It is always good to be involved in festival in the local area. Not least because it gives us a chance to engage with a whole new audience who might otherwise never hear of us. This weekends Lakes Alive events have been no different. The first day (yesterday) Saturday was a very busy day with one of the highest numbers of people through our unit in one day we have ever had.
What makes doing these worthwhile are three things for me. Firstly that you do indeed get to meet a whole new set of people who will say things like “We never heard of you before”. What is really important in this though is the handful among those crowds who will come and say “My mum, friend, partner, son, daughter is really isolated and struggling, this could be just what they need”. Also on the other side of the “never heard of you before” coin are the volunteers. People with an interest in creative activity who see the work we do and want to help out. This is exactly what we need to help us run sessions and support people as well as we can. We had a few conversations yesterday that may result in new volunteers and service users.
Secondly it is the opportunity to catch up with people who have been to S2C or helped in the past. I had a few moments yesterday where a past service user was looking round and we were able to chat and hear how they were getting on. It is always rewarding to see people you have helped now getting on with their lives and flourishing in ways that you might never have expected. One of those “makes it all worth while” kind of things.
Finally it is raising awareness. A lot of people are interested in the arts and some of those know what they are looking at where some are less understanding of the work we do. Overwhelmingly in the people who came through yesterday there was very positive feedback. Positive about the work we do, positive about how effective a tool creative activity can be and also positive about the quality of the artwork being produced. I think over the last decade in the general population there has been an increasing awareness that art is not playing about and that we are very serious about what we do.
So this morning as I write this I am shattered but also very positive about the festival so far and looking forward to seeing what new opportunities, people and old friends the day will bring.
The last week in art: