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Hullabaloo on the Isle of Wight - by PPI champion Sandy Ciccognani

30 May 2017

For the past seven months I’ve been working on a pilot project on the IOW called Hullabaloo and I can now report that it is completed and was overwhelmingly viewed as a success. My mission now, is to find a way to make it sustainable, so that it can happen again year after year.

The concept of Hullabaloo started from Shademakers Carnival Club, who wanted to put on a free arts event locally that would showcase their work and be a platform for local artists to perform. Inspired by my involvement with the Genie project, NIHR CLARCH Wessex and Community Action IW, I was keen to find a way to highlight some of the amazing things that happen locally that few people seem to know about and to encourage people to try out new activities. I was also keen to find a way to promote health and wellbeing in its truest sense, to people of all ages. We decided to create an event that would attract a broad spectrum of the general public and enable groups and organisations to shout about the great things they do, to people they may not usually encounter.

We worked with 85 groups and organisations, had over 400 people volunteering their time in some way and estimated audiences of between four and five thousand people. One of the most popular attractions was the Soap Box Challenge which saw six teams sending their non-motorised go-carts along the sea front. Somehow, I got roped in at the last minute to the Loose Women Team and ended up running behind a sequinned red boot. We weren’t fast, but we did win the Creativity Cup.

I’m pleased to say that members of the NIHR CLARCH Wessex got involved in various ways: some lovely donations to the DenimDoodle Picnic blanket; Liz James (from the Genie project) kindly stepped in at the last minute to take Professor Anne Rogers’ place as Soap Box Judge (sadly prevented from attending by problems with the ferries); Sandy Walker’s band played on the Pirate Ship Stage and, Claire Ballinger brought along the “People are Messy” film and members of the Wessex PIN (Patient Involvement Network) and CRN (Clinical Research Network) to promote Public involvement in health research.

We have set the date for next year’s event. This will be on Saturday 12th May 2018, Sandown Bay. I am looking to develop an area devoted to Health and Science, so if anyone would like to be involved and help to shape how this looks, do get in touch.

ShademakersUK Carnival Club are organising an annual one day community event called Hullabaloo at the Yaverland end of Sandown Bay, Isle of Wight, working in collaboration with a host of other local businesses and groups including the Dinosaur Museum, Brown’s Family Golf and Café, Arc, Quay Arts, Eccleston George, IW Zoo and Sandown Town Council.

This innovative event combines the arts, community, health and wellbeing, heritage, environmental issues and much more.

Hullabaloo recognises the Bay as an amazing place, packed with things to explore and discover, stories to tell and a wealth of history, wildlife and adventure. This annual event is a way to encourage locals and tourists alike to see the Bay for  the amazing place it is. 

The Flying Lunch Kite Festival, which received funding from the Big Lottery Celebrate Fund, takes place on Yaverland Meadow. Professional kite flyers to complete beginners are welcome.

Shademakers’ carnival ship stage, which, featured at The Bestival and Camp Bestival last year, hosts a range of dance and music acts. Costumed performers, including articulated tigers and dinosaurs form a small parade and pop up around the site throughout the day.

The Soap Box Challenge is a competition for teams to build and race 4-wheeled, non-motorised go carts, with prizes for the fastest and most creative entries. Teams are invited to sign up and build their soap box to set specifications which are available online soon.

“We are getting ready to celebrate. We are steadily gathering friends, supporters, performer, racers, musicians and festival goers. We are going to bring Hullabaloo to Sandown for the first time and who knows where it will lead.” Paul McLaren, Shademakers.

“We want to invite people to take an active part in this event and generate a sense of wellbeing and joy in those who attend. We plan to do this by creating a stimulating environment, full of interactions and activities, inspiring sights and sounds, and elements of the unexpected, for people of all ages. As an arts organisation, we are keen to promote the arts and bring the arts to new audiences. As a community interest company, we are passionate about our community and want to promote healthy living, strong neighbourhood ties and an appreciation of our environment. This event will tie in all these elements and give others a platform for promoting their work and engaging with the public” says Sandy Ciccognani of Shademakers.

The event is run predominantly by volunteers and support is being sought from local businesses to help pay for the many infrastructure costs involved e.g .Marshalls, insurance, first aid cover and marquees etc.

People can enjoy a whole host of activities from 10am to 10pm. A brochure and timetable gives you all the details you need to make the most of the day. In the meantime Islanders can get information by looking on Facebook page HullabalooIW, calling Shademakers on 856168, or via email

The event will take place in Sandown Bay between 10am-10pm on Saturday 6th May 2017. Free admission but donations welcome

Patient and public involvement is vital to the success of the CLAHRC.

We would be pleased to hear from you if you are interested in becoming involved in our research and implementation.

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