Beacon lighting, afternoon tea, live music and community cheer were among last weekend’s jubilee celebrations in Milton Keynes, as the city was dressed in red, white and blue to mark Her Majesty’s 70 year reign.
MK Community Foundation distributed 22 grants, totalling over £41,000.00, to local community groups from the Let’s Create Jubilee Fund, on behalf of Arts Council England, the national development agency for creativity and culture, and Milton Keynes Council.
Among the groups supported was The Old School Wolverton. Their celebrations began with the official opening of the Jubilee Art Exhibition, by the Mayor of Wolverton, Adrian Moss. The exhibition featured a collection of Jubilee and Commonwealth themed artworks created by the Old School Hall user groups and members of the local community, ably supported by community artist Marie Gracie. This was followed on Friday evening by a debut performance by the newly established Wolverton Community Choir, also supported by the Arts Council grant.
Saturday saw the unveiling of their new Crown Pagoda, resplendent with a beautiful textile canopy made by the Old School Crafty Monday's group. The Pagoda was created by artists Michael Ross and Richard Harrison and Jane Charles created the canopy.
Communications Officer at The Old School, Tish Miles-Smith, said “This legacy piece provided the centrepiece for performances on the day, including storytelling, arts and crafts, and a finale performance by the Choir, and will now be used for performances and events going forward. We are grateful for the support we received from MK Community Foundation to make all this possible.”
Many of the funded activities supported diverse communities to build awareness and celebrate inclusivity in creative ways; Middle Eastern Cultural Group’s exhibition showcased a deep dive into Queen Elizabeth II’s life, and her achievement throughout her 70 year reign, as well as several queens from the Middle East, highlighting queens from Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Fashion Designer Rena Al-Jawad designed and hand crafted a cape for Her Majesty, as well as two gowns for the chosen queens from the Middle East.
Mayor of Milton Keynes, Amanda Marlow was in attendance, as well as Gamiel Yafai from Diversity Market Place and Ethnic Business Community; Jane Whild, Leader of the Women Equality Party; Councillor Nana Oguntola, from Junior Film Makers; Dr Fidele Mutwarasibo, from the Open University; Community Foundation’s Chair of Trustees and Leader of Truby’s Garden, Kurshida Mirza; Emily Purchase from MK Community Foundation; and a number of Community Leaders.
Ayser Aljawad, Middle Eastern Cultural Group, said “We just wanted to say a huge thank you to the Community Foundation for enabling us to bring this project to life. Without the fund, the project would have not been a possibility.”
June Oldroyd, Director of Philanthropy at MK Community Foundation, said “We were delighted to distribute funding to many of the Jubilee events enabling communities to come together. There was so much to celebrate giving thanks for the Queen's service to her country and her decision to give Milton Keynes the much-awaited City status.”
You can find out more about MK Community Foundation and the many vital projects they fund in Milton Keynes by clicking here.