Plan­ning for bet­ter fes­ti­val

Herald Express - - Down your Way -

TEN days ago we held our fourth Age­ing Well Fes­ti­val which was the cul­mi­na­tion of a full year’s plan­ning.

It should never be un­der­es­ti­mated how much work goes into or­gan­is­ing events like this, from the con­cep­tu­al­i­sa­tion through to de­liv­ery, it takes an enor­mous amount of ef­fort by never enough peo­ple.

In our case we have a small (but per­fectly formed) team of over 50-year-olds who give up their time, and give of their ex­pe­ri­ence freely to al­low us to put this event on. And it is no mean feat.

Al­ready we have in the di­ary the plan­ning meet­ings for next year’s event, though we do not have any inkling of its venue, con­tent or even theme, but the plan­ning has to start some­where – and where bet­ter than just a few weeks af­ter the last one.

We have al­ready be­gun go­ing through the feed­back forms for the last event which we held, af­ter a last-minute switch of venue, that we could not forsee at the Paignton Com­mu­nity and Sports Academy in Bor­ough Road in Paignton.

The venue was not ideal, but hav­ing been thrust upon the or­gan­is­ers they set about mak­ing the very best of a lim­ited lot. If truth be told the venue was too ‘bitty’ with events be­ing held across wide area, which is far from per­fect.

Given the av­er­age age of the at­ten­dees, there were too many steps, spread over three floors – some­thing which we would not have dreamt of con­don­ing in an ideal world. And then there was the soli­tary lift, that give up the ghost af­ter only a few hours. It is easy to be dis­heart­ened when read­ing some of the feed­back forms, but all must be put in con­text. We reckon that there just short of 1,000 peo­ple on the edge of Paignton, the vast ma­jor­ity of whom had a great time try­ing new things, go­ing back to things they had for­got­ten as well as hav­ing a bit of a dance.

One of our own com­mu­nity builders wrote about her own 92-year-old fa­ther’s ex­pe­ri­ence of the fes­ti­val: “My dad came to the fes­ti­val this year for the first time, all the way from St Ives!

He came with my brother and his two chil­dren, af­ter spend­ing a few hours there, en­joy­ing the mu­sic and dance, the chil­dren wanted to go to the beach, so my brother told my fa­ther to wait by the gate while he went to get the car. Af­ter 20 min­utes I was get­ting wor­ried. I asked ev­ery­one I saw if they had seen him.

When we even­tu­ally found him he said: “I have been hav­ing a fan­tas­tic time, I found my­self in a clown­ing work­shop, I showed them a thing or two about clown­ing and im­pro­vi­sa­tion, ev­ery­one there was so good, I was very im­pressed.”

If feed­back be needed, then there it is.

So, on with the next one – date and venue to be de­bated and an­nounced, but for now what we need is more in­de­fati­ga­ble vol­un­teers, will­ing to give up their time, their en­ergy and their en­thu­si­asm for the ben­e­fit of the over 50-year-old com­mu­nity across the bay.

If you want to help – no mat­ter how much or how lit­tle, give me a call on 01803

212638 or email me at: DavidGled­hill@Tor­ and I will put you in touch.

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