Monday, 29 March 2010

A trip to Mexico and back....

Apologies for my lack of blogging of late. But to fill you in... the week before the Easter break saw our fundraising efforts in the SU take shape. The theme was Spring Break/Mexican so Jennie and Jade rallied the troops and we all spent the day painting, paper macheing and decorating the SU. The design team were great and had made some pinatas, flags and palm trees which we all joined in with to transform the SU as much as we could. We had the idea of having a limbo competition as well as pinatas full of sweets for people to win, to make the evening more interesting and enjoyable for those that ventured in. The night went well, we ended up raising just under 150 pounds which is pretty good considering we had to pay for security as well. We may not have had as many people turn up as we had wished, but the night was in many ways a success. We made a profit, worked together as a team to create an enjoyable evening and we all had fun in the process!!
On 2nd April, myself, Siobhan, Chantelle and Carolina spent the day face painting at Ham House for their Easter event. The weekend was sponsored by Cadbury who have teamed up with the National Trust, designing Easter egg hunts and encouraging families to spend the day at their local NT property. It was a really enjoyable day and the parents were very interested to hear about the 400th anniversary. Most of them were locals from the surrounding area and had children at the schools that will be participating, so it was great to meet people face to face and explain to them what it was all about and get them involved too. Gary gave us each a free egg to top off the day and we even got to do the Easter egg hunt, (on the premise that we were giving constructive feedback of course!!)
Today was the first meeting back after Easter and so we had a lot to talk about. Jennie and Ben have written a fantastic story for the parade about an evil eagle and a plot to steal all the clocks so that no one knows when their birthday is!! They put so much work into it and have given us lots of ideas and things to create in the workshops. The event really does seem to be taking shape now, with workshops planned to begin in the next couple of weeks when the schools are back and meetings taking place here, there and everywhere. We had some great news about funding just before Easter and we have almost 20 confirmed groups with others on the verge of confirmation. I have noticed a definite change of pace in the group, people are a lot more enthusiastic and energetic and decisions are being made quickly and efficiently. Well done everyone, lets keep up the good work!!!! :)

Friday, 19 March 2010

A catch up and an apology!!

So first off, an apology for my lack of blogging. I have been rather busy, as i'm sure the rest of us have and have been trying to fit everything in - hence why this blog is being written at 11.30pm!!

So to bring everything up to date - the project has been moving forward a lot more and people are seeming to really get into it now. I have been busily trying to arrange meetings and will be starting workshops with St Elizabeth's School in Richmond after Easter!
Ham have decided that they would like a brass band to accompany the choirs for the 4 songs that everyone will join in with towards the end of the event, which seems to be a great idea and will sound fantastic.

Things seem to have picked up in the last few weeks, whether it is the realisation that the project is only 2 months away or just that people are starting to be more energised, there is a sense of new enthusiasm in the team. The last few meetings have been hugely productive with us using the first part of the session to gain feedback from the teams and then the rest of the time to contact, plan and organise. The parade is getting under way - we have started to look at groups that are quirky and fun, like drag acts, circus performers and nuns! We know that in order for the parade to really showcase the community and be an enjoyable day, it needs to be fun, loud, colourful and literally involve every type of person/group that we can think of. Lollipop ladies, commuters with their briefcases etc!

Briony, Emily and i have started to work on the business side of things, drawing up a contingency plan in order that we have all of our bases covered in event of something going wrong. I have been used to doing risk assessments before, through stage management, however this is a lot bigger and takes a lot more time. Just as the whole project does. I am enjoying it, though at times i feel that there is so much to do and not enough time. I think that we will all come together as we are starting to do now, although the pace does need to pick up a little bit otherwise we run the risk of running out of time.
Siobhan and Megan are doing a brilliant job and managed to secure accomodation for Ed and Laura for an extra night. They have also been working really hard on getting other students involved and creating the posters for the event. There are a lot of pockets of activity going on outside of the meetings and this needs to continue from everyone in order to make the event a true success.

