Gabrielle Buist accepts the prestigious P.E.A. ‘Charity of the Year’ Award on behalf of the Findhorn Foundation. Here is her personal account of the event….
On Friday 13th October I was delighted to travel with two colleagues to attend the P.E.A. (People. Environment. Achievement.) Awards, the UK’s leading sustainability awards. It was a real joy to be in the heart of London’s business district amongst other green heroes, such as MyGreenPod, Weleda, YeoValley, Wyke Farms, Octopus Energy and many more. Each organisation was there to receive well-earned recognition for the work that they do, their global impact and relevance. The Findhorn Foundation was there to be awarded the P.E.A. charity of the year. I was so proud to be representing my amazing organisation but also my birthplace and where I have chosen to raise my son.
As you will see there was a theme to the evening which was ‘Day of the Dead’ in acknowledgement of the threatened species on the planet and humanity’s call to a new sustainable way of living. In this context our message of spiritual alignment, committed action and co-creation with nature was well received.
As part of the event we were invited to fill a table with 10 wonderful friends, so along with myself who stood in for the FF Chair, Camilla Bredal Pederson, we chose our Chair of Trustees, Lisette Schuitemaker; Co-Founder of Carbon Disclosure Project, Paul Dickinson; CEO of Futerra, Ed Gillespie; FF Trustee, Nicola Coombe; Findhorn College Board member, Jonathan Dawson; Russell and SanYuMay Picot; Building Bridges team member, Yvonne Cuneo; and our Communications Manager, Sasha Angus. This table of influential friends who dressed up to the nines with feathers, roses and skulls were a source of great amusement as well as fascinating conversation and support.
A video introduction to the work of the Findhorn Foundation was created especially for the event, allowing us to use drone footage of The Park to give people a real feel for life at the Foundation.
It was then time for me to go and receive our award. In awe of the fantastic organisations present, I took to the podium to accept the honour and speak about what the Foundation means to me. My nerves were abated by the positive reception I received and the people who were touched by our presence and what we stand for.
When I asked for a show of hands of who had heard of the Foundation, it was great to see about 50 hands shoot up from the 300 or so gathered in the grand Banking Hall. We made lots of new connections and raised awareness of the wide diversity of work we do as an organisation, included in my speech: “Together we create inspiring educational courses, forums on sustainability with ethical business leaders and large NGOs, as well as work alongside local government and other agencies, to offer long term programmes for local disadvantaged young people and adults with learning disabilities. Our response to global concerns is to find a new story for humanity, as we look for solutions and aim to trial and demonstrate alternative forms of governance, housing, styles of communication and open hearted ways of living and being together. I am struck by the deep transformational experiences taking place in the hearts of people visiting Findhorn every day. We are a seed centre for positive change and for the past 55 years now change makers have been sowing our seeds in organisations, businesses, communities and families around the world.”
With nine other award categories, the room was full of inspiring change makers, some of whom went on to win Britain’s greenest family, vegan hero, energy hero, green pioneer and more. Each category was sponsored by equally inspiring organisations who gave generously to make the awards a night to remember.
During the evening there was a raffle and auction to raise funds for bursaried places to attend our Easter 2019 conference, Climate Change and Consciousness – Our Legacy for the Earth. I was grateful that The Award guests were so willing to support the participation of the world’s youth and indigenous people.
It was fantastic to have the organisation and community so close to my heart, honoured in this way. A big thank you to Jarvis Smith and Katie Hill for hosting these inspiring Awards and for all that you do.
Photographs: PEA Photographer @radskiphoto