Greenhouse started life over 30 years ago to ‘serve’ the local and wider community; to think global and act local; to be holistic and work for the good of the whole; to be an initiator and driver of social transformation; to be inspired by curiosity, looking for and experimenting with creative and innovative ideas and then making them happen.
Now, in 2013 as then, the focus is on issues of health and wellbeing, the environment and good stewardship of our planet home, women’s issues, arts, science and the development of potential. In the vanguard of social change, Greenhouse’s DNA is rooted in the intention to heal not hurt and to be a force for ‘good’. The purpose of building has been and still is to provide a place where initiatives for community and social change can be incubated, tested and become exemplars of what is possible.
While Greenhouse is a physical building, situated on Bangor High Street, it is more importantly part of a ‘virtual community’ where like-minded people have a shared consciousness and a shared intuition about the world and time they find themselves in. These people seek answers and are motivated to prototype innovative and sustainable solutions.
Osmond and Graham’s 1984 book ‘Alternatives’* describes Greenhouse as ‘the first formal networking Centre in Britain’ It continues to be a proponent of alternatives, ‘having a broad ideological approach to a whole sweep of issues and developing informal but highly effective systems for communicating and to some extent implementing the ideology as well. This is universally known …. as ‘Networking’, which because it is a system for connecting like-minded committed people is more than merely communicating: for networking always entails action on the part of those involved in it.’
‘The Greenhouse in Bangor, a three storey converted shop and offices in the town centre, is probably more sophisticated than most but is an example of what can be done. It was founded in 1980 by a range of alternative groups – health therapists; the North Wales Naturalist Trust, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; and women’s groups such as the Women’s Enterprise Bureau, Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis. Between them they manage to service a £14,000 mortgage on the property…. One of the more interesting projects organised by the Greenhouse is the promotion of a cycle path south from Bangor through Snowdonia. The eventual aim is to link up with similar schemes dotted between north and south Wales to create a cycle path running the length of the country.’