Norfolk Makers’ Festival at The Forum, Norwich welcomed 78,000 visitors who enjoyed free hands-on fun with makers from across Norfolk.
Formerly known as Makers’ Month the new look festival organised and run by The Forum brought together 80 different organisations, businesses and charities to encourage visitors to learn new skills and raise money for good causes.
Over £5,000 was raised for local good causes including the Louise Hamilton Trust, a charity offering palliative care, and the Boudicca Breast Cancer Appeal to provide a new dedicated breast unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital
Festival visitors were amazed by the 14ft long knitted homage to Great Yarmouth’s Golden Mile in its 1970s heyday. The installation quickly went viral on social media with its creator Margaret Seaman becoming an online celebrity. Margaret spent a year re-creating the famous seafront stitch by stich helped by friends and family to raise funds for the Louise Hamilton Trust.
Visitors also helped create a beautiful crocheted blanked fashioned from granny squares with the help of textile artist and tutor, Sue Maton, of The Mercerie. The blanket was then raffled as a prize at the end of the Festival as part of fundraising efforts for the Boudicca Appeal.
The Festival also worked to raise awareness surrounding mental health, loneliness and wellbeing using creativity to combat social isolation whilst uniting friends, family and strangers.
Activities also increased awareness for a number of small and larger charities, including the Leeway White Ribbon Appeal and creating designs for the new community currency, Norwich Notes, a scheme that rewards volunteers in the community.
Lynn Crombie, from N&N Hospitals Charity said: “We would like to thank the Festival and The Forum for the continued support of our Boudicca Breast Cancer Appeal. We are hugely grateful to everyone who has donated both time and money to what we know is a cause which touches all of us. Every donation makes a difference and takes us closer to our target which will ultimately improve the treatment available to our patients.”
Other highlights included visits from Burnt Fen Alpacas, seeing a traditional blacksmith at work and creating graffiti art with Great Yarmouth based collective, Reprezent Project.
Work is already underway for the 2020 festival. Commenting Jayne Evans, Norfolk Makers’ Festival organiser said:
“This year’s Festival was great fun and I’m working on making the festival even better for 2020. I’d love to hear from local artists and craftspeople who are interested in being involved so we can expand the range of activities, including the festival fringe.”
Groups or makers looking to take part can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 016003 727 950.