#RipplesMakeWaves Fund-raising event and initiative for victims of the Cumbrian floods – Full day of music and cultural events
We AMPLIFY CUMBRIA #RipplesMakeWaves
FUND-RAISING EVENT AND INITIATIVE FOR VICTIMS OF THE CUMBRIAN FLOODS
An appropriate response to the absolute tragedy of the Cumbrian floods is to make some noise in order to make some money. This event will raise funds as it raises morale.
Progress is RARELY silent so let’s make some noise and AMPLIFY
The simple plan: Raising money by raising the roof!
THE STORY OF THE CUMBRIAN FLOODS
Christmas is, as the popular song goes, the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas is a time to be with family and friends, away from the workaday pressures of the usual Monday to Friday routine; a time when thoughts turn to open fires, good food and down time.
Christmas 2015 was the complete opposite for the people of Carlisle and the wider region of Cumbria.
Christmas is also a time (so the images on the cards would tell us) of crisp snow covering the ground as though the gorgeous Cumbrian landscape were itself a Christmas card. To quote another song, Bing Crosby dreamt of a ‘White Christmas’, a picture-perfect image of the perfect picture Christmas.
In December 2015, as families prepared for just such as a season, the unseasonably warm weather brought not snow, but rain. And lots of it. The rains came again and again, so abundant that the ground couldn’t possibly drain them away. Compounded by rising river water and the people of Cumbria found themselves pitted against nature itself, fighting back the rising swell.
Just at the very moment, therefore, when families should have been feeling safe, and secure, their lives were turned upside down and inside out. People lost their life’s possessions in these floods, in some cases the businesses that supported themselves and their families.
Perhaps even more brutal was the relentless repetition of the floods, so that just when Cumbrians had felt they had bailed out all of the water, the rains came again, nature returning with viscous greed. The owners of the Glenridding Hotel in Ullswater, for instance, were flooded on four separate occasions, their spirits beaten down by the unforgiving waters. They posted on Facebook:
‘We are flooding again. We are feeling very emotional here as we are receiving the full brunt of the water yet again. Feeling devastated, tired and defeated.’
If people weren’t themselves directly affected then they knew someone who was, an entire community mentally, physically and financially drained, even as the water itself, finally, drained away.
THE CURRENT SITUATION
The wounds of what happened during the floods of late 2015 and early 2016 continue to run deep through both the Cumbrian countryside, and the souls of the Cumbrian people. Cumbria is a beautiful corner of the country, renowned across the world for the natural beauty of the Lake District. The town of Carlisle never envisaged that it would ever itself square up in such a battle against nature again.
The rains may have gone but a fear still remains: fear that that the rains may return, fear at what the next autumn and winter might bring. We are currently living in an age where exceptional weather events are no longer exceptional. Whilst scientists argue to and fro about the realities of global warming in the lofty realms of the academy, on the ground one thing is clear: it is certainly not the fault of Cumbrians. They are the victims of something much, much bigger.
There is therefore every chance the people of Cumbria might have to face the same battle, the same inescapable creep of water into every nook and cranny of their lives. Psychologically, that is a heavy thought to have to keep at the back of one’s mind. That feeling is tangible across the town, in the tension that grips everyone every time that it rains, each drop bringing back the memory of what was so recently experienced. These are communities still under the spell of these events. It will affect everyone for a very long time. Some may not fully recover at all.
So, if you visit Cumbria today you may not see the waters running through the streets and into the buildings. The currents are still there, only now their courses are disguised. Never was the aphorism truer:
Still waters run deep.
But the district has shown incredible community spirit. Cumbria is very much open for business. And that is the message we need to amplify.
THE BACKGROUND TO WE AMPLIFY CUMBRIA
The people of Cumbria are drained, no doubt, by these events. But they are built of strong stuff in the North-West corner of England, built from the ruggedness of the country itself. What they will certainly not do is accept this situation – or let these waters come and do what they will – without a fight.
If any positive can be taken from the floods it is the way the people of Cumbria came together to help one another. Even those not affected by the water simply pulled up their sleeves and went to help the people that were. The district witnessed an incredible outpouring of community spirit, in a region where they are used to being hands on, helping. The downpour of rain was met by an outpouring of goodwill.
It is this spirit that We Amplify Cumbria took shape, a rallying cry centred around music. One thing humans have always shared is song; the glue that binds us. In response to many disasters in the past people have found solace, and comfort, in melody itself.
This music event will therefore be our response, turning up the volume to 11 in order for the region, and the nation, to hear loudly and in no uncertain terms, that the people of Cumbria will not be beaten. This event will raise funds as it raises morale. We will amplify one key message and send it out across the UK: that we have not forgotten, and that we care.
There is an understandable response in the nation that if the rains have subsided, and if the TV news teams have retreated to their various offices, that the problem must therefore have also subsided. The reality, however, is still ever present and at the forefront for everyone in Cumbria. The floods are estimated to have cost north of £5 billion. Many still face financial ruin as they try to piece back together their lives and businesses. The government suggest they will spend £2 billion on flood defenses and other individuals and groups have out their hands in their pockets, from The Cumbrian Community Foundation to Rod Stewart and Everton Football Club. It is all welcomed with heartfelt and warm thanks from the people of Cambria but a cursory understanding of maths will reveal more needs to be done.
