On 8th July 2017 the inaugural HesFest took place. An event that had taken several months of planning and had involved all the people we support as well as many members of the staff team from across all sites, engaged in several ways through pop-up craft sessions, planning meetings and decision making through voting.
The grounds surrounding Hesley Hall were a hive of activity during the days before the event with people decorating trees, fencing and bushes with wonderful handmade yarnbombing, pompoms, bunting, painted tiles and masks during the craft sessions. The stage was built, marquees and wigwams erected, seating arranged, parking and safety arrangements sorted plus so many other tasks completed. A huge well done and thank you to everyone who got involved with the preparations.
With the unpredictable weather we'd been having lately we were very lucky that on the actual day it was beautiful, in fact the best day of the year arguably, we'd like to think we helped ensure this through the painting and making of a couple of hundred rain sticks and painted sticks!!
The day included several performances from people across our services, Wilsic singing, the College dancing, Fullerton playing drums and singing, Low Laithes took to the stage with a Makaton choir, Hesley Village joined Roger on guitar and Community Solutions also sang. The Hesley Choir, which also includes 3 of the people we support, sang a number of songs from "I can see clearly now" through to "Bridge Over Troubled Water".
Several other musicians were also invited, both professional and amateur, including Gilmore and Roberts, The Cosmic Sausages, The Kabal, The 19Tweleve’s, The Adrenalin Brothers, a local Gospel Choir and the Groove. These were all supported with two sound engineers and a member of our staff team.
We also enjoyed a visit from "SWAMP Circus" who travelled all the way form Cornwall, they did an excellent performance and also ran four skills building workshops for all to have a go at – very talented people!
Wigwams provided a great sensory escape for us all and looked fantastic on the front lawn with the staff providing face painting, story-telling and hair braiding. The fete stalls looked great with several weeks of hard work ensuring that we raised plenty of money for our chosen charities and the caterers provided a great range of options including pizza, cakes, ice-cream, fish and chips, wraps, burgers, pulled pork, all washed down with tea, coffee and cold drinks.
We'd like to say a massive THANK YOU
to the following businesses as they donated some very generous raffle prizes that raised about £1000 for charity of which Hesley will match making a fantastic total amount.
Ye Olde Bell, Barnby Moor
Mount Pleasant Hotel, Doncaster
China Rose, Bawtry
King William Pub, Scaftworth
Bawtry Paintball, Bawtry
Crown Hotel, Bawtry
Whitewater Shooting, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Blyth
Go Ape at Sherwood Pines
Zuvu Fish Shop, Tickhill
Click Print, courtesy of Jamie Turner
Prizes from Torne Valley, Tickhill
.......plus many of our own staff kindly donated prizes
The money raised from the day will be split between these local community/charity based projects that we already engage with:
Pets as Therapy
RDA horse riding
Purple Patch Arts
Communication Specialist College (Doncaster Deaf Trust)
Holmescarr Ark and Crafts
Live Music Now
Tom Hill Centre
The Ethel Trust
During the day an amazing number of people came along to enjoy the event with just over 660 people attending, which for our first one we felt was fabulous support from all. Our sincere thanks go to everyone who helped make it such a successful event, your hard work with planning, preparations, support on the day and clearing away afterwards were very much appreciated. It certainly was a day to remember. The feedback we have received has all been very positive - we're already planning next years!
There were many wonderful photographs taken throughout the day, here is just a selection we'd love to share with you....