Marc Read, Wiltshire Council's Community Engagement
Manager for the Tidworth
Community Area spoke to us about his experience of the Family Learning Festival.
How did you hear about the Family Learning Festival?
I’d heard about the Festival through Windmill Hill Children’s Centre, they usually organise an event every year which is popular with families.
What made you want to organise an event?
Tidworth Area Board www.wiltshire.gov.uk/council-democracy-area-boards recently held an ‘Our Community Matters’ event, where members of the public decide what our priorities as a community are. Child Poverty was the number one priority raised in the Children & Young People discussion group.
As Family Learning is a great way of raising aspirations and encouraging a love of lifelong learning, I thought the Festival was an ideal opportunity to support this community identified priority.
So, this is the first time you’ve planned a Family Learning Festival event – how did you get started?
I went through my contact list and sent email’s and made phone calls asking everyone and anyone if they wanted to be involved. One of the people I contacted was Joyce Stretton the Play Youth & Community Development Worker for the Army Welfare Service in Tidworth, and between us, we’ve managed to arrange an activity/event on most days of the Festival.
What types of activities are being organised?
We’ve managed to get a whole range of FREE events planned and we’re still adding to the list!
Activities are varied, with Anybody Can Cook holding cookery classes to the local Dementia Action Alliance hosting the Human Story Theatre production of Connie’s Colander.
Tidworth Leisure Centre will be extending some of their ‘kids swim free’ to parents and bringing inflatables into the pool for a family friendly ‘It’s a Knockout’ session. Wiltshire Museum is holding an Arts & Craft session for families with younger children as well as a historical talk for those with older children. Other activities due to run include:
• archery sessions by Aim on the Plain
• an open day at Ludgershall Fire Station
• a circus skills workshop with Wessex Community Circus
• Showbox Theatre session with Salisbury Playhouse
• a drumming workshop run by Kayla Drums
• a craft session organised by Wiltshire Scrapstore
• story session reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” where the local Tesco will be donating food to bring the story to life!
And of course, the Children’s Centre will be holding a family learning activity.
Have you targeted specific groups of people?
I have made sure all of these events and activities are free, so that access to the Family Learning Festival in Tidworth is open to all, no matter what their economic situation.
What advice can you give any other organisations looking to hold Family Learning Festival for the first time?
Start with what you know; I worked through my contact list to get started. Just try it out, this year is an experiment for me, I’m hoping that the interest generated will create a working group to organise Family Learning Festival 2018 and beyond.