The Power of Partnership

Family Arts Festival at Pen Green Centre July 2023 ©ABDigitalUK (more photos HERE)

The Power of Partnership

By Vicky Frayard, Made With Many

My legs were exhausted, but my heart was full, as we finished packing up the last gazebo at our Family Arts Festival on 1st July. As I drove home, I reflected on the magic I had witnessed throughout the day; from the small to the big moments, each was just as special as the last.

At Made With Many, we often talk about ‘moving at the speed of trust’ when it comes to our approach of developing partnerships within our communities. Nothing exemplifies this more than our partnership with Pen Green Centre. When I first started at (what was) Made In Corby nearly 6 years ago, I met the amazing Carol McFarlane, one of Pen Green’s family support team, at one of our volunteer evenings and the rest is history. Since then, we have delivered workshop programmes, parent and child groups, CPD for the staff teams, performance projects, play days, artist residencies and toddler led decision making panels. 

The day of the festival was full to bursting with creativity; from a giant hungry caterpillar to messy play, process art to acrobatics, bonkers veggies to doodle cafes, storytelling to sensory installations – the list goes on and on. And of course, in true Corby tradition, we were piped down the road to the tune of Scotland The Brave as we started our street parade!

I am incredibly grateful to the staff and families at Pen Green for trusting us with, not only another creative project, but also their 40th year celebrations. Thank you for trusting in our process, our ideas and for taking the leap of faith with us to deliver something completely new. The commitment of the staff at Pen Green as well as and the care and compassion you have for your families is unwavering. Ensuring that we removed as many barriers as possible to make the festival inclusive, welcoming and fun. Not only did we get to show Corby families how fantastic the centre is, but also families from across the county. 

The wonderful Liz Clark, who over the years has been instrumental in developing our programmes with Pen Green, often talks about early years work being wholehearted and full bodied – and this feels like a beautiful way to describe the approach we took when developing the festival. Every artist who was part of the day wholeheartedly gave every family a full bodied creative encounter, and I thank each of you for bringing this to Corby.

It really has been the most incredible festival to co-produce, and dare I say, one of my favourite ever projects I’ve worked on. Thank you to everyone involved:

All the artists for your creativity and boundless energy

All the festival finders, contributors and sponsors

Rutland Medical Solutions – thanks to Michelle for your support and bringing ‘the nee naw’ for the children to look around

Susan Shier – one of our wonderful volunteers who was a clay making queen throughout the day!

Abi Lee Designs – for creating the most beautiful branding for the festival

Everyone who attended – thank you for supporting our festival

My wonderful team at Made With Many; Tom, Trish, Marian, Myrle, Jess and Courtenay

And of course, thank you to the Pen Green dream team, without whom this event would not have happened!

Here’s to next year…!

If you attended Family Arts Festival, please complete the survey and find photos of the day HERE

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