/walks. The City Mapper app is also useful.

In September it may be sunny or it may rain, it may be warm or it may be a little cold - it is a changeable time of year. Join the national obsession with the weather with the London weather forecast.

Contacting the Permaculture Association during IPCUK
The office at the Permaculture Association will run on a reduced staff during IPCUK so we may not be able to respond the same day.

Sharing IPCUK
We'll be photographing and videoing adults and children at the event and the results may be used on our leaflets, website, displays, facebook page, flickr or other publications and channels. If you've got specific personal concerns you can contact Ryan Sandford-Blackburn, Communications Coordinator for IPCUK. Your confidentiality will be respected.

Other
We recommend you have travel insurance to cover any medical expenses. If you're visiting from Europe, you need to carry a valid EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) or you can be charged for treatment. Overseas nationals are not eligible for free treatment, except if they need emergency treatment while in the UK.

Britain's currency is the pound sterling (£). Credit cards - especially Visa and Mastercard - are widely accepted in restaurants, bars, cafés and shops. American Express and Diners Club cards are less commonly accepted.

Keep up to date

The 12th International Permaculture Convergence and Conference.

Over a thousand practitioners and activists joined from around the world.

 

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