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Carnival comes to St Monica Trust

A unique outreach project has brought Carnival to residents at the St Monica Trust.

Community Elders and pupils from Fairlawn Primary School, joined residents at St Monica Trust’s Monica Wills House Retirement Village for a screening of a film celebrating the roots of St Pauls Carnival.

Inna Wi Carnival: Reflections of a Generation was directed by St Pauls Carnival Community Outreach Worker, Keziah Wenham-Kenyon. The film explores the culture and tradition of the St Pauls Carnival from the 1960s to the present day, as told by the generation that helped create it.

Keziah’s role has been funded by the St Monica Trust since 2021 with the aim of providing outreach to Community Elders and preserving the traditions of Caribbean Carnival for future generations.

As well as the film, other community development projects delivered by Keziah include
digital inclusion workshops and the creation of human libraries.

Keziah said: “The initial stage of the project was about engaging with the older generations in the St Pauls community and combating the social isolation caused by the pandemic.

We then continued working with the same group of elders to capture and preserve the stories of the generation that brought carnival over to the UK from the Caribbean.

There were a number of ways we could have gone about it, but after a discussion with the elders and the team, we decided that making a documentary was the best way of preserving their memories for future generations.

St Monica Trust residents were greeted with a steelpan performance by Year 5 pupils, followed by a screening of the documentary in the activities room. Afterwards, Community Elders and residents swapped their own memories of St Paul’s Carnival.

Keziah is working towards an online release of the film later in the year, plus arranging more community screenings, such as the ones taking place across the St Monica Trust this week.

There are also plans to design a workshop for schools that will see the film screened as part of an active learning programme, which will include talks given by the community elders.

Keziah said: “I feel truly honoured to have delivered such important work and am overjoyed by the positive impact it has had on those involved.

“It is a really special thing for the elders to see their stories reflected on the big screen and it means a lot to their generation that their stories are still valued and being celebrated.

Our thanks go to the St Monica Trust for funding such a special project and supporting Carnival’s long-term commitments to our elders.”

The St Monica Trust has been supporting the lives of older people in Bristol and the surrounding area since it was established more than 100 years ago.

The Trust’s Charitable Impact Team helps tackle a variety of issues by distributing hundreds of thousands of pounds to individuals, families and organisations across Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and Bath & North-East Somerset.

Director of Charitable Impact, Adam Rees said: “The Charitable Impact Team have been working alongside St Pauls Carnival since 2019 when we first funded their Elders Brunch on the morning of Carnival. We are delighted to have provided £50,000 of funding over the last two years for Keziah’s important work with Community Elders.

The funding has helped ensure that the traditions and history of Bristol’s iconic Carnival celebrating African-Caribbean culture are secure and that these traditions and skills are passed on through the generations.

For more information on the Trust’s Charitable Impact Team, please go to www.stmonicatrust.org.uk/charitable-impact/grant-giving or email charitableimpact@stmonicatrust.org.uk.

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