More than 80 people gathered at Trinity Park to celebrate the launch of the education and youth programme for Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk.
The programme, which runs alongside the trail, is open to all schools and youth groups in the area.
The programme has been developed by Wild in Art and is a key element of other leading trails that they have run around the country promoting increased community involvement.
Sally-Ann Wilkinson, Director of Wild in Art said,
“David McKee’s beloved Elmer promotes positive messages about inclusivity, courage and friendship. By bringing a 3D Elmer canvas into your classroom or club, it offers young people the opportunity to use arts and creativity to make their voices heard on these important issues. The learning outcomes demonstrated in schools, communities and visualised on the trail of ‘young Elmers’ will provide a unique insight into the aspirations, hopes, and dreams of future generations in Suffolk.”
This year, with the trail being run with Elmer’s publisher Andersen Press, there are even more opportunities for educational involvement. Paul Black from Andersen Press added:
“We can’t wait to see how teachers and pupils use this very special sculpture to bring Elmer’s messages about friendship and celebrating differences to life. The programme and its resource booklet will be jam-packed with ideas to engage and empower young people using Elmer!”
The education programme is integrated with key stages one and two and contains a resource booklet including classroom guides, lesson plans and ideas, fundraising support and suggestions for developing health and well-being – a key objective for the trail.
The Suffolk Agricultural Association, owners of Trinity Park, are the education partner for the trail and chief executive Phillip Ainsworth explained why they were keen to be involved.
“The Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA) is delighted to once again be supporting St Elizabeth Hospice’s fundraising initiative. ‘Elmer’s Big Parade’ will combine education activities with local schools (a core objective of the SAA) and will, once again, be a wonderful way to bring the whole community together. Following the success of the Pig’s Gone Wild Trail the SAA is looking forward to seeing how Elmer’s Big Parade will inspire young people to be involved in this exciting project.”
As part of the programme, each group that takes part will be given a ‘young Elmer’ sculpture to decorate in exchange for a pledge to raise £750 for the hospice over the next 18 months. The aim is to have a herd of 100 of these smaller ‘young Elmers’ which will become part of the main trail in 2019.
Nikki Brown, youth fundraising manager for St Elizabeth Hospice told us:
“Initial interest in the programme has been fantastic. Elmer is a much loved character and as soon as we launched in October last year my phone started ringing with people wanting to get involved. Those that take part in the programme will be an integral part of what we believe will be the county’s biggest mass participation event in 2019, with all the benefits that offers, while at the same time raising much needed funds to support the vital work of the great community asset that is St Elizabeth Hospice.”