The first ever Prior's Court Festival brought together young people, their families and staff for a fun day at our beautiful 50 acre site near Hermitage.

Performers at PC Festival 2018Monday 7th May was a special day at Prior's Court as young people, their family, staff and friends came together for a day of fun in the sunshine. The entertainment was fantastic with every performer having a connection to Prior's Court. Autism Practitioner, Tomson Chauke  performed with his band, Limpopo Groove; Tomson's friend, Israel performed; Janice Ward, Dance and Drama Teacher and Brendan Haye from Housekeeping sang in the Rock Choir. Lesley Copland, Education Lead, performed with the Reading Pipe Band; Ella-May Fearon Cheesley, cousin to one of our young people, Tashelle performed too. We also had some students performing with staff, a fantastic achievement after weeks of practicing and their hard work shone through with a fun, confident performance.

Greg the clown at PC festival 2018Other activities ran by staff throughout the day involved a fun photo booth, lantern decorating, a session with Steve the Robot, glass painting, bubble making with Greg and Penny the clowns and perhaps the most popular activity for both students and staff was messy play mandala where everyone was given coloured corn starch to decorate the design - and themselves! 

The therapy team organised a chill out tent and delivered deep pressure massage and other supportive therapies so that young people feeling overwhelmed could have a space to relax with their families.

And a festival isn't a festival without mobile food vans, so local company, Off the Scale provided fish and chips and Stoked Eats provided pizzas, both offering gluten and dairy free options to cater for young people's food intolerances and sensitivities. Our very own Artisan Baker, Dylan Needham made biscuits and our catering partner, Sodexo provided cakes and drinks.

Staff put in a huge amount of effort to ensure the day ran smoothly and everyone enjoyed the day.  One of the organisers of the festival and Head of Department, Middle School, Louise Cole commented: 

We wanted to hold a music festival at Prior’s Court this year to celebrate the relaunch of our song, Let Me Shine, and to allow the young people to experience a festival with their families, in a setting that is safe and secure for them. It went better than we could have wished for – a very chilled out day and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. All of the performers commented on how much they enjoyed the day, as did the young people and staff. Hopefully the first festival of many!

Organising an event of this nature for young people with severe autism takes a lot of planning and hard work, so we thanked staff for all of their hard work and commitment in supporting our young people, by giving each staff member a gift of a food voucher.

You can see many more photos from the day on our Facebook page.