Carnival Kids n
PHOTO: Jeff Searle

Spirit of carnival to be kept alive for schoolchildren

AS doubts remain over the format of this year’s Bridgwater Carnival, organisers are helping to keep alive the joy of the event for local schoolchildren.

They are joining a UK wide project which has launched a National Children’s Carnival Week, which will be held for the first time this summer.

Sarah Humphrey, Schools’ Liaison Officer for Bridgwater Carnival, said: “The idea for a National Children’s Carnival Week arose in conversation with the UK Centre for Carnival Arts (UKCCA) in Luton.

“Like many carnival organisers, they were faced with a re-imagining for their event – the Luton International Carnival, usually held in May.  This meant that many schools who would normally engage in costume making for their parade were missing out for the second year running.

“Covid-19 has had devastating impacts on our young people, with teachers and parents coming under enormous pressure to keep children learning through the pandemic.”

From Luton Carnival’s initial concept, the idea of a National Children’s Carnival Week has quickly developed and spread across the country, with carnivals in London, Bristol, Hastings, Northampton, Norwich, Derby as well as Bridgwater already planning to join in.

Each carnival will offer a fully supported arts package to schools and youth organisations which will make the process of creating their own carnivals ‘at home’ totally safe and stress free.

Clary Salandy, Artistic Director at UKCCA, who is leading the national programme, said: “Our dream is to have all children in the UK celebrate car summer term seems to fit in nicely in the middle of carnival celebrations throughout the land.

“The aim is to inspire children and young people through the creation of costumes, music, songs, and dance, in a celebration which will provide uplifting experiences and radiate the warmth and camaraderie that everyone desperately needs.”

For the past nine years, Bridgwater Carnival has been offering a wide range of carnival activities to local schools during the Autumn term in the lead up to the town’s normal festivities.

Sarah Humphrey added: “While we fully intend to continue to deliver our usual programme in 2021, this National Children’s Carnival Week (NCCW) provides even more opportunities for children to get involved in diverse carnival crafts and performances.”

As part of the NCCW, Bridgwater Carnival will be sharing their special theme ‘Once Upon A Time’ and are offering all schools and community family groups free online workshops. There is even an online dance session planned and a specially written children’s carnival song.

For more information on the National Children’s Carnival Week and how to get involved, contact Bridgwater Carnival.

Email: entertainment@bridgwatercarnival.org.uk or telephone the Bridgwater Carnival Centre 01278 428220.

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