Barn in village saves fair

Published on: 17 August 2021

The Friends of All Saints Bawdeswell was established some 18 years ago to raise funds for the general upkeep and enhancement of All Saints.

One of the important factors, like most Friends organisations, was that our fundraising during the year should pull the community together in a variety of ways and we should try to use the church as much as possible. When planning events for the year, apart from the usual, we try to do something a little bit different.

Christmas-time fundraising brings its own set of challenges; it’s such a busy time for everyone and there is always so much fundraising competition. Trying to find something that little bit different that doesn’t compete head-on with other local events is a challenge.

We are fortunate that we have a very gifted and active flower arranging team in the village and it was through their help and support that we were able to establish our annual ‘Christmas Wreath Fair’.

The fair has now become a popular event with many returning customers year on year pre-ordering their wreaths in advance. To help with the making of the wreaths a class is held on the day before where interested volunteers come together under supervision to help make the numbers required.

Over the years we’ve been able to add in seasonal produce, a few craft like stalls and the usual refreshments and a hamper raffle. These have all added to the occasion and brought in extra revenue.

With COVID-19, like most, our fundraising was decimated and it was impossible to stage any of our normal events. The one opportunity that did arise was to stage our Wreath Fair, although it needed careful planning and a suitable venue to meet with all the restrictions and to make the event as Covid-secure as possible. As the church couldn’t be used under the restrictions, we were able to move the event to a nearby barn in the village. This made a perfect venue that enabled us also to extend the craft stalls and sell stall pitches. The making of the wreaths was completed over two days with many making them up at home and a small group making them on site.

The whole event proved to us what you can do in such restricted times, being adaptable, pulling on your ingenuity and capitalising on the situation ahead of you. We learnt a lot and we know we can take those learnings in to the event for future years.

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