The Winter Gathering event, took place on Saturday 16th December at Firstsite in aid of Mid and North East Essex Mind and The Haven Project. The event was organised by Colchester-based fire performance troupe ‘illoomiloonies’ who combine arts, fire and circus, using a plethora of props, music and light to create unique performances.
There were a variety of stalls, workshops, poets, musicians and performers present, all there to show their support for those experiencing mental health problems, particularly in the winter months when many people can feel particularly low.
Claire Brammer, AKA Lady P, one of the organisers of the event, wanted to share a few words of thanks and support:
“Thank you to every amazing being who made The Winter Gathering what it was – the stall-holders, the workshop leaders, the artists, poets, musicians and performers, the representatives of our chosen charities Mid and North East Essex Mind and The Haven Project, everyone at Firstsite, my loyal crew illoomiloonies, and everyone that came along to give support.
It was a beautifully diverse and gentle event that gave mental health a voice in a lively yet relaxed and supportive atmosphere – I am honoured to be a part of this amazing, family-orientated community!
A special moment for me was the Q&A with our charities’ representatives. I asked a client what he would do if he didn’t have The Haven Project; he said he wouldn’t be alive. We had a BIG hug!
It’s really important to recognise the work our amazing, local charities do but unfortunately, charities don’t work on recognition alone; they need financial support too.
Even though in total over 1,000 people came through the door, sometimes I get snagged by the suspicion that those who truly care (in relation to the local population), are few in number. It often appears that society is in denial. Maybe it’s just my problem – maybe people are just busy dealing with other things… or maybe we could ALL show more compassion? Probably all three 😉.
Talk about mental health is often still done in whispers, hiding behind fear of shame and being seen as weak. I find hope as those whispers turn into spoken word, music, art, performance – so a special THANK YOU to everyone who braved projecting their whispers and being an encouraging voice!
Hopefully in time, that united voice will become confident, loud and clear for all to hear, that together we can shake away stigmas, openly support one another and be a part of humanity’s healing journey!
At this time of year, light is diminishing and we are faced with cold, hard conditions. Although weakened, I vow not to be extinguished, and where possible, to shine my light for those who may be lost in the darkness, inspired by everyone who shines a light for me.
Love, light and illoomiloonimations.
Lady P x
P.S. Thank you to everyone who stayed to watch the show – your support in joining us in facing the cold darkness means the world!”
For more information on the iloomiloonies, please visit their Facebook page here or to find out more about how you can organise your own fundraising activity or event, please see our fundraising page.