The much anticipated SU night on Wednesday will be our first opportunity to come together as a team and create an event. It will be all hands on deck to make the SU look great and ensure that everyone has a good time. This way we will get some much needed money and can start looking at materials for the flags - we have decided that each group should have a banner or flag with which they will be represented. They will walk behind these in the parade and then the flags will line the terrace of the house in order for everyone to see who has taken part.
So things are starting to shape up and there are some busy, busy weeks up ahead.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Ham House Diaries - Bell Ringing

As a follow up to our meeting with the bell ringers, we were invited to go along to one of their meetings and see what they did. Myself, Hannah, Rachel and Sarah ventured off to All Hallows Church, Twickenham on Tuesday evening and climbed the tower to the bells. Stephen, the chairman spoke about the church - built by Sir Christopher Wren, its original home was Lombard Street in central London, however the congregation became very small due to the large amount of churches in the area. There was a high demand for churches outside of the city, especially in Twickenham and the surrounding areas and so the church was taken down and rebuilt brick by brick right here in Twickenham. The bells were also moved from the original site and we were able to climb higher to see them, up a tiny ladder which was a bit nerve racking. There are 10 bells in the church and when we got back down the other ringers had arrived and demonstrated the sound of all of them ringing together. They warned us before hand that the tower would move!! This was not them exaggerating how good they were... no the tower actually swayed when the bells rang!!!! Not the greatest feeling in the world when you are very high up and the only exit is down narrow, spiral, stone steps!!!
Anyway, once we got over the initial panic, we sat back and listened to the ringing - it was like a different language when they were calling out numbers and sequences. I never realised how complicated it was. We were given a go - i must admit i was slightly apprehensive at the thought of forgetting to let go and flying off into the roof! However it was actually quite fun, we only rang for a few seconds and my arms hurt so i can't imagine how they must feel at the end of the night.
It was a really lovely evening and we had the opportunity to meet the group and get to know them. They were really interested in the project and we spoke a bit more about it to them. There is an opportunity for more people to go next week, and i hope that they all do. It was a really interesting night and quite unexpected. I hope that meetings with the other groups go as well and we can start to build a lasting relationship with them.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Ham House Diaries - Sun, gardens and Thai food!!

On Monday as the sun was shining, myself, Zoe, Jennie, Siobhan, Megan, Ben, Emily, Ed, Sarah and Sharmilla took a trip to Ham House to catch up on ideas and get the layout of the day clearer in our heads. As soon as we walked into the garden, we all breathed a sigh of relief and were reassured that they day would be a success. We had forgotten just how big the space was!!! Realising that fitting people in would not be a problem we started to wander around discussing ideas and trying to come up with some solutions as to where people would go and whether we would be able to hear the choirs from the back.
It was really great to get to the house again and to start to visualize the day. The 8 grass squares are a lot bigger than i remembered and they will certainly be big enough for the groups and the audiences to congregate on, have picnics and sing along with the choirs.
We also walked to the river to have a look at the ferry. Ham are trying to make the event as eco friendly as possible and are encouraging people to use alternative modes of transport to their cars. The ferry is a nice idea as it is a part of the community and is also something that people may not know about. It might be difficult to arrange something though as we cannot guarantee the numbers of people that would use it and they do not normally run on Sunday's. It is something that we should think about though, as it would be great to include them.
After the house visit - we went to The Fox and Duck pub to meet the landlady Pretti and to have some dinner. The pub are really interested in the event and would like to be involved. They have recently started a Thai restaurant in the pub and offered to cook for us even though they are not normally open on Mondays. It was a really delicious meal, and Tai, the chef and Pretti were really lovely, friendly and welcoming. It gave us the chance to get to know some of the local residents of Ham and to show our faces. There was a large group of us so if people ask who we are and what we are doing then its an opportunity to sell the event and get people involved. It was a really lovely evening - we all got to know each other more, having lots of conversations and enjoying the company.
I think that it was a shame that there were not many people there. It is important that we are all on board and all take the opportunity to go out into the community that we are trying to celebrate and bring together. I'm sure that there will be lots more opportunities to do this and hopefully more people will come along.