Supporting accessibility at Big Church Festival 28/06/2022 L’Arche’s name in lights... or at least, the sunlight! Over the June bank holiday weekend, 20 brilliant folk headed to the Big Church Festival (formerly Big Church Day Out). We were delighted for L’Arche to be part of the festival for the first time, particularly as it gave us the chance to introduce L’Arche to many people who have never heard of us before. At the heart of the festival, a mainstage area saw tens of thousands of people gather to watch their favourite artists perform. We were proud that the accessible viewing platform showed off amazing L’Arche branding, in plain sight, for thousands of people to see! L’Arche adverts also featured in 14,000 printed copies of the programme, as well as amongst the sequence of slides projected either side of the main stage. The exposure we achieved through artwork alone was incredible – but it wasn’t the only way we got to announce L’Arche! Proudly supporting the festival’s first ever Accessibility Team When Big Church Festival asked us to support its first ever Accessibility Team, we felt privileged (and a little nervous)! Over the course of the weekend, Big Church Festival saw more than 35,000 people walk through its gates. Hundreds of those had told the festival about their access requirements in advance, and many more turned up needing help, reassurance and a friendly person to talk to. Thankfully, our brilliant team were on hand (kitted out with L’Arche branded hi-vis vests). Offering a brand-new service of course comes with its challenges, but it was great to hear from so many festival goers about how they felt noticed, valued and cared for and how they had a renewed sense of confidence in coming along to the festival next year. Chatting about L’Arche in The EXPO It was great for our team to chat to festival goers at our stall in The EXPO. Thousands of people passed through The EXPO each day: a place where they could learn about a range of charities and organisations as well as buy goods and merchandise. L’Arche had a vibrant stall, which of course showed off community-made artwork! From here we were able to introduce people to L’Arche, have some great conversations, and receive donations in exchange for our beautifully crafted goods. We also gave out leaflets designed to help people think more about how to get involved with L’Arche. Being community together, festival style! Our team was formed of people with and without learning disability. It included L’Arche staff, community members, friends and family and even those who were completely new to the L’Arche family! Being at Big Church Festival was an amazing way to get to know people across the L’Arche UK network. We ate together, explored together and partied together. There was sunshine and rain, challenge and triumph, and, for one crazy weekend we learned and grew together in a new and exciting way. When we bring L’Arche to the world, we bring our own ‘L’Arche world’ closer together.