On August 3rd we organised a family sleepover in Myatt's Fields Park.
The event lasted from 4pm on Saturday until 10am on Sunday. The Territorial Army was present with cadets who helped people put up tents, and then provided security throughout the event. The events were advertised widely through a leaflet distributed in the neighbourhood: in schools, library, job centres, housing associations, community centres and in local press. The response was very good and unfortunately, we had to turn many people down.
As ever the weather played a huge part in the event – Saturday afternoon was sunny and we had the best turnout in the history of the event – all registered families but one turned up. Two hundred people registered for the event and there were forty on a waiting list. On the day of the event people kept coming and asking if they could join in, however, we decided that for safety reasons, we could not admit more than 200. There were also 37 volunteers (TA and cadets) staying for the night.
The cadets helped families to put up tents as many people had never done it before.
From 6 until 8pm everyone had a chance to participate in one of the workshops provided by local organisations:
- gardening and cooking workshops by Myatt's Fields Park Project – children with parents had a chance to see how we grow food and how to cook a healthy meal. They were also informed about horticultural training available on site and food safety training.
- handcraft workshops by Loughborough Women's Group – children with parents were encouraged to have a go at creating jewellery, frames, baskets.
- fire workshop by Wild Nature – giving people a chance to play with fire in a safe environment, boosting their confidence and reconnecting them with nature
- camouflage demonstration and cooking demonstration by the Territorial Army soldiers
- there was also a stall from Volunteer Centre Lambeth to inform people about opportunities to gain experience through volunteering locally and a stall from Health Watch Lambeth to inform people about how they can get involved in running health services.
The fire workshop was very successful and went on for longer than planned as people truly enjoyed it. Following this, African drummers and dancers in traditional costumes invited people to a very expressive and dynamic dance. After the music had finished, there was still time for people to socialise by the fire roasting marshmallows.
The night was peaceful and people felt safe thanks to the TA soldiers patrolling the park.
In the morning everyone was invited to a free breakfast in the field. As last year, queuing for food was a great opportunity to socialise and again exchange experiences from the previous night. We were lucky with the weather and the beautiful Victorian park in early hours of the morning provided most wonderful setting we could imagine.
By 9 am everyone had finished their breakfast and by 10am all tents were packed. Cadets and children were playing last games before saying good-bye while volunteers were making sure the area was left clean and safe.
Myatt's Fields Park Project would like to thank everyone who was involved in the sleepover, especially our main partner, D Company the London Regiment and London Irish Cadets.
Here are some photos from the event...