Diamond Jubilee celebrations report

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Marquee

Photo by Brattleby

Marquee

Below part of the report that was submitted to West Lindsey as we had a grant to cover the hire of the marquee and other items:

The Brattleby Jubilee Bring and Share Picnic June 2012

This year we took the initiative to have our annual picnic event (normally the end of August) as a special Jubilee event. Our village does not have a pub, shop or school and no village hall or community meeting place in the village. We have a Paddock and a church (St Cuthbert’s). The church is currently being restored with the help of a Lottery Grant and with additional funds being raised through many community fundraising events over the past two years. We are a small village as we have 96 residents and 46 dwellings. 
For this special Jubilee event we wanted to make it more of a sharing event, as our previous picnics saw people who attended bringing their own and not necessarily sharing something. That is fine, and it has worked well. But after three years we wanted to take advantage of the occasion and add a bring and share element to the picnic. We were also aware that the weather could greatly influence people turning up, as well as the absence of a toilet facility in the paddock. In the past we used gazebo’s from residents to provide at least some shelter from the elements. We decided that if we want to attract more people, we would need to provide proper facilities. In addition we also wanted to free ourselves from collecting and setting up/taking down the equipment and bothering neighbours to make use of their toilets. Our volunteers have been greatly involved in fundraising events for the church over the past two years and the additional work with setting up gazebo’s and related activities. We wanted for this special occasion that they would be freed to enjoy the party as others would do, and to minimise the efforts of other volunteers for this particular event.

The picnic was set to start at 1pm on the Sunday, and the tables and chairs were distributed in the big marquee. It was raining steadily outside, so people could really go only in the marquee (or to the nearby portable toilet for the occasion). A small audio centre was installed running on a generator, and pleasant background music was played. The marquee had bunting and flags on the walls, and looked quite cheerful (see pictures).
Participants came and brought their dishes and drinks. One of the volunteers had coordinated the variety of dishes (mains, salads, deserts, sweets) as many were new to the idea.

At 1.30pm the dishes were all placed on a central table and the party was opened. Participants had a wide variety of food and drinks at their disposal. A Jubilee quiz was distributed with one question for each of the 60 years. Groups at the tables were formed to answer the questions (what happened with it later?).
In the mean time a request for a sponsored swim in aid of the church was circulated and many participants pledged sums of money towards it.

As the Jubilee is a special event, children of the village were presented with commemorative mugs. Games were played and enjoyed and many conversations took place.
 
Participant’s experiences and impact

There were quite a few comments about the fact that we were now brought under one ‘roof’, which made conversations more easily possible. 

“There is no better way to get people to chat than being crowded together with a common enemy, the rain! Scattered in the paddock we haven’t mingled quite as well."

“I often see villagers walking their dogs, but it is not so easy to start a conversation. Being together in the marquee gave us a confined space and time to get to know some of them a little better”.

“The Brattleby village picnic on the Jubilee weekend was a lovely opportunity for the villagers to meet socially.  Undaunted by the weather (and fortunately aided by a grant which enabled us to obtain a much used marquee, etc) we had a great time.  Our grandchildren, who also live in the village, were presented with commemorative mugs.  We will remember our community party, along with the national celebrations for many years to come.”  

“It was really nice for once not to have to worry about the marquee and other equipment, I could focus on the party”

“We were so delighted to get the grant for the marquee for the jubilee. It allowed us to plan ahead for the celebrations in the knowledge that the event would go ahead regardless of the weather.  On the day it would have been impossible to have a picnic without it. Close to half the villagers attended, including some that we seldom have opportunity to meet, which was an especial pleasure. The food was great.”

“We were sceptical about the bring and share approach but it actually worked very well. By getting everyone into a confined space you were encouraged to mix. It was an altogether good experience particularly for those same few who normally do all the work.”

Impact in the near future
The impact of this event will show in the near future. For once the importance of having the community in one ‘room’ and what is allows for is important. It is because we are preparing the community for the use of the Church for community purposes and are applying for funding to adapt part of it for the purpose. This also means that a toilet facility is high on the agenda. It will pave the way for a more inclusive community, as we will be able to use the facility for all to meet and do nice things. What happened on the Paddock during the Jubilee is that we can get together outside and explore what is important to organise (resources). It is a matter of time and repeated events and activities that will bring continuity and development that we like to see in our community.