Momentum Directors Paul Oxborough and Trevor Keough have just completed a three day research visit to Cologne. The purpose was to research new venues and catch up with our German partners

Visit To Jugendherberge Youth Hostel in Cologne (10-11/2/15)
The first stop was the Jegendherberge Youth Hostel, up until a few years ago you wouldn’t associate hostels as a venue for training, but Germany sets the standard for bringing the two together. The hostel is directly opposite the train station and is ideally situated for getting into Cologne on foot. The bedrooms were spotlessly clean and well appointed for a hostel (separate toilet, shower). Each person gets a lockable cupboard/wardrobe and small safe. There is a choice of 2 or 4 person bedrooms and the venue is superb for wheelchair access. Breakfast was outstanding, warm fresh bread and a real continent selection of fresh quality food.
The conference facilities here were excellent with a wide range of rooms available covering every size. There is also a dedicated conference team so deals can be negotiated and there is a quick response to any problems. Both trevor and I were seriously impressed by this setup.
Next stop was a visit to our friends in Hot Sinzig (11/2/15)
We were very well looked after by Anja, Anna and her mum. The Hot Sinzig project clearly has a big impact in the local community and area. Working with minority groups, disaffected young people, families, they offer food banks, clothes banks, and community teaching. After hearing so much about Hot we finally got to see the amazing work Petra Klein does and we were impressed. We also had a great tour guide Anna our friend from Inclusion TV Austria. Coffee, cakes and lunch led to us feeling very welcome – thanks guys.
Visit To Janusz Korczak School in Sinzig (11/2/15)
Anna (being the great host) then took us to meet with Janina who is trainee teacher at this special needs school. Our plan is to kidnap her and bring her to the UK in April to be part of S-Factor into Eurovision. We briefly met the Director Karsten Scholzel of the school who seemed very supportive of the project and keen to be involved. So looking forward to developing this link. The school is for pupils with learning difficulties and behavioral issues so disabilities are not obvious at first glance. It was great to see this school and start the process of building new links in Germany.
Time to head off into the hills with a visit to the Eifeldorf centre in Bad Breisig (11/2/15)
The aim of this visit was to catch up with our trainer friend Ramon and observe one of his programmes in action, as well as checking out a residential venue in a rural location.
The venue is very interesting one on the side of the mountain over looking the River Rhine, great views. The location half a mile up a dirt track opens into a small settlement of triangular residential huts and main building consisting of a bar space, and dining space and outdoor spaces. The buildings have been there since 2000 but have a unusual quirkiness. We met some very interesting trainers – we got involved in a Living Books session which was good fun. Then Trevor and I did some networking. I came across a Romanian visual artist called Paul Dumitru ( his work was of a very high standard and he can actively involve young people in working with him to record a conference. Lara from our recent Education Inspirations in Finland was on the course – she was very pleased to see us. 
Planning in a spa Hotel Maravilla (12/2/15)
The morning was spent not in the sauna or having a massage but bashing out ideas for our new Momentum Effect course. This is a course we are designing to enable more experienced trainers to work with us over the next few years. A full article will follow shortly.
Overall thoughts of the trip

Very worthwhile. We reestablished contact with old friends and got to know the area much better. There is great potential to use facilities in this area. Good and efficient transport links and some great venues. Just need to now get creative with writing the programmes

See you soon Germany and thank you for your amazing hospitality x