FAQs

THE BASICS

When is Common Ground? How long is it?
The camp will last for 10 nights from 1st -11th August 2020.

Can I come for part of the camp?
Yes, you can come for five nights, either the first half (1st – 5th) or second half of camp (6th – 11th). If you are involved in setup or takedown e.g driving a lorry or minibus then you many stay the first night or last night free of charge but you must book (more information on this soon).

The cost for five days is £125 (£120 early bird), this applies to any district or delegation from any Woodcraft Folk, IFM-SEI or related organisation.

Where is it?
Kent County Showground in the South East of England. The address is Kent Event Centre, Detling, Maidstone ME14 3JF.

How do I get there?
Trains go to Maidstone East. Many groups will put on coaches or other coordinated transport to Kent Event Centre.

Travelling from mainland Europe, ferries travel to Dover, Folkestone and Portsmouth and the Eurostar train arrives in London. There are several airports in London and the South East. Please check Info-Pack Version 1, in the Resources section for more guidance on arriving at Common Ground.

Do I need to speak English?
No. Although English will be the primary language used on camp, there will be three official languages; English, French and Spanish. These will be used all over camp, including in some of the programme. There will also be lots of ways such as signs full of pictures and colours that help people communicate and get around.

How many people will be there? Where are they from?
We expect between 2,500 and 3,500 people will attend Common Ground.

Many people there will be members of the Woodcraft Folk, but there will also be groups from across the world at the camp from our umbrella organisation IFM-SEI. You can find a list of IFM-SEI member organisations on their website.

Why should I come?
Mostly because it will be fun! You’ll have loads of opportunities to meet new people, play games and learn from people from all over the world.

International friendship is a central idea of Woodcraft and by participating in, helping to build and contributing to Common Ground you’ll be a part of a really large community striving to make the world a better place.

These camps don’t happen in the UK very often — the last time Woodcraft Folk hosted an international camp was in 2011 — so this may be the best opportunity for children and adults to experience such a fantastic event.

BOOKING

How much does it cost?
£205 per person – if you are part of the Woodcraft Folk or any other Western European country. The price of Common Ground depends on which IFM-SEI organisation you are from.

Western Europe – £205 (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, Spain/Catalonia, Sweden, Switzerland, UK)

Eastern Europe, some Middle East – £155 (Armenia, Belarus , Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Israel)

Latin America, Asia, Africa and some Middle East – £105 (Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Western Sahara, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Nicaragua, Peru, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Palestine).

What is included in the camp fee?
Included in camp fee: 10 days of camping, meal ingredients, central day / evening programme and replacement gas bottles.
Excluded: Travel costs, the first bottle of gas, cooking equipment, village / kitchen tents, tables, chairs or benches. Craft materials for village day activities.
Who has to pay to come?
Unless you are attending as a lone participant, the price of camp will be paid by your district or delegation and each member will organise payment with them. Many districts will choose to fundraise to subsidise the cost passed on to group members.
Anyone under-5 as of the first day of camp (1st August 2020) can attend Common Ground for free (accompanied by a carer). Full-time carers for young people with specific additional needs may be able to attend for free – email chair@commonground.camp to discuss this more.
What are the booking deadlines?
The early bird booking deadline is 1st December 2019. If you book and pay a deposit before this point you will save £5 per person. The regular booking deadline will be 1st May 2020.
How do I pay?
Paying by cheque:
Please make all cheques payable to “The Woodcraft Folk”  Please let us know which district and individuals the cheque is payment for, and write your unique reference number starting “CG” on the back of the cheque. Post your cheque to: The Woodcraft Folk, Unit 9/10, 83 Crampton Street, London, SE17 3BQ       

Paying by bank transfer:
Account name:​ The Woodcraft Folk  
Account number:​ 2039 2756 
Sort code:​ 60 83 01 
Use your unique reference, (CG-four digits) for all payments. You can leave out the hyphen if your bank accepts letters and numbers only. If you have paid without a reference number, please email info@commonground.camp and let us know the amount, the payment date and who it was for. We can then match it to your booking and bring your payment record up to date.
 
For international bank transfers you will also need the information below. 
Swift Code (BIC): NWBKGB2L
IBAN Number: GB93NWBK60023571418024

Is travel included?
Travel is not included in the camp fee. Your district or organisation may collectively set a cost for travel and include this in the cost passed on to members.
Who can come? Do I have to be a member to come to Common Ground?
All ages are welcome at Common Ground. You have to be a member of either Woodcraft Folk or another organisation coming as a delegation. This might be an IFM-SEI organisation or another organisation linked to a Woodcraft Folk group.
Do I have to go with a group?
If you are under 16 then you do have to come to Common Ground as part of a group, although this group can be very small. If you are over 16 you can book on as a lone participant, though where possible you should book as part of a larger group e.g. your district or delegation. Coming along as part of a group will make it more fun and might be better financially. Have a think of any groups you have previously been a part of, or any groups that exist near where you live now.
We can’t afford it - what should I do?
Have a look at the Fundraising page of the website for tips on fundraising, or email chair@commonground.camp for more help on making Common Ground affordable.

CAMPING

What is a Village and what is a Town?
Everyone at Common Ground will camp in a Village, which is a circle of tents with around 70 – 130 people camping and eating together. Most likely, this will be 1 or 2 Woodcraft districts as well as 1 or 2 International groups. Each Village will have a Camp Chief/coordinator, a KP (=organiser of the kitchen), and First Aider.

Between 3 and 5 villages will come together to form a Town. A town is around 500 people and will have a shared Commons area which has one tent big enough to hold informal evening programme and other low-key activities.

