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HBTSR at The Big Skill

HBTSR were asked by the organiser of  The Big Skill Festival, Emma, if we would like to have a free stall in return for some help in setting up and on the gate. We explained it was a particularly busy month but the consensus was that the group would participate as a means of letting more people know of our existence and of the need to welcome people seeking asylum/refuge.

Steve and Lawrence put up our gazebo in a very prominent position and then helped to put up another one! Steve made bunting, our banners were easy to see and Virginia made some super clear signs. We printed a load of leaflets, had our donation buckets, display boards, some books  for sale written by people seeking refuge and our teddies expertly gathered by Brenda, Melrose and Janet who also labelled them.

Ailsa filled a rucksack with some items  to encourage people to think what they would take if they had to flee and  made up two folders with photos of what people seeking refuge did take with them. The stall was ‘manned’ in shifts by Brenda, Louise, Barbara, Reg, Margaret, Mike, Sarah, Chris, Janet,Pauline, Rachel, Sally, Carrie, Virginia, Lawrence and Ailsa and Sean called in to offer support.

We had two very successful days. The stall looked  superb and the teddies were a great success. Most people seemed happy to give a teddy a new home and some love! The messages about why the teddies had to flee were poignant and each label had information about our group. We sold all the books and gave out a number of leaflets. Rachel came with kite making kits on Sunday which was extra fun.We made some good contacts especially amongst the musicians and artists for away days or future fundraising.

Our total raised over the two days was £163.27!  Emma was very grateful for the help from our group – especially Steve (and Lawrence) who put up and took down the tents and Steve sat on the gate throughout with help from Dante and Lawrence.

Sarah, Chris and Steve had to cope with 2 drunk men who were a little hostile but mainly drunk and noisy. The first man suggested that we should concentrate on stopping the wars rather than looking after the people affected (if only) and the second seemed keen to discuss conspiracy theories. Otherwise, we had our usual good reception from people who were supportive of the need to care for people fleeing wars , torture and political strife. So another busy but productive weekend with some new friends and supporters. Thank you!

Emma: So many happy smiley faces, and armfuls of new creations taken home.. all the late nights and admin and making plan B and C are very much worth it! Huge thanks to Leon Rebecca Buck, to all the staff at The Globe, and to the volunteers from HBTSR… very many thanks to all the visitors, and a big round of applause to all the practitioners who worked so hard running their very popular workshops, and to the gorgeous stallholders too!! Look out for even more next year!  A very big thank you HBTSR for all your help at the Big Skill Crafts Festival! Trevor and I would like to offer a donation to the group, and will be in touch soon.

For more information on The Big Skill: