Lincoln teens receive national award for community music festival

Two teenage ‘community stars’ from Lincoln have been commended for their efforts organising a festival which brought people from the Monks Road area together with music.

Eleni Taylor and Sophie Fleming, who are both 16, were the brains behind Our Big Gig in Lincoln Arboretum as part of a national campaign.

The two girls organised the festival in the midst of studying for their GCSE exams.

The pair were selected as the winners of the Our Big Gig Community Star Award by Superact, the arts organisation behind the project.

They received the award from the Communities Minister, Steven Williams, at the Houses of Parliament.

Eleni and Sophie presented the details of their event to the Our Big Gig national advisory group which is chaired by Darren Henley of Classic FM.

The group also included representatives from Superact, the Department for Communities and Local Government, Universal Music, EMI, UK Music, ABRSM, Serious Live and the Arts Council.

Darren Henley, Stephen Williams, Maaike Sophie and Eleni in the Houses of Parliament.

Darren Henley, Stephen Williams, Maaike Sophie and Eleni in the Houses of Parliament.

Having launched Our Big Gig in the Arboretum in Lincoln in July 2013 as part of the Spirit of 2012 Olympic legacy project Our Big Gig, the young duo went on to help form Action LN2 Community Association in the interim, before going on to host Our Big Gig in the Arboretum again in 2014.

The event attracted over 1,000 people from across the community.

Katharine Lane, Director of Superact said: “Ultimately, Eleni and Sophie were worthy winners of the Community Star Award as their amazing achievements show how music can inspire a community to unite and achieve great things together”

Eleni Taylor, co-winner of the Community Star Award said: “We have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the Our Big Gig and the success of the events has been extremely overwhelming.

“It’s been fantastic to see how much of an impact it’s had on our local community – so many local residents attended, enjoyed and volunteered at our events.

“It has proven to us that hard work does pay and that small ideas can actually happen. I hope that we have more successful events to come in the future!”

Maaike Veenkamp of Lincoln City FC Sport & Education Trust and the National Community Organisers Programme added: “Our Big Gig has been a truly remarkable experience for those involved in Lincoln.

“It has succeeded beyond expectation and offered a way for residents across the city to come together through a common enjoyment of music, with no financial barriers.

“Our Big Gig has given me one of my proudest moments in my role as a Community Organiser in the Monks Road area of Lincoln, it has been a pleasure supporting residents to put on this event for the last two years!”

Presenting the award, Minister for Communities Stephen Williams, said: “I think everyone involved, in particular all those who attended events as well as the 7,000 people who played and volunteered at concerts or helped organise them, can rightly feel proud of what was achieved.”