Saturday 23rd July 2011, saw one of the ever expanding Heatham House community open days, this time in conjunction with Splash Art Session and intriguingly titled “F.A.R.M Festival”.
Nearly 100 people were involved in running or performing at the event that was attended by well over 400 members of the local community who turned up to enjoy an attraction packed event, spread across Heathams expansive site and featuring a range of activities from Arts to Sports. The event primarily intended to raise Heathams profile in the community also raised £300 in much needed funds to help support the centre and its’ broad range of activities for young people.
There was something for everyone, young and old to enjoy including:
Splash Art Session an annual event that celebrates and promotes street art. The theme this year was “Graffiti Saved My Life” in honor of the Make-A-Wish-Foundation, a leading wish-granting foundation that grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting life threatening illnesses.. In excess of 35 artists attended the event at Heatham, many of them flying in from across Europe to create spectacular pieces of art “live” on the day in front of stunned crowd. This portion of the event raised £100 for Make-A-Wish and created several “sections” of art that are to be sold off, with all proceeds going to the foundation.
Accompanying the live outdoor artists, an exciting array of Street Art provided by several local artists and photographers were on display inside the house in the ballroom and Café, this following on from Heathams impressive display as part of the ArtHouse Exhibition back in June. Tom Ryall, a prominent local street artist, organized the ArtHouse display at Heatham and is currently in the process of arranging Heathams participation in “The Big Draw 2011” held in October.
Football Tournaments on Heathams purpose built 5-a-side pitch, these ran throughout the day with 3 ages groups. Teams from Nuffield Health Centre, Fosters, the House Staff team appeared alongside a large turn out of youth teams.
Skateboarding the “new” outdoor skate facility was officially launched at the event, the refurbished ramps originally from the Hampton Wick Kingsfield site were put to good use by a large group of skaters who participated in competitions that ran in the late afternoon. This outdoor facility compliments Heathams current indoor skate park, the only indoor facility of it’s kind in the borough.
Live performance and music ran throughout the day and included sessions held by Groove Academy, the Hampton based community music school for young people aged 11 – 18, they encouraged families and young people to get involved in “jam” sessions exploring a variety of contemporary music styles and under the guidance of their experienced tutors. Poets in the City:Spoken Word Allstars ran several workshops based around spoken word to music, this culminated in a well received performance to close the event. There was also a breakdance performance held in the gym as well as a jujitsu display out on the basket ball court that actively encouraged participation from anyone willing to get involved.
History: There was a fantastic display from Louise Skilton showing her personal endeavor to build a comprehensive history of Heatham House both as a Youth Centre and it’s far reaching past.
Tree Climbing: One of the highlights of the day was the tree climbing, organised by Climbology who provided specialist climbing equipment and guidance, allowing a seemingly non-stop flow of people to scale the dizzy heights of Heatham Houses London Plane tree – reputed to be one of the largest and among the oldest in the UK at around 400 years old.
Café – Heathams café run by young people provided it’s usual offerings of hot and cold drinks, cakes and savory items along with an outdoor BBQ for the event, food was in high demand throughout the day and at one point the BBQ ran out temporarily having sold over 300 hotdogs and burgers by 3pm.
Other attractions included Bouncy castles, Twickenham Woodcraft Folk, Local traders selling clothing and jewelry, Face Painting, a petting farm with sheep, goats, a Shetland pony, iguanas and tarantulas… The more traditional “Guess how many sweets” competition and Raffle were well received, raffle prizes were donated by some 25 different local traders from Twickenham and Teddington and included some pretty special offerings. Heatham would like to thank all those who got involved and donated something!
Friends of Heatham House, the local charitably organisation associated to Heatham House were present throughout the day, helping raise awareness of what Heatham House offers young people and also up-to-date information regarding their “Support Heatham House” campaign, aiming to prevent potential redevelopment of the site as a hotel, taking it away from the young people who value it so much more than they would the proposed, unspecified replacement. FoHH also provided (free of charge via supporter CTS Productions) the use of a state of the art sound system for the event as the venues own equipment is in urgent need of an extensive overhaul. Chair of FoHH, Carl Broadhurst ran a very limited number of guided tours for some small groups, leading them through the extensive grounds and the on into the house for an almost complete tour that included it’s original period wine cellar and coal storage. The response from most people taking the tour seemed to be one of amazement, having never been inside the house before or had the opportunity to explore its’ stunning setting “I had no idea it was this expansive, it’s simply wonderful” was one comment, another was “I can see why young people love this place so much, it’s like another world”
All in all a very successful day and a lot of fun was had by all.