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What Hay Festival does in the other 50 weeks of the year
3:10pm Thursday 17th May 2012 in News
Hay Festival – which this year runs from June 1 to 10 – has an international reputation and attracts speakers, authors and visitors from around the world.
But closer to home, the festival plays a major part in the local community.
As it reaches its 25th birthday, we go behind the public face to reveal 25 very local initiatives.
1 Programme for Schools is entirely free for all local schools. Teachers are invited to bring primary and secondary pupils to a specially designed, curriculum- based, programme of events where they meet writers and hear them talk about subjects from great literature to fabulous maths events, art and science all on the festival site.
2 Hay Fever is the festival for children and families.
A daily programme of workshops to discover, create, imagine – and meet your story-telling heroes.
3 Hay runs a programme designed especially for teenagers – hands-on sessions with experts in tech, social networking, campaigning, photography, film-making, screens citing and fiction.
4 The Scribblers, a writers’ group for teenagers, runs throughout the school year, working with local writers and journalists to learn new skills and produce a termly magazine.
5 Over the years Hay Festival has run masterclasses for students and teachers with GCSE set text poets, including Gillian Clarke, who have led workshops on how to talk about and teach their poetry.
6 Every year sixth formers from schools on either side of the border apply to win one of ten places on The Beacons Project. The students stay in a house up in the Black Mountains to learn about how the land works, go for walks with fantastic writers and spend ten days at the festival meeting writers and attending masterclasses.
7 Herefordshire Sixth formers have gained work experience as interns both at Hay and at Hay festivals abroad.
8 Hereford College of Arts works with Hay Festival each year on design projects for the site, providing work experience and a large audience for their work.
9 The festival works hard to raise money for its education trust (via its publishing programme) which enables undergraduates and students to come to the festival for free.
10 Hay has hosted major public debates on schools policy on both sides of the border in the last couple of years with local authority representation and public access.
11 Hay promotes and supports other local arts groups including Borderlines Film Festival, Hay Festival of British Cinema, Ledbury Poetry Festival and Hay Film School.
12 Hay works as locally as it can – not only do most of the people employed by the festival in the office year round come from around Hay and Herefordshire – but it employs 250 local people onsite during the festival itself.
13 Hay’s local trading policy means local business are always favoured in contract allocation and rating.
14 The festival’s huge visitor numbers lead to a significant boost in contribution to the local economy.
More than 75,000 visitors each year with an average spend of £250 per head.
15 Hay has worked with both Hereford and Brecon cathedrals to raise money for their development projects.
16 The festival works closely with Herefordshire charity Concern Universal to stage its Youth Debates.
17 Hay works with Oxfam internationally. A partnership with Oxfam has generated more than £1 million for poverty relief.
18 Hay Festival’s Macmillan car park has raised more than £100,000 for cancer support.
19 Last year Hay raised money for the locally based charity Tom’s Gift.
20 Hay has worked with Hay Humanitarian Aid raising money for Bosnia, Palestine and local Samaritans groups for 15 years.
21 The festival works with Amnesty International as a global partner to raise awareness and money to fight for Freedom of Speech.
22 Thousands of new books are donated to schools and libraries locally and to the festival’s partners at Parc Prison.
23 Hay Festival is committed to working with the local farming community and, together with the local Hay vets’ practice, organises farm trips each year.
24 Hay works with NHS projects on both sides of the border with a specific remit of promoting awareness of mental health issues, this year with new MIND president Stephen Fry.
25 Hay runs a ‘green print’ audit on every aspect of the festival – from water taps and recycling on its site to shuttle buses. Its ambitions are written up as a ‘tool-kit’ for other festivals.
At a programme of debates and forums, Hayon- Earth, green issues are debated with writers and government bodies.
The big names in the world of literature, politics and entertainment will once again be entertaining visitors to Hay Festival this year, the public face of a festival that works tirelessly the other 50 weeks of the year to make a difference to the local community.
Visit hayfestival.com for more.
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