How the Meraki Festival is supporting local charities and giving back to the community

PUBLISHED: 14:00 28 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:09 01 August 2018

Home-Start Herts at the 2017 Meraki Festival.

Home-Start Herts at the 2017 Meraki Festival.

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St Albans’ only major music festival is once again backing local charities in order to support their work in the community.

Home-Start Herts at the 2017 Meraki Festival.Home-Start Herts at the 2017 Meraki Festival.

This year’s Meraki Festival, which is taking place at Herts County Showground from August 10-12, will be supporting Home-Start Herts, Rennie Grove Hospice Care, Electric Umbrella and Verulamium At Play.

Home-Start was founded by Margaret Harrison in 1973, and is now one of the leading charities in the country helping families in need. They offer support services to families who are struggling with the demands and challenges of parenting. The Herts branch was hit by county council cutbacks in recent years, but is now supported largely by charity fundraising within the community.

Strategic manager for the charity Suzy Moody said: “We are really pleased that Meraki are again supporting Home-Start Herts this year by offering free tickets to families we support. The festival last year was fantastic, and the Home-Start families that went thoroughly enjoyed it. Many of the families we support wouldn’t be able to attend an event such as this because of the cost, lack of confidence, or other issues. This is a lovely opportunity for them to enjoy a family day out, knowing that our volunteers (who have also received complimentary tickets) will be there to help them on the day.”

Verulamium at Play was founded in order to raise money to replace the playground in Verulamium Park, which campaigners describe as having “reached the end of its life” and which “desperately needs to be brought up to date”.

Home-Start Herts at the 2017 Meraki Festival.Home-Start Herts at the 2017 Meraki Festival.

Spokesperson Jessica Chivers said: “Meraki have been absolutely fantastic in their support for Verulamium at Play. We love their whole ethos and are delighted they’re back again this summer and returning at the end of the year to revamp the Christmas market in St Albans. Hats off to Kerry and the team for their creativity and community spirit.”

Rennie Grove was founded in 2011 when the Iain Rennie Hospice at Home and Grove House charities joined forces. Together, they have been caring for local families for over 30 years. The charities have a focus on cancer care, but provide help to any patient that is terminally ill or has a life-limiting illness.

Head of fundraising at Rennie Grove Hospice Care Kate Grigg said: “We are so pleased to be a charity partner of the Meraki Festival for a second year. This uplifting family event is taking place in the heart of the community in which our nurses deliver care to patients who have a life-limiting illness and provide support to their families. The Festival captures our ethos of living well and enjoying life to the full which is what we aim to help our patients achieve. We are also very grateful for being given the opportunity to attend Meraki and raise awareness of the type of care Rennie Grove provides to local patients.”

The final charity partner is Electric Umbrella, a vibrant, unique co-creation between adults with learning disabilities and music industry professionals. They are challenging the perception of people with learning disabilities by empowering and enriching lives through music.

Home-Start Herts at the 2017 Meraki Festival.Home-Start Herts at the 2017 Meraki Festival.

The charity runs a diverse programme of events and provide a range of opportunities for everyone to demonstrate their musical ability, working together to create, experience and perform music through regular workshops, performances in pubs, studios, theatres, festivals, live radio and everything in between.

Meraki also provides 200 tickets to army families looking for a day out when they are back from tour and free tickets for volunteers from select hospices in Herts.

The Herts Advertiser is the official media partner for the Meraki Festival - follow everything that’s happening during the event on our website at hertsad.co.uk and the Herts Ad Facebook page, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #MerakiMemories when sending us pictures and comments.

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