High Street Baby Festival is a new high-street engagement initiative for bringing families, local businesses and children’s services together. This blog will share what we have been doing, who we have been working with and some of what we have learnt through hosting a mini festival last week in Loughborough Junction.

Setting up the prototyping session proved a little nerve racking – perhaps in part because we wanted to look at whether we could quickly harness existing local networks to get people to attend something child health and well being related in their nearest town centre (Loughorough Junction).

Sure enough start time came and went and only two people came through the door. After about 30 mins we had no choice but to steam ahead regardless. Fortunately however as the morning progressed people continued trickling through and by the time of our centre piece activity we had a fully engaged group of mums and kids, and even a Council officer and local community org representative here and there. In the end – it all turned out fine.

Some of what we found out
•       The present name “High Street Baby Festival” is missing the mark – it sounds to commercial and does not describe the sharing aim
•       Parents would most like festivals on Saturdays as that’s when they shop but shop / cafe owners would want festivals during quiet times
•       Link it to activities in housing associations
•       Provide opportunity in planning / marketing to ask people want they would want festival to include
•       Council would consider issues identified in festival planning – ie a) if people asked for something they would help locate it b) not being able to locate would inform strategies
•       Council would welcome outcomes from festival
•       People really loved potential for a festival to include things that were not the run of the mill – ie the same stuff that already happens every Tuesday
•       Few would be persuaded to run a session or attend from a flyer – need to link into networks, friends, word of mouth
•       Attending would not be subject to friends attending
•       Activities for kids very, very important

Who we’re working with:
We really love these first draft sketches from our team artist Cat Trevena for High Street Baby Festival report graphics. Looking for special gifts for Christmas or for a friend whose about to have a baby – why not check out Cats fantastic hand painted works and prints at http://cattrevena.com.

Before High Street Baby Festival


During A High Street Baby Festival

The wonderful Marleen Vermeule from TamTam Theatre in Southwark won everyone over at our Louborough Junction prototyping session with a performance that could well be staged in any fast food outlet, library, cinema foyer, shopping centre or outdoor space as part of a High Street Baby Festival http://www.tubechop.com/watch/1691558 If you are looking for something that will really enthrall and delight young and old and also get everyone thinking about the power of play in child development. Why not contact Marleen to perform for your parent group gathering, housing association AGM or whatever, or even as a regular spot in your cafe as a way to draw in the parent and carer crowd – tamtamtheatre@hotmail.com