treefest is a spectacular festive display of Christmas trees held in the Gothic splendour of St Mary Redcliffe Church. Each year we invite local organisations to get involved by entering a Christmas tree and decorating it in a style of their choosing. This offers local charities, schools, businesses and other organisations a great opportunity to tell local people about their services, causes or activities, while helping to raise money for good causes. Theres also a varied musical programme and a chance for visitors to vote for their favourite tree.
treefest has become increasingly successful over the last five years, attracting 1000s of visitors from far and wide and helping to raise valuable funds for local charities. This year the event will support St Mary Redcliffe's work in the community and this year's guest charity Preludes.
treefest benefits a variety of local charities each year, raising around £5,000 through the generosity of corporate and visitor donations. Please help us support this years charities, St Mary Redcliffe Community Development and Preludes, by making a donation.
St Mary Redcliffe Community Development
St Mary Redcliffe Church is passionate about making a difference within its parish and has recently employed a community development worker and youth community development worker to support its work in the local community. The community development team are working with the congregation, local residents and organisations, taking an asset-based community development approach to seek new ways for improving community relations and involvement across the whole Redcliffe neighbourhood.
A key part of the churchs outreach into the community is the weekly Redcliffe Lunch Club, established over 30 years ago, which provides companionship, a hot meal and entertainment for older, and often isolated, people. It starts with the serving of a two-course meal (prepared by the neighbouring Hilton Hotel), followed by a raffle and some form of entertainment. The club is run by a team of committed volunteers who are part of the church congregation and is supported by student volunteers from St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School.
The church has taken an active role in establishing and facilitating several community activities in the last few years, including a gardening club, film club, drama sessions and a story collecting project. They work in partnership with the Methodist Church to manage Faithspace, a community centre in south Redcliffe, where a number of these activities take place.
Provision for children and young people is an important part of the churchs community development work. Child poverty is amongst the highest 1% in the country in the area immediately south of St Mary Redcliffe Church and the church is determined to develop services in the local area that children and young people want and need. The church are currently leading basketball sessions in courts outside the high rise flats and supporting local initiatives to encourage children to play outside with their parents.
Great music, great kids, great futures
Preludes is a bold and innovative music project that has been running successfully since 2009 in several schools areas of Bristol experiencing high levels of disadvantage. It is the most extensive project of its type in the country and grew from discussions between Roger Huckle of the Bristol Ensemble, Professor Leslie Bunt of the University of the West of England and James Wetz, a former Head Teacher.
The aim is to put classical music at the heart of every childs education and by doing so improve confidence, co-ordination, speech and language and benefit all other areas of their learning.
Preludes is delivered by a growing team of dedicated professionals, managed by Penny Rawlings with the assistance of Charlie Groves and Dylan Jones.
Since September 2015, Bristol Plays Music has been a partner of the Preludes music education programme.
We began by providing an all-inclusive, structured musical education to the Reception intake of 2009. Each year we start again with the new Reception children, whilst continuing with the children already in school so that gradually the whole school is becoming more involved with music. All the children in the project are given the opportunity to learn to read music and to play an instrument in group and individual sessions. Every child is included in this process. The original children are now performing as an orchestra with violins, cellos, brass, recorders and percussion.
In 2014 our combined year 3 orchestra performed twice in the Colston Hall with the Bristol Ensemble and world-renowned pianist Freddie Kempf. And here are some of the Preludes children rehearsing at St Georges Bristol for the Bristol Junior Schools Christmas Concert.
The Preludes project performances are helping to boost parental involvement in school life and this has a positive impact on both communities.
As well as giving the children valuable musical skills we are aiming to give them enjoyable and uplifting life experiences in which their families can share.
We share with them great music, they are great kids and they deserve great futures.
Preludes requires significant funding to run and to ensure we can continue to make it available and to develop it further. We have been successful in gaining the support of a number of Trusts and Foundations as part of our on-going fundraising campaign, which also includes fundraising events and donations from private individuals.