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Events & activities happening locally for businesses and community

Small is Beautiful

50 Years on From ‘Economics As If People Mattered’

SCC Woodhatch Place,11 Cockshot Hill, Woodhatch, Reigate RH2 8EF

Half a century ago, economist and Surrey resident EF Schumacher published the landmark book ‘Small Is Beautiful – A Study of Economics as if People Mattered’.

Written from his home in Caterham, the book was an unexpected global bestseller, celebrated by a diverse range of society, from environmentalists and community development practitioners, all the way through to US President Jimmy Carter and more recently former Prime Minister David Cameron.

Advocating for economics at a scale which ensures that human and ecological wellbeing can thrive, we can still see the popularity of Schumacher’s ideas all around, from farmer’s markets to repair cafes. And yet, the dominant economic model over the past half century in industrialised nations has undoubtedly pursued very different objectives.

In 2024, as we stand on a precipice of intersecting global crises, including climate change, the destruction of the ecosystems that support life on earth, growing inequality, polarization, and myriad impacts on global health, we believe the time is ripe to re-evaluate the concept of scale, and to enable our communities to effect positive change from where we stand.

This event invites us to imagine a future where we are all active participants in creating a thriving future for Surrey, which prioritises the people and places we love.

Many Surrey residents are already engaged in building this future for our county, as elsewhere, and this event will encourage us to think about what is needed to build on and accelerate such vital work.

The event will be headlined by a panel discussion on the topic of Small is Beautiful featuring a fantastic range of speakers from 6.30pm, including:

  • Diana Schumacher: daughter-in-law and biographer of EF Schumacher, Co-founder of the Schumacher Society, the New Economics Foundation (NEF) and the Environmental Law Foundation,
  • Lord Nigel Crisp: Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health and former CEO of the NHS in England
  • Heather Ackroyd: one half of Ackroyd & Harvey, internationally renowned Surrey-based ecological artists who created the Beuys’ Acorns installation at Woodhatch Place

Additional Activities & Collaboration Opportunities – From 4pm

  • Meet small community groups, charities, farmers and other local organisations, who are working at a local scale in Surrey to improve the health of people and planet. Find out about their work and explore opportunities to volunteer and participate
  • Hear what local statutory organisations, including Surrey County Council and local NHS partners, are doing to support such local community action
  • Visit Beuys’ Acorns: an art installation first initiated by Ackroyd & Harvey in 2007, celebrating the work of Joseph Beuys (1921-86). Beuys’ Acorns is a living sculpture inspiring visitors to rethink their relationship to nature and to reflect on art, activism and the climate emergency.


Enjoy delicious food and drink from Surrey-based circular economy businesses:

  • Mandira’s Kitchen – 2020 Great British Entrepreneur Awards Winer South East
  • Silent Pool Gin – Producers of the first recyclable cardboard spirits bottle
  • Crumbs Brewers – Certified B Corp

Find out more and reserve a spot

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