Origins and Values
The Nantlle valley has rich associations with Welsh mythology and folklore, and when the morning mist rolls off the hills and across the lake, the swans return from their summer breeding grounds, the rain gives way to rainbows and the setting sun creates a golden glow across the Nantlle ridge, the valley is indeed full of mystery and magic.
The central building set in the 18 acres that is Trigonos is known as Plas Baladeulyn (the big house between two lakes). It was built as the home of one of the slate quarry owners and it remained a private home until its conversion into the Richard Wilson Arts Centre in the 1980’s named after the artist who had painted a picture of the valley in 1776.
The landscape is extraordinary not just for the stunning view of the Snowdon range, but also because when you turn your back on that view, you see the equally-but-differently stunning image of dark grey slate tips that are so characteristic of a landscape profoundly affected by the industrial revolution. This is not just a place between two lakes, it is a place between two worlds!
We arrived in 1996 with a mixture of great excitement and some trepidation. What were we here to do? How could this remarkable site, fallen on hard times, be renewed? If we had any answers to these questions they fell far short of a coherent ‘vision’. Putting one step in front of the other, we tried our best to create a place of warm hospitality that would offer support and nourishment to those who would come to Trigonos, whether as workers or as visitors, in the pursuit of their personal and professional journeys.
“Hospitality begins in the soul.
It is more than a rational, deliberate act.
It is a way of being.” 1.
- From: A Time for New Dreams by Ben Okri
We saw (and see) Trigonos as providing opportunities for:
- Learning, discovery and retreat where those who come feel free to pursue their chosen course or task
- Economic enterprise and social action alongside personal and professional growth
- Doing old things in new ways that enhance well-being, creativity and a sense of purpose
Our hope is that all those who visit Trigonos will feel they are supported and nourished by the commitment and care of all the members of the Trigonos team and by the environment itself. To this end we strive to live up to the following values:
- Being transparent and fair in all our dealings with visitors, team members, suppliers and surrounding communities – always aiming to keep our word and, if we fail in this, to explain why and to undertake prompt remedial action
- Taking account of the individual talents and interests of those who work with us and offering a fair financial reward for all, minimising the pay differential between the different roles
- Maximising the benefits for the different groups of which we are part, at local, regional and international levels
- Working collaboratively with individuals and groups to co-create new initiatives
- Building a productive relationship with like-minded organisations where we can complement and add value to each other’s purpose
- Restoring the land using organic and bio-dynamic approaches wherever possible in our growing of fruit and vegetables
- Caring for the wider environment through the protection of the flora & fauna as well as the adoption of sustainable practices in relation to energy, waste products and the use of natural resources
As a not-for-profit social business, all surplus income is re-invested into the development and growth of Trigonos as a place of rest, refreshment and opportunity. If we are successful in business terms, we can sustain and grow what Trigonos does and is. Doing this in ways that are aligned with requirements and norms, but without being dependent on external donors.
Reflected in the Celtic Triskele, which we adopted as our logo, we hoped the way Trigonos worked would be a continuous process of flow between the whole and its parts and that it would always seek to operate within the principles of opportunity, respect and exchange. The values and sense of purpose that underpin Trigonos are important if, at times, somewhat elusive.
Closely aligned with this is the way we, the founder-directors, have worked together as a team of three providing continuity and stability for Trigonos for more than 20 years. Our hope is that Trigonos has made, and will continue to make, its unique contribution to learning, well-being and transformation in a troubling and uncertain world.
Judy Harris, Richard Grover, Ros Tennyson