That message needs to be heard loud and clear in the offices of the BBC through to the corridors of Whitehall. People seem to have forgotten the scale of what happened. That message therefore needs to be amplified. And the way to do that… is with music.
Turning up the volume as we turn up the fun, We Amplify Cumbria is a celebration of the human spirit, and the community that exists in the region; rebuilding defenses, rebuilding hope.
THE PEOPLE TURNING UP THE VOLUME
The key person with her fingers on the volume control is Claire Armstrong. Claire has spent her career investing back into her hometown of Carlisle. Whether that be the bricks–and–mortar of the nightclub and community space she founded – The Melting Pot – or the dreamier realm of her creative ideas… each and every endeavour has brightened up the town: ‘I’ve got a flash mob mentality,’ Claire chuckles. ‘I’m a midnight oil burning dreamer and I live for seeing ideas come to life.’
Claire’s secret is to marry creativity with reliability, doing whatever it takes to turn a sketch on the back of a cigarette packet into a fully realised creative concept. Above all, with a background in youth and lifestyle culture, it’s about working in a lively and pulsing environment, and bringing that infectious energy to all that she invests herself in. And this time it’s We Amplify Cumbria.
Claire created The Melting Pot with another Carlisle mum, Clare Davidson (a veritable ‘C&C Music Factory’, for those that know their dance music!) as a space young people – often lost for somewhere to go in Carlisle – could use and enjoy. Claire knows only too well the pain and heartache of losing a business, as that venue itself was devastated by a fire. Claire (of the Armstrong variety) recalls: ‘from a personal view I can sincerely connect with what people are currently going through. The emotion and physical struggle can take its toll; the pain can stay with you for years’. Indeed the struggle for compensation for that event is still on-going, only compounded by the fact that Clare Davidson also lost the home of her and her family, in these recent floods.
This personal connection between Claire Armstrong and the events in Carlisle compelled her to do something. Carlisle born-and-bred, she is not the kind of character to let a little thing like Mother Nature get in the way… she is also a mother AND also a force of nature. Game on!
In terms of what game to play, it also became apparent that Claire’s other connection – to music – might be the way to fight back. Claire is able to pull on her connections in the music industry, and her understanding of youth and community work through the nightclub, to pull together what’s needed to put on an event that will long be remembered.
Fire… water… Mother Nature is no match for a mother with a good idea.
Last word to Claire:
‘This event will raise funds and boost morale in the region. This event will bring the community together in a collaborative effort to raise awareness, raise funds, and raise spirits. This event will rebuild hopes, rebuild trust, and make a loud, proud and bold statement that we are still here, we pulled through, but we still need help. This event will send out a message that we care.’
THE BASICS OF WHAT IS PROPOSED
Where: Locations to be decided, Carlisle, Cumbria
When: A date to be confirmed
We Amplify Cumbria will focus around one key date when celebrations and music events in the city of Carlisle will provide the appropriately voluminous and melodic response to what has happened to this region. On this day the volume will be turned to 11, the amps will be ramped and the disco decibels will ring out in sonic waves, starting in Carlisle but rippling out across the nation. Yes, water forms waves, but so do does music and so do the people of Cumbria. And boy do they plan to make waves. Music is the soundtrack to their response to the floods and music will form the heart of the day, with events taking place throughout the day, and throughout the city. Cumbrians love their region and just like those grand rock bands of the 1970s… everyone loves a good comeback. So these sonic waves are set to push back nature’s very own waves.
The aim is to connect families and friends and residents of the region with people from beyond the region; re-enforcing this message that Cumbria is open for business and ready, as ever, for a good time. People need to be drawn back into the region and what better than a festival – a sonic siren call ringing out, and drawing people in.
The main event of We Amplify Cumbria will therefore be a music festival, with artists appropriate for families and all ages. Beyond that, however, will ripple out many subsidiary cultural, arts and family events around the city. We Amplify Cumbria want to show the nation what a positive community exists in the North-West.
The motto of the City of Carlisle is ‘Be Just and Fear Not’. And indeed they fear not. They will write their own story. They will write their own tune. And they will turn up the volume! The definition of amplify is to:
make larger or more powerful; increase; to add to, as by illustrations; make complete; to exaggerate.
They plan to do all of these. And have a fabulously good time while doing so.
HOW IT WILL WORK
We Amplify Cumbria will focus around one key day, when a celebration of music, as well as related cultural events, will put a smile back on peoples’ faces, at the same time pulling people back into the region and putting money back into the region’s coffers. Music events will take place through the day – and long into the evening – at venues in and around Carlisle.
The key focus will be the actual event, but satellite events organised by other people and groups will create their own dynamism, energy, fun, whilst fund-raising will take place via ticket sales, sponsorships, satellite events and sales at food and craft stalls, all adding to the impact of the event itself.
