On August 20th, I finally achieved my goal of bringing The Complete Freedom of Truth (TCFT) to my home town of Croydon. This is a project that I love and means more to me than I can describe – you properly have to see my eyes brighten and face light up when I speak about it and all that it’s done for me.
Getting the TCFT Croydon pilot to happen was hard work, despite running only for one day, mainly because I began planning for it in June. I was ready to give up twice, but fortunately I persevered and was able to watch a beautiful day take place.
A group of us gathered on a Sunday to bring something new to Croydon, develop relationships and explore our truths through art. We broke the ice and got our minds ready with a morning warm up led by Daisy. We were joined by the Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Toni Letts, and her consort, who got involved too, followed by the Mayor saying a few words.
The main part of the day was the workshops, which I’m pleased to say were a success. Music and photography rang out through Matthews Yard and beyond, poetry and theatre brought life to Project B, while art flowed through Turf Projects. As I floated between each venue, I observed how enthused and engaged everyone was in their workshops, which calmed me down and made me smile.
We also had a mini discussion, led by the brilliantly dynamic and inspiring Geraldine Sharpe-Newton, who empowered those in attendance and provided us with plenty of food for thought. I hope that the young participants left the day with encouragement to become change-makers and not remain stagnant in society.
One of my favourite parts of the pilot was watching the work created throughout the day come together in the final sharing of work at Braithwaite Hall. Considering the short space of time each group had to create their pieces, I was extremely impressed with the quality and overwhelmed by what had been produced. There was true talent in the room and I would love to have seen what they could have created in an extended length of time.
Considering my worries and anticipation, the day went really well and better than I could have imagined, although there is plenty of room for improvement. I know I need to have some better time keeping, have a list of tasks to assign to volunteers and properly layout how the final sharing of work will run. I also need to promote more and go into other organisations, telling them about TCFT.
Most of all, I need more time to plan and put everything together, which should be a lot easier next time, considering everything I’ve learnt and the various skills I’ve gained. Going forward, I know that I’ll need some training for certain aspects and a bigger team of people to work with, who will definitely be able to commit their time to carrying out tasks.
The main point of the TCFT Croydon pilot was to see if it would work and if there was a want for TCFT in Croydon. Looking back on the day, I saw that it does work and there is definitely a want for it in Croydon, but more people need to know about TCFT and understand what the project is. I can see that it has the ability to grow, host more regular projects in Croydon and contribute towards a more united, democratic society.
To finish, I want to say a big thank you to my co-facilitator Naomi, who created all of the gorgeous graphics and marketing imagery for the day, and also facilitated the photography workshop. A big thank you as well goes out to the truly amazing workshop facilitators for the day, who got the best out of our participants: Nikki, Liberty, Chimaine, Daisy, Humi and Cedoux. The day could not have happened without you.
Big thanks goes out Robert and Skye for taking photos and capturing the day, ensuring that it would not be forgotten. Big thanks also to my dad for preparing the food, my sister for registering everyone and holding down the information desk, and my mum for all of the help she gave throughout the day.
Thank you so much to Opera Circus for partnering with us on this project, helping with many of the legal aspects, and to Tina from Opera Circus for supporting me throughout the whole process. I don’t think I could have done this without you mentoring me.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of the volunteers who gave up their time on a Sunday to support, all of the participants who got so brilliantly involved in the day and also everyone else who helped me along the way in the organisation process.
Last but not least, a huge thank you to Matthews Yard and Turf Projects for supporting us by providing your beautiful spaces without asking me to pay a penny, and thank you to Project B for the use of your venue yet again. And finally, a huge thank you to Croydon Council for your supporting and sponsoring us through the use of Braithwate Hall, and to FAB Croydon for sponsoring us through donation. You were all a part of this day.