In 2014, we volunteered to coordinate the children’s area of Bardic Picnic, Northampton’s free summer festival celebrating the spoken word. We immediately recognised that the area should include something for the whole family, to truly meet the needs of children, so we quickly renamed it the Family Area and began to plan a variety of activities and entertainment within a comfortably decorated area, suitable for everyone.
This proved to be a very successful combination, with families and volunteers alike experiencing a wonderfully fun and fulfilling, creative day. When parents told us that we had helped them to think of ideas for fun activities at home with their children, after the event, we knew we were creating something positive and empowering for the community.
We used this experience as a basis for our continued involvement in free, local, events and festivals, creating our mission statement of “Inspiring families to create together”.
In 2015 we coordinated the Umbrella Fair Family Area, providing our uniquely decorated and creative area to approximately 3000 family members over the two day event, incorporating a giant bed for storytellers (and small bouncers!), theatre performances, dance workshops, meditation and a resident cardboard sculptor. Having grown to a group of 30 volunteers, we were confidently able to assist parents, carers and children in a variety of activities, as well as showing them how to recreate those activities at home.
2016 saw us coordinate the family areas for both Bardic Picnic and Umbrella Fair again – another wonderful summer of celebration and creative fun!
In 2017, we decided to launch our organisation as The Family Folk, with our project, “Supporting Families Through Creative Play”, to take our skills further afield, facilitating workshops in a variety of environments, including art exhibitions, charity shops, more local festivals and the Northampton Carnival. Alongside this expansion, we are also creating one-off events of our own, in collaboration with other local organisations, such as Umbrella Fair Organisation, Sensory Sparkles, FACT and local yoga teachers.