Background to some of the budgeting behind the IPCUK

We've received a range of questions about the cost of the IPC in Britain - conference and convergence. This blog post gives some background information.

Like every other convergence, and permaculture conference, by far the biggest input is the time and labour of hundreds of volunteers, most of them also participants in the event. The permaculture movement has a strong tradition and ethic of everyone being active contributors. No one is just an attendee or delegate.

We have had lots of people working within one of the 13 IPCUK working groups, some for over a year. Without them it would be impossible to organise a coherent, engaging and inclusive event. Thank you to those dedicated individuals.

In Britain we have a well established organisation, network and staff team. The staff have experience of helping to organise many national and international convergences, so we knew it made sense to use this resource in the preparation phase. There are some tasks that we can only expect paid staff to do, and there is much stronger accountability with staff than volunteers, which means we can be confident that essential tasks will get done.

The choice of venues has been critically important. Gilwell Park has excellent facilities, a great location on the edge of London and a range of accommodation options including low-cost camping. The forest location is world away from the busyness of central London and motorways that are helpfully close. We learnt a lot from using Gilwell Park for the British Convergence a year ago.

For the conference we wanted a venue that was central, could handle up to 1000 delegates and had the facilities a modern conference requires. The Light does all of these and its Quaker management is very much in tune with permaculture ethics. It has been recently refurbished and an excellent setting for permaculture to engage with decision and policy makers.

There has never been a permaculture convergence organised of this size or diversity. Around 1000 people will be attending one of the IPCUK events in September including people travelling from more than 60 countries.

As custodians for the IPC, the British organising team have an intense sense of responsibility. We know what a time and money commitment many people are making to be here. So we have been very careful to create a prudent budget and to regularly review it.

We want to generate a financial surplus so we can make a significant contribution to the next IPC. We expect to be able to do this, but it has been a balancing act to make a good estimate of break-even points, including a contingency budget and have costs that we could reduce in the event of lower interest.

The IPC has great opportunities for enterprises to sponsor and advertise, which helps to cover costs and make more scholarship places available.

This is a snapshot view of some of what has been going on behind the scenes. For a fuller story of the design process come to the workshop about this at the convergence.