Our first guest blog in the series, written by Helena Nussey, Events Co-ordinator at City of Chelmsford Mencap.
Sunburst Festival is, at its very heart, a celebration of community. The Festival presents us at City of Chelmsford Mencap with the unique opportunity to work in the core of retail business in Chelmsford, and to bring something unexpected and different to our city – a Festival which not only brings local and independent traders and musicians to an area otherwise exclusively ‘big-business’, but does so whilst providing adults with a Learning Disability the platform to engage with the wider community, and to show that the contribution they make to society is important and meaningful.
Our students will be highly visible throughout the day – members of the public will be able to bop along to the choir and dance group, enjoy a cream tea with scones and jam made by the students, and buy products made in the social enterprise, Independent Designs. The students’ input is already clear – the poster for Sunburst features icelollies drawn, digitised, and colourised by Independent Designs artist Aktar, who is thrilled to see his work on posters around town. Grilling Aktar on how he feels about his artwork being seen by so many members of the public, his short answers of ‘happy’ and ‘proud’ don’t quite demonstrate what it means to him, but the huge grin on his face more than says it. His new-found fame hasn’t gone to his head though, and he still encourages as many people to come and enjoy the event as possible – he may even put in an appearance with the dance group and choir – and also to sign some autographs.