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Where

Taking time out is a game changer.

So what would be your best kind of space to do really great work?”

If it’s quiet, peaceful, non-corporate, set in a private, natural valley overlooking a lake, with real food, then The Waterside, run by Steve and Sue Heatherington might be the right place for you.

Located only 3 miles from the motorway, north of Swansea. This is the place they call home and where they do their best work.

It’s also home to their herd of alpacas and an amazing array of wildlife and trees. No two days are the same, though people tell us them that the welcome, and the quality of work they do with them, is a constant.

The Long Room, a large, comfortable, self-contained log building with panoramic views across the valley and ample space for small to medium sized groups. People love the informality and flexibility, and the freedom to disconnect from operational pressures.

Our fresh Coaltown Coffee, Welsh tea, homemade cakes, and simple fresh food seem to draw people back time and time again.”

That’s because they know how important the environment and sustenance is to doing really great work. It feeds our brains and our souls (and everything else in between).

Why spend time at the Waterside?

From experience both Steve and Sue understand how important it is to take time out to think, talk and be creative if the change you make will produce the kind of fruit you want.

Sue is an experienced organisational strategist with a very diverse background. This includes a decade as a pioneering Chief Exec in the NHS in England and in Wales. And she knows just how easy it is to be sucked into short-term, reactive thinking.

She also knows how important it is to work with others, to create collective headspace to work through the bigger issues – across boundaries. This is the fertile place of genuine creativity and innovation, which we so badly need.

Whilst her background is extraordinarily diverse it’s held together by a core thread of being a quiet disruptor, who thinks and acts strategically. This means she works with a wide range of people, entering into their work with enthusiasm and insight. She is also a speaker and writer, and her new book on Quiet Disruptors is planned for 2019.

Steve is the alpaca shepherd – amongst many other talents – and brings his experience of great hosting, making warm connections and understanding the third sector, to the table.

Together they also care for Sue’s brother with Down’s Syndrome, who lives with them, and steward the valley, with a little help from their friends.

The Valley

The valley is the site of a former Victorian reservoir – the Blaenant Ddu – and some remnants still remain.

You might stumble upon the overflow tunnel, with its amazing acoustics, or spy stonework hewn from local quarries. Or notice the deep, sometimes fast flowing, water or the steep drops. And the water-steps on your way in are an amazing testament to Victorian engineering. The Blaenant Ddu was truly pioneering in its day.

 

Q What do people say about the Waterside?

What others say
“Thank you … I found the session challenging yet invaluable – the equivalent of ‘a good workout’! Your insight and understanding is extremely impressive and provides a robust scrutiny that we don’t submit ourselves to frequently enough.” Regional Director, UK & Ireland

“Sue helped me look at things in a different way, act in a different way and deal with things and people in a different way…allowing me to be creative with the bigger picture and not get sucked in…” MD of a specialist food manufacturing company

“Thank you again for your help, and for prompting the questions we should be asking rather than the ones with the simple answers.” Director, private hospital

“Organising scientists has mischievously been likened to herding cats, because it is notoriously impossible. Sue Heatherington helped me organise and run two of the most effective scientific meetings I have attended: fifty top international people worked together, thought in new ways, and were inspired to carry on working together after the event. Sue planned the meetings meticulously, but also had the professionalism on the day to seamlessly adapt and transform the activities to enable the meeting to exceed all expectations in quality, networking and in generating unexpected powerful ideas. Perhaps most impressively, she got people to work very hard, in new and sometimes challenging ways, and to enjoy the experience immensely. I’m going to run more of these meetings.” Prof Harold Thimbleby, Swansea University and Fellow, Royal College of Physicians (and Sue has worked with him on a number of occasions subsequently)

“Sue Heatherington has also given very valuable support throughout the programme” Acknowledgement in CHI+MED final report. Sue worked as thinking partner to the collaborative research leadership team in an EPSRC funded £5m, 5-year programme across three universities

Q What is the purpose of the Waterside

What others say
“Thank you … I found the session challenging yet invaluable – the equivalent of ‘a good workout’! Your insight and understanding is extremely impressive and provides a robust scrutiny that we don’t submit ourselves to frequently enough.” Regional Director, UK & Ireland

“Sue helped me look at things in a different way, act in a different way and deal with things and people in a different way…allowing me to be creative with the bigger picture and not get sucked in…” MD of a specialist food manufacturing company

“Thank you again for your help, and for prompting the questions we should be asking rather than the ones with the simple answers.” Director, private hospital

“Organising scientists has mischievously been likened to herding cats, because it is notoriously impossible. Sue Heatherington helped me organise and run two of the most effective scientific meetings I have attended: fifty top international people worked together, thought in new ways, and were inspired to carry on working together after the event. Sue planned the meetings meticulously, but also had the professionalism on the day to seamlessly adapt and transform the activities to enable the meeting to exceed all expectations in quality, networking and in generating unexpected powerful ideas. Perhaps most impressively, she got people to work very hard, in new and sometimes challenging ways, and to enjoy the experience immensely. I’m going to run more of these meetings.” Prof Harold Thimbleby, Swansea University and Fellow, Royal College of Physicians (and Sue has worked with him on a number of occasions subsequently)

“Sue Heatherington has also given very valuable support throughout the programme” Acknowledgement in CHI+MED final report. Sue worked as thinking partner to the collaborative research leadership team in an EPSRC funded £5m, 5-year programme across three universities

Q What facilities are there?

Often clients also make use of the wider valley - including walks around the lake or along the green paths - as part of their programme. The alpacas are always curious about our visitors…

The Long Room is a spacious self-contained building by the lakeside, easily accessible from the car park. You’ll find comfortable seating, good working area, a log-burning stove, plus inspiration from the view, the books and the artwork! Technology is on hand - wifi, smart tv if you want them - but not dominating.

Fresh Coaltown Coffee, Welsh tea and homemade cakes are provided throughout the day. We can also provide a simple, fresh lunch prepared in the farmhouse, or you can bring your own (but please note we don’t have cooking facilities in the Long Room, though there are fridges in the servery area). We have been rated 5* for food hygiene.

Q What is the #FirstFridays

First Fridays - Build a ‘creating space’ habit…

Why not plan to give yourself time to think more deeply, talk about what’s really important to you, or be intentionally creative, sometime on the first Friday of every month?

We do this here at The Waterside without fail. And if you’re around here then why not join us? It’s free.

Drop in any time between 11 am and 4 pm. We are developing a pattern for the day, based on our experience and learning over the last three years and our desire to have more intentional conversations about Quiet Disruptors:

11 am to 1 pm - open space
1 pm to 2 pm - lunch, where we will host a conversation relating to Quiet Disruptors
2 pm to 4 pm - open space
Coffee and homemade cake are always on the go, and we share a simple lunch around the table with those who are around at the time. No charge, though you can make a donation if you wish.

It’s very informal and we never fully know who is coming. So the conversation can be really creative and you never know who you might meet.

Drop us a line if you are thinking of coming - if you know… as it helps with catering. And why not give us a ‘heads up’ on what is on your mind so we can create space within the conversation?

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