A different kind of FestivALL
Since 2018, the month of July has been host to FestivALL; a month of inclusive events, activities and celebrations in Gloucestershire. We spoke with Lucy from our comms team – also a key member of the FestivALL team – about this year’s event, and how the challenges of lockdown have served as inspiration for the theme of linking up.
Q – Can you say a bit about FestivALL– what is it about and who is it for?
FestivALL was formed together with a range of organisations across Gloucestershire who share a passion for building an inclusive and welcoming county. So, FestivALL is for anyone and everyone; people, groups, communities and organisations.
Through FestivALL we want to promote inclusion – what it means and how we can all get better at it.
We want to collaborate and breakdown barriers between race, culture, faith, ability, sexuality, class, age and gender identity; as well as appreciating the intersectionality of people’s overlapping identities and life experiences.
We also want to provide a platform for people to celebrate together and to share good news stories about people joining together in and around Gloucestershire (yes, please get in touch if you have a story to share!)
Q – What’s happening for FestivALL 2020?
In light of COVID-19, this year nearly didn’t happen! The in-person events we had planned went straight out the window and so the FestivALL working group had to go back to the drawing board.
We had heard a lot about the inequality between people’s experiences of the pandemic, in terms of shielding and also levels of comfort being out and about. Many of the disabled people, people with mental health challenges and people with long term health conditions that we know have been most affected by this. Alongside this, we were noticing how inspired and excited people were about the rainbow trails in people’s windows.
So, we decided to try and work with this and create a FestivALL that could include everyone, whether they are staying at home or not.
We also wanted to keep it as simple as possible for people to get involved – there is so much going on in the world at the moment it was nice to produce something that’s simple and easy for anyone to join in with!
Q – Can you tell me a bit more about the theme of ‘linking up’?
We noticed that people are finding new ways of connecting, with friends, with families and also with their colleagues. Linking up during COVID-19 has been challenging at times for people, especially when a lot of it relies on equipment and a certain level of IT knowledge, but people are managing it and we wanted to celebrate that.
For the month of July, we are asking people across Gloucestershire to make their own paper chains, and either display them in a window for their friends and neighbours to see, or email or upload a picture online for people to see virtually (or both!). We think a paper chain is a great representation of how people have come together to link up with friends, old and new, during these unprecedented times. (There will also be a prize draw for one lucky person who sends us a photograph of whatever chain they have created.)
Q – How did Barnwood Trust get involved in FestivALL and who else is behind it?
This is the third year for FestivALL. The Diocese of Gloucester and Lives of Colour (previously called the African Community Foundation) invited Barnwood at the start and now a small working group from Active Impact, Write Up Your Street, the Diocese of Gloucester and Barnwood Trust make it all happen; with support from lots of people from organisations across the county such as BBC Radio Gloucestershire, Active Gloucestershire, LGBT+ Partnership, Lives of Colour and Inclusion Gloucestershire (to name a few!).
Q – How does FestivALL fit into the other work of Barnwood Trust?
At Barnwood Trust we champion the inclusion of disabled people and people with mental health challenges in the life of this county. As I said above, this is all the more pertinent at the moment – our Research Team’s report ‘Our Changing World: Experiences of Disabled People and People with Mental Health Challenges in Gloucestershire During the COVID-19 Pandemic’ is being published later this month (in the meantime, you can read about the project here).
Q – How can people join in the activities over the FestivALL month?
In lots of different ways. They can join one of the free online events, they could make a paper chain and send us a photo, they could encourage friends and neighbours to get creative, or perhaps support someone who they know would love to get involved but need some encouragement!
We would also love to hear from people, community groups or organisations across the county who would like to host an inclusive online event as part of FestivALL. We can support that to happen.
Q – What can someone do if they feel unsure about taking part in FestivALL?
They can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 01242 539935 if they’d like to talk it through, or send us a message on our Facebook page, whatever feels most comfortable.
To find out more about FestivALL and ways to join in go to www.festivall.org