Who will be in my Village? Do I get to choose?
Broadly yes. Districts can choose which other Woodcraft groups to share with and if they wish to support a solidarity delegation. The camp is about international solidarity and friendship, so we encourage all groups to start building those international links well before camp.

As the central organising team we want to ensure that everyone has a tent to sleep in and a village to be part of with kitchen tent and marquee. Occasionally this might involve asking districts to welcome delegations into their village and lend a few sleeping tents for the camp.

How are the villages organised?
Villages are organised into groups of 3-5 called towns. Each town will have a large Marquee, called a town common, and each town will share a town pantry (ingredient collection point) with another town. Some activities will be organised at a local town level.
What do I need to bring? Where can I get camping equipment?
We will publish an example kit list nearer the camp but you will need tents, sleeping bags and sleeping mats.

Villages will need tents for individuals to sleep in, Kitchen tents with cooking equipment and a marquee to eat under if it rains. Woodcraft districts will need to bring this with them to Common Ground as well as tables and benches if they want them.

If you are coming from another country by plane, your host Woodcraft Folk district may have equipment they can lend you. If you are a Woodcraft district you may be able to apply for funding for new camping equipment. See the Fundraising page for tips. If you are a small or new Woodcraft Folk district you may be able to share equipment with a larger, more established district.

We are a small district, can we ask for help?
Yes! Many large established Woodcraft districts are happy to take small districts under their wing and share equipment. However there is of course a cost to storing and transporting equipment. So we suggest small districts consider paying £10 per person towards a district which is sharing their equipment.
What are international delegations?
Organisations similar to Woodcraft, will often send groups of young people with their leaders to our international camps. There are two types of delegations.
1. Most delegations will be from Europe. They will pay for their own travel and camp fees. However the delegation may travel by plane and might need some sleeping tents provided.
2. Some districts from outside Europe will need extra fundraising support, due to the high travel costs and financial position. Some districts might choose to fundraise for one of these ‘Solidarity’ delegations to cover some or all of the travel costs and camp fees providing sleeping tents and hosting them in their village.

We may also ask a European delegation to support or link with a solidarity delegation, especially delegations who are well equipped and/or will travel over land.

Are we allowed camp fires?
The Kent County Showground will allow fires as long as they are raised off the floor. This could be in some kind of fire bowl (bought or homemade) or some kind of raised platform which would protect the grass underneath e.g made from stones and some sand.
Are visitors allowed on camp?
Yes, on Saturday the 8th of August there will be an open day from 10:00 – 19:00, in which friends and family may visit Common Ground.

FOOD

How will we cook?
Three meals a day are included in the camp fee, but they are cooked by everyone in turn. Each village will have a kitchen tent, with kitchen equipment and utensils, provided by a Woodcraft district. The menu can be cooked with just a hob but the village can arrange to bring an oven if they so wish.
Villages will be split into teams of 10 – 15 people called clans. Clans will take turns to cook meals, wash up equipment and keep the site clean. The clan duty is purposefully split amongst enough participants, to allow everyone the chance to enjoy the central programme and other activities, beyond their own village.
Where will the ingredients come from?
The central KP (= food) team will, in consultation with the movement, set a menu for the camp and order ingredients. These ingredients can be collected each day at the Town Pantry. A lot of consideration has gone into sourcing the food ingredients sustainably, locally and ethically wherever possible.
What about special dietary requirements?
Please put the group dietary needs and allergies on the booking form by May 2020 so that we can cater for these. Once the central food order has been placed, we cannot guarantee that we can add special ingredients or offer alternatives.
What about fussy eaters?
The menu has been designed to offer everyone, including young children, warm meals which are tasty and filling. We encourage everyone to keep a totally open mind – you may end up eating much less meat than you would have at home. Or the dishes may include more beans and pulses than you have in an average week. The camp is a great opportunity to learn about and explore sustainable diets. Do have conversations about this with your group before camp.

There aren’t shops within walking distance but some camp cafes will be set up around the site, so that you can buy a hot drink or a special treat like cake.

EVENINGS

Will it be noisy when I want to sleep?
We have thought seriously about how we will ensure our youngest members get all the sleep they need.
The Kent County Showground is large and has some newly built/ refurbished buildings since our last international camp in 2006. They have been hosting similar camps regularly in recent years. There will be amplified music in the evenings for those who want it, but it will be inside a building, at a distance from any campers, with sound insulation.
What happens in the evenings?
We want to encourage a good balance between educational activities, partying and rest for all participants. Central programme is organised every other evening. This will finish at 11.30pm. At this point all programme including any amplified music will end. Participants can stay in the central area until 1.30am if they want to, and some centres (indoors, to reduce noise) will be open for low-key gatherings until then. We will encourage people to be quiet there and on their way back to their tents. Stewards will be at hand to assist with keeping noise and disruption down.

We are considering having one or two nights where music will go on later than 11.30pm and this will be discussed at pre-camp in May 2020. Every other evening, villages and towns can make arrangements for lower-key programme in their own areas, including acoustic music, games or local performances.

How do bedtimes work?
Leaders and parents set bedtimes for the young people they are responsible for. We recommend districts within villages agree consistent bedtimes for each age group to avoid any perceived unfairness.
When will the central area close?
1:30am – at this point anyone still up will be expected to leave the central area and go back to their villages.
Will there be alcohol on site?
This camp will be all about international friendship, with a special focus on welcoming under 10’s. There will only be one space where people can buy alcohol on site. We envisage this space as a calm ‘pub’ environment where over-18’s can enjoy each other’s company while being able to buy and drink alcohol. There will be other, alcohol-free spaces for evening programme that will have much more ‘party’ atmosphere. This is to encourage camp participants of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy the non-drinking spaces.