From Workshops to Fun Palaces Converts

After a training session with Fun Palaces in 2017 we decided to start running Fun Palaces in Hertfordshire and the feedback has been really positive.

Shirley Everall has worked for Hertfordshire Libraries for 40 years in various posts, starting as a library assistant, then as a librarian and a cataloguer. She is now responsible for organising events in libraries throughout Hertfordshire. She also has responsibility for marketing and promoting the library service.

How we got going

We started by sending 12 members of staff to Fun Palaces training, organised by SCL East in Essex. There Stella Duffy enthralled us all with her passion for the campaign. Everyone came away wanting to be involved. Of course it wasn’t that easy but we did hold 5 Fun Palaces throughout Hertfordshire, which everyone really enjoyed. We were hooked!

“Everyone came away wanting to be involved.”

We decided in 2018 that we needed to train some more staff so contacted Fun Palaces and arranged for Sarah-Jane and Kirsty to come and deliver training in Hertfordshire, it was a great session, even though we had to stand outside for a fire alarm test. Staff again went away enthused and last year 7 Fun Palaces took place in Hertfordshire – still not huge but going in the right direction.

Running our own workshops

After discussions with Kirsty we decided this year we would set up our own training course. A project librarian, who had been on the training and also helped to run a Fun Palace, was appointed to create the training. We were also supported by Fun Palace staff who let us have some materials produced about last year’s campaign that we were able to give to staff who took part.

“Working in partnership to offer Fun Palaces.”

Two training sessions were held, attended by staff from throughout Hertfordshire. The feedback was really positive and we are hoping for the number of Fun Palaces to be in double figures this year. We have been approached by organisations in three key areas of Hertfordshire about working in partnership to organise Fun Palaces. Following on from the Fun Palace launch, in at least one area we are working with a local school who are offering Arts Award to give the young people the opportunity to help organise an event.

Building Towards Hertfordshire Year of Culture

2020 is Hertfordshire Year of Culture and our aim is to work with as many partner organisations as possible to offer Fun Palaces throughout Hertfordshire, so watch this space…