#ORDF - an event produced, organised and ran by a group of inspiring young people, mentored and supported by Bigga Fish.
The aim of this project was to work with and mentor the young people at Springfield Youth Club (in Clapham) to produce an event highlighting issues within their community that they believed were important and significant. The young people worked with Karine (Project Manager) and Estelle (Facilitator & Street Team Captain) through a series of weekly workshops over the course of 3 months. They used these workshops to learn and understand the different aspects involved in running an event, such as different marketing strategies as well as using these sessions to organise their own event.
The group of 8-16 year old young people decided to organise a showcase event, which would create a platform for a mirage of talent including music artists, spoken word artists and poets, short theatre plays and motivational speakers. It would be an opportunity to work with professional artists as well as providing a platform for local artists and groups. They were also keen to work with a videographer, who could capture their process and document their journey leading to the event through a short film, which would be premiered as part of the showcase. The result of this was outstanding and definitely a highlight of the event.
The key outcome of this project was to raise awareness towards issues of homelessness; racism; police brutality and gangs and drugs. However the end result became an opportunity to show this local community and the staff at Springfield Youth Club how inspiring, ambitious and creative their young people truly are. The ideas they cultivated over the 3 months were awe-inspiring but to see this culminating in such a professional and well-organised event was wonderful.
From as young as 8 years of age, these young people were able to not only successfully organise an event but were also able to professionally run the whole day, including the event itself. They took on roles as front of house, back stage, artist liaison and even hosted the event, adding even more of their personality into the mix. The evening started with a (free) drinks reception, welcomed by the young people themselves who greeted them with confidence and professionalism. A DJ was amongst the drinks reception, setting the atmosphere of the evening whilst the front of house goers made their rounds amongst the guests. Our back stage individuals prepared the stage for the evening and ensured all would run smoothly from start to finish. The stage was lit with glamorous lighting (in the form of large star lights and strobe lights), transforming a usual sport hall into a wonderful performance space. The showcase started with an introduction from Steve Herbert, Springfield Youth Club's manager, to give a little background on their purpose of the project, followed by an introduction by Karine and Estelle. From then onwards it was over to the young people to run the show to host and introduce their acts and artists of the evening.
Four lovely, confident and enthusiastic young ladies (ages 8-12) led the showcase through, introducing artists and acts and interacting wonderfully with the audience, asking questions and actively engaging the audience with the issues they were addressing that evening. The evening consisted of talented performances from Springfield's own singing group, Springfield Souls; motivational talks from inspiring individuals Ivan and Richard, who themselves have experienced some of the issues being addressed; powerful poems and spoken word from our young people organising the event Brooke and Charley and performances from local artists, creating a platform for underground talent to stand out. The showcase came to an outstanding close with headline act and local rap sensation T Mulla, who got everyone to the front of the stage, creating more of a gig vibe and bringing the audience further into the celebration/party spirit.
To really prove that the young people organising this event went above and beyond, the event did not end with the showcase. Guests were encouraged to stay and mingle with the rest of the community with the After Celebration event. Food was catered by long standing club member, Marjorie, who provided an incredible spread of food including curry goat; jerk chicken; rice and peas and salad. Friends and family also helped with this food spread by donating local favourite dishes to the event, which was gratefully received as the event ended up catering for over 100 people! The after celebration was a great success and was a real added bonus to the evening. It provided an opportunity for the community to spend time together and share food and music, as well as coming together to understand these issues that these young people had drawn focus too.
The event was a roaring success! The effort and commitment the young people showed for this event really was commemorated by the turn out of people who attended. Their hard work most definitely did not go unnoticed. Over 100 people were seated in the hall for the showcase (with only 100 chairs hired!) They all came together to celebrate right up until the end of the evening. They arrived with bags of food to donate in exchange for their entry to the event, including catered food on large trays to share with the rest of their community. The young people were celebrated by not only their community but by friends and family and impressed them with their capability and diligence to producing this incredible event.