This section is not about the actual search for a venue. It is about deciding on a search strategy.
If you know what you are searching for you are more likely to end up with a venue that meets your needs.
1. What type of venue?
You can think of several different types of venue:
1. A venue specially meant to host groups:
- without any other staff or people present, like Allershaw:
- with staff or non Co-Counsellors present, like Rynachulig
2. A venue where people normally live, that offers also workshop accommodation (Lauriston Hall)
3. A venue or house owned by a Co-Counsellor, whether he or she is present at or during the workshop.
2. Availability of alcohol?
The venue may want to know if a bar will be used, if bar staff will be required when alcohol is served with meals. Often alcohol is included in the price. If it is not required it may be possible to negotiate a reduction in price or alternatives e.g. freely available coffee, tea or juice.
There is much more to say about this issue and the disputes around it.
3. What are the success criteria for a venue?
If you know what you are searching for, the better chance you have to find it. That is why the first step is setting up a list of success criteria the venue has to meet.
1. Minimum conditions
1.1 How many rooms for workshops and sessions?
How many people is the workshop maximally and minimally meant for?
1.2 How many is Enough and how many quiet sleeping and washing accommodation
Is there enough space for people to sleep, to store their luggage and to have a small space for themselves?
1.3 Sufficient eating (and cooking) accommodation
Can the venue host all the eaters in more or less the same room, or does it need to organise eating shifts? Is the eating place encouraging socialising or is it to cramped and noisy for that?
1.4 Social fabric promoting layout
One of the aims of Co-Counselling workshops in general is that they promote Co-Counsellors connecting up with each other, both in workshop time as in the free time. The lay-out of the venue is crucial in it. It will be very useful, if there is a central place where everybody ‘has' to meet everybody else all the time, such as a in central hall, stair case, preferably with some easy chairs where people can sit and have a talk, read a paper or ask other people for a session. If so, then there is much more change that people will meet new people than when the venue is build like a spider web where everybody has all the change not to meet each other.
This central meeting place does also provide an excellent opportunity to put up posters with the general announcements, timetables, requests etc.
The general workshop place needs to be central as well. This central place is also necessary
1.5 Privacy from staff and outsiders
This is obvious for sessions and workshops. But can Co-Counsellors have sessions in their bedrooms without somebody of the staff suddenly walking in to clean the baskets? How prepared is the staff to stay in the background?
There are Co-Counsellors who feel intruded when other people freely walk around in their workshop venue.
= preferably exclusive use of the premises
1.6 Good liaising with the venue people
when people make their house available
clarity about borrowing and replacing food
cleaning the house.
1.7 How accessible by (public) transport
2. Additional conditions for business meetings
A central place in the local network area
3. Additional conditions for workshops with child care
- Children have their own play space
Co-Counselling only' Areas (Workshop Room(s) and Session Spaces) are separated from ‘Children only' areas.
- Sleeping children not disturbed by counselling adults or parties!
- child safety and overview is acceptable
4. Nice additional conditions
- if decided: diets problem, people with patterns around food....
- good liaison, rapport with the cooks.
What search strategy are we going to employ?
More about this in Chapter 2.