Conservation Collective: Global Gathering 2024

This month we were delighted to host Conservation Collective colleagues from the UK and around the world at their annual Global Gathering, this time in Devon.

Our mother charity and sister foundations gathered at Sharpham House for a few glorious days together to learn from each other, envision our future, exchange knowledge and inspiration, visit DEF grantees, and relax and recharge on the water. Read on for the highlights…

Sunday 19th May

We couldn’t have asked for better weather to showcase Devon’s natural beauty. After collecting everyone from Totnes station, we headed to Sharpham House to settle in. After tea, cake and introductions, we ventured out into the golden evening to nearby Blackpool Sands beach for an evening of sea dips, a sauna, and fire pit. Big thanks to Salcombe Brewery for gifting us with some lovely beers to relax with and to the Devon Concierge Club for organising the delicious s’mores kit!

Monday 20th May

The multi-talented Sekoah (Conservation Collective core team) lead a revitalising yoga class to start our day, followed by breakfast and some spotlight interviews to learn more about each other’s inspiring grantees. Then Holly Tuppen facilitated a brilliant Future Gazing workshop to envision the future we are working towards, as individuals, as a collective group, and for our respective local environments.

Next up, a coach trip to Brixham to meet the wondeful Gary, who runs one of DEF’s longest-standing projects, Till the Coast is Clear – to learn about his work and help with a beach clean and sort plastic waste for recycling. We collected over 40kg of plastic together from the Breakwater beach and sea wall.

Then we joined more of DEF’s grantees, Advisory Board, Steering Committee and friends for a magical wildlife boat cruise with Funfish Trips. We were blessed with sunshine, amazing company, and a multitude of wildlife sightings, including a playful pod of dolphins that gifted us a very special 15 minute spectacle!

We ended the evening with a delicious dinner at Rockfish in Brixham, joined by our co-founders Mitch Tonks and Simon Nicholls. After the meal we were treated to an entertaining reading from the author and environmental communicator, Sophie Pavelle, from her must-read book, Forget Me Not.

Tuesday 21st May

We started the day with more spotlight interviews, then it was straight to the Apricot Centre to meet our incredible grantee, Rachel Phillips, for a walking tour of the farm and to learn more about the impact of the Regenerative Agriculture training programme DEF funded. Everyone left immensely inspired by the Apricot Centre’s journey and impact. From there we walked to the Glade in Dartington for lunch and more collective talks and spotlight interviews in the woods, before enjoying a group kayak, paddle board and canoe session on the beautiful Dart!

Wednesday 22nd May

Our last morning in Devon! After breakfast spotlight interviews, we caught the train to London and settled into our hotel in Victoria before the Collectives Awards ceremony at Wild by Tart. It was an incredible evening full of inspiration, networking, and celebrating each others’ achievements. DEF was excited to win the 2024 Award for Fundraising due to raising over £1 million in 3 years. More here. The perfect end to a wonderful week!

A huge thank you to the Devon Concierge Club, Sharpham House, Salcombe Brewery, Hattiers Rum, Rockfish, Funfish Trips, Gary at Till the Coast is Clear, Rachel from the Apricot Centre, Holly Tuppen, Wild by Tart and Emma Askew for all your roles in helping to make the Global Gathering 2024 so memorable.

Big thanks also to Sophie Pavelle (and Bloomsbury) for the copies of Forget Me Not, Salcombe Dairy for the delicious chocolate, and Wild Sea Collective for the beautiful seaweed cards – all perfect souvenirs for our colleagues to take back home from Devon.

Special heartfelt thanks to Kendra, Iona and the Conservation Collective core team for facilitating the trip, and all our global colleagues for coming to spend the week with us. It will remain a fond memory for a long time! 🙏