Every year we attend The Barford Festival, organised by the Friends of Barford School. My brother is heavily involved in organising it, something that I am immensely proud of, as it really is an amazing event.
For such a small village to put on such a full and impressive day, including live music, stuff for kids to do, loads of good food and drink is really quite inspiring. It balances entertainment for children and plenty for adults too and goes on late into the night. It’s certainly more than a village fete. They do it to raise funds for the primary school and also, I suspect, because despite the hard work, they have fun.
The thing that strikes me every year is the massive sense of community that surrounds the whole event. The Army Cadets organise the car parking, mums are doing face painting and crafts for the children, the local WI are serving tea and cakes in the village hall, a nearby pub provides provisions for the beer tent and a local restaurant do the same for the BBQ, teachers are flogging raffle tickets or getting soaked in the stocks (unsurprisingly a very popular stall) dads are running the bar or organising the live music and even older siblings of the school children can be found manning the bouncy slide or walking around blowing bubbles, dressed as fairies. (fairies dressed in neon I might add)
Since it started in 2005, money raised has provided some fantastic extras that are not covered by the normal school budget. A play shelter, extra school trips, music and drama workshops, new equipment, toys and games, extra books. Things, I think we can all agree, we want to part of our children’s education.
Which brings me to my final point. Mr Cameron, when you are banging on about ‘The Big Society’ and asking us all to ‘do our bit’, please be aware that many people already are. It doesn’t always look flashy and isn’t part of a government led initiative, but they are filling a gap that you and many before you have left. So, rather than worrying about us doing our bit, why not do yours?