It was the first day of winter where snow was forecast for the United Kingdom – and it sure felt like it too! We decided, however, to pack up all of our jumpers and persevere with our plan no matter what – a day for reflection by the sea, courtesy of People United. Dragging ourselves out of our perfectly cozy houses, we battled through London against tides of suited worker bees, eventually reaching the station and jumping on a train that we hoped would lead us towards some inspiration.
It was such a relief to get out of the big city and into the countryside. And even better to see the sea! We knew immediately that this was going to be just what we needed. After a brisk, biscuit-fueled stroll along the seafront to reach the brightly coloured hut, we set up the chairs and knuckled down to a rather daunting pile of work.
We came to the beach hut to grapple with all the big questions that newly formed groups need to find answers to. We especially wanted to reflect on our mission, aims, artistic vision and company roles (as well as completing some logistical things like the basic design of our company brochure and thinking about our upcoming Christmas project). We hoped this would help us to build up the basics so that we could get out in the community as soon as possible and start making a difference! Whilst in London we struggled to find the right words to portray what we wanted to say and we hit many language-based brick walls, but at the Beach Hut it was different. Wrapped up in piles of snuggly blankets and wearing many, many layers of clothing, we powered through our tasks, surprising even ourselves!
Despite running up and down to the sea and doing star jumps, by 1pm we were well and truly frozen. We moseyed down to the local cafe, sketch books in hand, for some warm drinks (highly recommend the Caramel Hot Chocolate for a chilly day) and a little more thinking, writing and planning. Whilst there, we witnessed the kindness of a stranger: a lady making her way around the cafe asking any woman in there if they had left a pair of gloves in the bathroom. This would rarely happen in London – there must be something magic in the sea air in Herne Bay!
After making sure our toes were feeling a little more toasty, we ventured back to the hut again, as it was time to give something back. Inspired by the lady in the cafe we backtracked from our original plan and instead covered the ground behind the beach hut with quotations about kindness. We chatted to curious dog walkers and their pooches as we chalked and, for the first time, managed to explain concisely exactly what our company is all about – a milestone!
And, as we watched the sun set over the sea with glow sticks in hand, we realised: today in little old Herne Bay, Ingeenium, our company, was really born. We got the train back to the hustle and bustle of the big city, tired but happy, and inspired to continue, grow and work hard to make sure our company thrives. Thank you, People United – we will hopefully be back to the hut soon, perhaps on a warmer day!
Jess and Laura – Ingeenium
The beach is available for individuals and community groups to use. Please visit our Beach Hut page for more information.