During summer 2010 youth workers were meeting regularly with various groups of young people in Monk Bretton. One of these groups in particular was coming up with lots of fresh ideas of activities to put into a programme for the October – December quarter. The group of young people were very keen and were also eager to get involved in all the planning for these activities. The planning would begin in October.
With budgets being redistributed and a request emerging for youth workers to embark on innovative projects, workers and young people had to go back to the drawing board. Youth workers explained to the young people the purposes behind an innovative project and gave examples of what this might mean. They therefore revisited some of their initial ideas, as these seemed more creative and challenging. In hindsight, youth workers believe that this worked well and taught young people that things weren’t always simple and straightforward.
The idea that very quickly emerged was to deliver something in the community, aimed at helping others and fostering community relationships. A supplementary theme also developed, which was to raise money for young people in the area to take part in the earlier-discussed activities. As Christmas was 2-3 months away, the young people made the suggestion that the event should be a Christmas Fayre. This would combine the initial ideas of helping the older generation, baking/selling cakes and raising money.
The planning process
From then, the planning began. Young people agreed to meet with youth workers every week so they could be involved in the whole planning process for the Christmas Fayre. The first few meetings took place on the streets of Monk Bretton during evening detached sessions. Youth workers would come out with hot chocolate, delivery plan forms, blank risk assessments and a diary to ensure that meetings would be equipped to make proper plans.
After a couple of planning sessions, the young people had a general idea of what was going to happen, when, how, where and why. The lead youth worker then arranged for the group to meet with the Mayor of Barnsley in her parlour to discuss the project.
The meeting went really well. The Mayor was very impressed with the ideas and the way in which young people were looking to take an active involvement in their community. The young people (as well as the youth worker) were taken aback by the beauty of the town hall.
The next few meetings took place at The Youth Association South Yorkshire office, where young people began to narrow down the ideas for which activities/stalls should be included at the fayre. During these meetings they designed a poster for promoting the event in the community. The group also had a small budget to work with so they looked at the resources they’d need to purchase and researched prices so that they could come up with a shopping list.
Whilst in one of the meetings, the young people also came up with the name ‘Fun-razors’ for their group. Once they had this name, they were able to put together a letter, with the help of the youth workers, which would be sent out to a number of local businesses, asking for a contribution to the event.
Purchasing and promoting
The young people spent some time promoting the event, to friends, families and neighbours. They distributed their posters and leaflets and advertised it through word of mouth. Closer to the date of the event, the young people accompanied the youth workers on a shopping trip to purchase resources for the fayre. They had already completed their shopping list previously according to their budget so the aim was then to find what they needed for the best value.
There was a relatively long list of resources needed for the event. Some key ones were Christmas decorations, a Santa Claus outfit, a teddy bear, raffle prizes, food, plastic crockery, presents, wrapping paper and the list went on. Being involved in this stage of the planning process was vital for the young people. Young people benefitted as much from this stage as they did from the event.
The Christmas Fayre was booked for Saturday 4th December and was to take place at the community centre in Monk Bretton between 1pm and 4pm. Unfortunately, the vast amount of snowfall that week meant that the event had to be postponed for two weeks. The Christmas Fayre was therefore re-advertised as taking place on 18th December.
The main disadvantage of this was that many people who were due to attend on the 4th were not available on the 18th so turnout was always going to be a problem. However, there were a few of advantages too. Firstly, the new date was closer to Christmas Day and would therefore give the fayre a much more festive feel. Secondly, the group were able to promote the event more and youth workers managed to get the event promoted on local radio station Dearne FM.
The main advantage however was that the extra two weeks gave the group enough time to plan a tombola and gather donated prizes. This was very well received by the people who attended and all the prizes went.
Activities and stalls at the Christmas Fayre included a ‘name the teddy’ competition, a raffle and tombola, food and drinks, a card design activity, a cake stall and a Santa’s Grotto for the younger children. There was also a Christmas quiz for the adults and Christmas music playing in the background.
Approximately thirty people came to support the group and took part in this fun and enjoyable event. The fayre certainly brought together people in the community and the Fun-razors group raised £137.24!
“I really enjoyed that we did all the Christmas Fayre ourselves. If I did it again I would definitely advertise it some more.” Andrew, 17