It’s definitely about time for another 'Four Thoughts'… when we interview the people doing amazing things in Somerset.
For this one, we’re focusing on Community and Charity and we’ve been chatting to Paddy Hill and Kristen Lindop, Directors of Children’s World - an awesome charity that brings creativity, learning and fun to children all across our county and beyond. They enrich children's lives through workshops, integration and other interactive sessions, particularly the lives of children with special needs... and one of the Charity’s key aims is to create a positive attitude amongst all children towards 'disability'.
Every year, Children's World raises a lot of its funding at Glastonbury Festival and so this ‘fallow year’ comes with challenges. We caught up with the guys to find out about the cool events they’re putting on instead, to discover more about their brilliant work and as always, to uncover a few secrets along the way! ;)
So... grab a cuppa, sit back and prepare to be inspired as Paddy and Kristen share their Four Thoughts with us.
1. Hello Paddy and Kristen. First up, can you tell us a little bit about Children's World?
PADDY: Children’s World was founded in 1981 by Arabella Churchill. She was the head of the Theatre and Circus Fields at Glastonbury and she wanted to create a similar event for children. That brought about the first Glastonbury Children’s Festival at the Abbey Park and from there, she founded Children’s World to use Theatre and Drama to work with children with special needs in the South West. Over the years, the work has expanded to cover children of all abilities and we’ve worked across the UK and abroad.
I joined the charity in 1990 as part of a Government Training Scheme. I didn’t know much about the charity at the time, but I was interested in drama and Children’s World were looking for people who had that interest. After my first year, I could see very clearly how much the children responded to the workshops we were providing. I found it challenging yet extremely rewarding which is all you can ask for in a job, and I feel lucky to have been able to keep doing this work.
2. Can you share some thoughts about some of the projects you run? What have been the charity's proudest moments so far?
PADDY: We’re proud of all our projects for the way they achieve their outcomes - from our sensory work with students with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties through to our anti-bullying workshops for mainstream students and our international work. I think I’m most proud of our integration work that shows how children of mixed abilities can work together and make new friends, while creating puppets and putting together a show in a week.
KRISTEN: The thing I'm most proud of is that we give children, often struggling with very difficult situations, happy memories of fun theatre, circus and drama which they'll be able to draw on for the rest of their lives. This ties in with my personal proudest moment - putting together a clown show which I performed for children in refugee camps in northern France.
3. What sort of things do you do to raise funds and how can people get involved if they'd like to?
KRISTEN: We raise funds in lots of different ways. Our biggest source of income is usually fundraising at Glastonbury Festival, where we run backstage catering for the Theatre and Circus fields, including a coffee bar, the Green Room Bar, Green Room Cafe and the Children's World Cafe in the Cabaret Field. All are staffed entirely by volunteers. This year is looking very tricky for us, because it's a Glasto Fest 'fallow year'.
To fill this funding gap, we're putting on lots of events and many of our wonderful supporters are also running events for us too. Our next 'date for your diaries' is May 19th... our Green Room Bar volunteers will be bringing Festival magic, music and vibes to Glastonbury Town Hall, with eight hours of bands and DJs including Tankus the Henge, Glenn Tilbrook and The Emperials.
4. Tell us a secret about Children's World (or about yourself!) that no-one else knows :).
PADDY: I still have footage from the late 90’s/early 2000’s of Arabella and Haggis McLeod giving and receiving a custard pie at a Glastonbury Children’s Festival! I keep thinking about putting it online…. but have so far resisted!
KRISTEN: As a child, I used to write notes for people to find in the future and push them through gaps in the floorboards and behind loose wallpaper. My parents discovered one from 1979 before they recently moved house, but there are still plenty to be found!
Hiding those notes sounds like fun... and something Children’s World firmly believes in is that when children are having fun and enjoying themselves, they're far more open to educational learning, creativity and the positivity the charity wants to cherish and nurture. I have to say, we’re really inspired by the workshops and sessions Children’s World run, especially their anti-bullying workshops and the sensory sessions Paddy mentioned.
The anti-bullying workshops help groups of students explore what bullying is, the impact it has, how to combat it and in one of the workshops, children make a short film, shot around their school, that includes examples of how bullying might happen. That film is then used to reinforce anti-bullying messages there – such a powerful way of getting young people talking about the issue. You can find out more about these and the other types of workshops the charity runs right here - the interactive projector, for students with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties, looks absolutely brilliant.
Anyway, do give Children's World a follow on Twitter or Instagram to keep up to date with all the activity they've got going on and if you fancy coming along to the charity gig at Glastonbury Town Hall on May 19th, you can find out more and get your tickets right here.
We’ll be there, dancing like demons to Tankus the Henge (don’t quote us on the dancing bit! ;)). We'll definitely be making it our mission to find out just what was on those notes that Kristen used to write and hide around the house though! ;)
See you there!