A further addition to the ‘launched in 2021’ file is the cheekily named ‘Anti Loo Roll Festival’ which saw more than 4,000 guests flock to Lower Castle Park, Colchester in September 2021 and is now set for its second incarnation on Saturday, 10th September 2022.
The Festival is the brainwave of the Anti Loo Roll Brigade, a community group that supported vulnerable people at the beginning of the pandemic and throughout lockdown, originally set up by by Peter Dutch as a response to the panic buying during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the initial aim of setting up a support network for those who needed help to get through lockdown.
Once set up, the Brigade quickly became a lifeline for local elderly, disabled and isolating community and arranged prescription delivery services, provided education services as well as providing food, gifts and much needed positivity to local NHS and care homes.
The group provided 15,000 masks to the local care network and linked them up with suppliers after running a highly successful campaign with St Helena Hospice during the PPE crisis. It also managed to re-house 3 families whose houses caught fire during lockdown and is nearing completion on re-building one house and has created and completed many DIY SOS projects through this wonderful community. Through donations they then managed to provide furniture and goods to people in need; referred to them from the various agencies they started to work with.
It has now become a Community Interest Company looking to continue the good work of the past year through:
- Providing free furniture, goods and support through referrals from the various agencies working closely with the local domestic abuse team, local homeless agencies, Colchester Borough Council, Social Services and many more.
- Completing DIY SOS style projects and aim to continue to offer help and support where it can.
- Working with ECC and Social Services discussing a way of providing work placements and skills, teaching for local homeless teenagers and youngsters who come through the care network, providing laptops and working hard to break their cycle.
- Financing a fuel poverty scheme with Colchester Cap Debt Centre.
- Provide financial support for emergency food providers.
- Paying for physio and therapy for Hope for Grace and are in early talks about providing bursaries for local handicapped children with Kids Physio works.
Headliners are set to be announced confirmed in the coming weeks. Last year’s event saw revellers enjoy performances from Scouting for Girls, Matt Cardle and Jake Quickenden. As a family-friendly event there’ll be a range of food and children’s entertainment on offer too
Dutch said: “I think I’m still coming down from the unbelievable high of holding the inaugural Anti Loo Roll Festival, after the all the lows of the pandemic which preceded it. The atmosphere was truly incredible, and I can’t thank everyone who came enough for embracing our desire to host an event which brought everyone together again in a safe and fun environment. We can’t wait to replicate that feeling again but on an even bigger scale. We’ve lined up some spectacular acts to headline next year’s festival, who are as excited as us that they will be performing at Colchester’s hottest ticket in town.”