Each ripple contributes to the wave; each beat to the groove.
At its heart this event is about fun, and fund-raising, in equal parts. As long as you have a song in your ears and a smile on your face, there is little that can keep you down. So let’s make sure the response to the floods is bold, proud and LOUD!
It is anticipated that this assembled volume will cause sound waves to ripple out across the nation, with a concurrent PR campaign ensuring that publicity raises, and sustains, the on-going issues faced by victims of the floods.
It is too easy for the attention of politicians to drift, once the eyes of the TV cameras have moved elsewhere. We need to pull focus back to Cumbria, and make enough noise to ensure the region cannot be ignored, or forgotten. The waters may have subsided. The emotional high water marks remain.
SO! A day of fun, culture and LOUD music; a day when the needle hits the Cumbrian groove…
A fair question… what will be the on-going impact of such activity.
The answer is two-fold:
Firstly, of course, we want to raise awareness about the situation, so that people understand that although the rain water has subsided, the impact of the floods is very much an on-going and ever present reality in the region.
By making as much noise as it is possible to make, we will do what we can to ensure the message rings out loud and true, loud enough to travel from the Lake District to the Houses of Parliament, where much more must be done to ensure something like this cannot happen again. To that end, an on-going PR campaign will accompany these events, running up to, and beyond, the main event itself.
Secondly we want to raise money. There are few things more solid in terms of shoring up the region’s defenses than cold, hard cash.
The money raised from We Amplify Cumbria will be spent in two ways:
1) We will use the money to help those affected by the last floods, especially those that found themselves uninsured and unable to rebuild their lives and businesses after the effects of that period.
2) We will use the money to assist in projects in the region to build more adequate flood defenses so that this situation cannot happen on the same scale again.
It is simply unacceptable that in a developed nation such as Britain something like rain should be able to cause such cataclysmic and life-changing damage to so many homes, lives and businesses. Those at We Amplify Cumbria don’t want this to happen again, and will help those who have already been affected.
And they will make a noise… a right old Cumbrian racket… until they are heard and that message is received that…
Cumbria is open for business!
WAYS TO GET INVOLVED
This is two-pronged:
The organisers know from previous experience that, when faced with tragedy (whether natural or man-made) the people of Great Britain can be counted upon to dig deep and help out.
At the moment this is very much at the consultancy stage. However, the organisers have a fix on what they are aiming towards: a day of music and cultural celebration as loud and amplified as can possibly be.
Ahead of doing that they need businesses and individuals to offer whatever it is they are able to:
• You may be able to perform
• Your pockets may be deep and you may be able to come on board as a sponsor, either a mainline or subsidiary sponsor, whether local or national
• You may be a tech-y and able to help with production
• You may have a venue that could be used
• You may have experience in insurance, security or event management
And then, once the event has been organised, you can engage with both the main event, or arrange a subsidiary event yourself, whether that be at your school, business or even your own home, as the event itself ripples out.
The theme is: LOUD!
• So, maybe your school might have a non-uniform day based around wearing the ‘loudest’ clothing you have (ask Dad for his Hawaiian shirt!)
• Maybe your business could sponsor a ‘make the most noise you can for a minute’ event, with every PC blaring out music at top volume.
• You could show support by emboldening your social media profile pics Whatever it is you do, everyone must make the most noise they can to enforce this point.
Big beats + big hearts = big statement.
We know from clever scientist types that music, and the movement that results from music (dancing, to us lowly types) releases endorphins that trigger pleasure. Bottom line: music causes movement causes pleasure. And THAT is how we respond to floods. With dancing. With music. With VOLUME!
So whatever it is, please bring that to the party. It will be all the better for it!
Every charity campaign such as this needs its mascot and We Amplify Cumbria is no different. So meet… Big Mouth.
As you can see, Big Mouth comes equipped with many things, principal among which is… a big mouth. However he also has a whole one-man band including drums, horns, flute, bells and whistles. Big Mouth is the official rep for We Amplify Cumbria and you may be hearing quite a bit from him… especially as he comes equipped with his own Tweeting bird. Yes, the word will ring out loud and true across all channels, including social media channels. #RipplesMakeWaves.
Take a ‘mouthie’ selfie of your own wide open gob… Big Mouth strikes again!
Claire would like to thank many people for getting We Amplify Cumbria to this stage. However the main thanks must be reserved for the people of Carlisle, and Cumbria beyond, who have demonstrated such deep reserves of strength and resilience in the face of the most pressing events we have faced in many decades.
Their resilience and strength continues to be a marvel.
If you feel you can help in any way, whether that be offering advice, support, physical help, financial assistance or just a big hug, please contact the organisers of We Amplify Cumbriathrough the following means:
Phone: 07530 438 632
Email: [email protected]
There will also be a will also be an events page, as well as a fundraising pack and further information available to download from the Big Beans website.
Find all this at: www.bigbeansdesign.co.uk
For press enquiries contact Simon Morrison at Pad Communications – [email protected].
Keep your ear to the ground for further information…