MERLIN Roundhouse Village Project
What is MERLIN?
MERLIN stands for Motivation, Engagement and Recovery Learning Initiative Network. This is an exciting, long term project that is service user led and was set up in 2009 by a number of former and current service users in the Wakefield district.
The project focuses on substance misuse rehabilitation and social reintegration. It involves bringing service users together to reconstruct a local Iron Age roundhouse style building.
We know that this kind of project, concerning local history, has huge potential to build a real sense of community. It provides a supportive environment for vulnerable and hard to reach people to learn new skills and enhance personal development.
Benefits to MERLIN
The benefits to MERLIN include:
- Improving overall health and wellbeing
- Provide peer support and training opportunities
- Reducing the level of criminal activity and vandalism in the community
- Developing an educational resource
- Supporting regeneration and community spirit
The service users who have been involved in the project to date have gained valuable life and practical skills. It has also been a positive progression in their recovery from substance misuse. Service users are rediscovering their self belief and self worth which previously, over many years had been taken over by drug use.
Future and long-term plans
The group that steers MERLIN includes service users, commissioners and providers of substance misuse services and the project is still very much in the planning stages.
Initially the aim is to run a pilot, once land is identified to build one roundhouse. There will be two groups of 10 people who will be taught traditional skills needed to build an Iron Age roundhouse which includes thatching, plastering, and joinery. In addition, the group will learn other practical and personal skills ranging from health and safety to team working and confidence building.
Long term the aim is to support the local community and provide a range of educational and heritage training opportunities, perhaps developing programmes such as crafts and horticulture. Eventually we would like to help MERLIN become a sustainable social enterprise.
To achieve this and plan for the long-term aims of the project, the steering group are involved in a number of activities, including:
- sourcing local land to build a roundhouse
- promoting the MERLIN project
- deciding on the project’s future management i.e. if becoming a social enterprise is a viable option
- exploring future activities i.e. setting up a visitor attraction and developing an education centre
- exploring funding and grant options.
If you are interesting in finding out more about MERLIN contact Caroline Foy on 01924 315757 or email email@example.com