Client: Methodist Church
Event: 3Generate (Children and Youth Assembly of the Methodist Church)
Date: 29-31 October 2021
Attendance: 1200 total ( 750 children and young people; 250 Group Leaders, 50 artists and contributors, 150 volunteers and staff)
Chris Parker, Event Manager, tells us about his experience of hosting the event.
3Generate brings together the children and young people of the Methodist church. The aim of 3Generate is to create an inclusive and diverse space for the prophetic voice of children and young people to emerge and be heard.
WHY THE NEC?
In order to deliver this exciting event of behalf of the church, we needed a combination of activity and living space.
There are not many places that provide indoor space large enough to bring together children and young people from across the church, into a safe and exciting space, that allows a rage of activities and spaces. Having discussed this possibility with staff from the NEC three years ago, this was a bit of an experiment to see if this could really work.
Other factors include being able to create a ‘safe’ environment for our children and young people and also a central position within the country with excellent travel links.
The basic format for this year was to create an “activity town” alongside an accommodation village.
Children and youth groups from local Methodist Churches would attend and be accommodated indoors in tents within the accommodation village.
Tents provided by “Pitched for You” were grouped into small corals to provide the right amount of accommodation for each group. We wanted to create a bit of an “indoor festival” feel.
The activity town hosted 14 different venues all with a different focus: The park was a place to chill, to play games, to listen to music from the band stand. The Art Centre was a place to practice all things arty and included some pictures from the Methodist Art Collection. Next door was the health and wellbeing centre providing opportunities for discussion as well as practical demonstrations like therapy dogs.
Over the road was the ‘Great outdoors’ with a dry stone wall, fir trees, log circles and sports equipment. As we move into the centre of town we find a Theatre, a town hall, a market place and a church. On the fringes of town a wilderness and an “on the margins” venue. Out of town, across the public atrium we created a music venue for bands and artists called the arena using the concourse suites.
There were so many memorable moments;
THE BIG GAMBLE
I guess the fact that the event took place and was able to take place in such challenging times.
We had to commit to this back in June '21 when the outlook was even more uncertain, we had to encourage our groups and give them hope that this really would happen.
The idea of being able to place the whole event within the NEC halls was uncertain and almost ground breaking in concept, the idea that 500 tents could be erected in the halls to provide accommodation, the idea that it would be possible to sleep in such an environment. The idea that groups would be happy remaining in these surroundings for 36 hours without going outside were all unknowns.
The amount of work that is needed in set up and in fact in take down when the venue has little or now infrastructure within it. The need to hire and distribute furniture to every area of the halls, the need to do the set up and take down in remarkable short timescales and to do this with a team of mostly volunteers was a big unknown.
But reality is that we achieved all of the above.
WHAT DID SUCCESS LOOK LIKE TO YOU?
The event exists to allow the voices of children and young people of the Methodist Church, to be heard.