It’s been 3 years since we were last able to hold Sundial Festival but on Saturday 2nd July, we were delighted to finally welcome everyone back, along with some new faces too. The sun shone down on us once again as friends, supporters and families gathered to enjoy delicious food, fun attractions, and great entertainment to celebrate our busiest event to date!
Our partner organisations all made a fantastic effort to showcase the incredible work they do and their ongoing projects, bringing some fun and engaging activities for guests to try out. The Cookie Bar Bus was back serving delicious cookies and cakes, Sailability brought their boat and SATRO came with their STEM and Construction van. It was great to welcome back; Challengers, Habitat for Humanity, PEAS and DFN Project Search, whose interns have just finished their placement at COINS Global, ready to enter the world of work. We were pleased to see some new additions in Pathways Education, One Planet, and VR Therapies, who brought Virtual Reality to life with their goggles, as well as welcoming newcomer Fit Foundation SEN PT to the event. Undershaw held a raffle with proceeds going towards their current fundraising projects so a huge thank you to everyone who generously donated prizes to this, including KJ Cox Solicitor who also came for the day offering SEND advice to parents. Finally, our social enterprise, Free Bird Film were in attendance capturing footage of the event, so we hope you enjoy the highlights video included below.
By the early afternoon, Sundial was a buzz of activity and guests were treated to a performance by Undershaw student, Eva as they enjoyed the selection of food and drink available. Her rendition of ‘We are the Champions’ gave them a taste of what was still to come and at 3pm everyone relocated to the bank to find a seat for the stage performances. We were delighted to have a number of previous Stepping Stones students join us on the day, all of whom are excelling in their chosen path, with Joe Shaw displaying some of his impressive artwork on the day. They are all a fantastic credit to a school, founded in 2004 by Larry Sullivan and Sandy Seagrove, which started with just three students and has since evolved into the success story that is Undershaw. Larry Sullivan, Chairman and Co-Founder of COINS Global and Founder of COINS Foundation gave some opening words, introducing the students and their inspiring journeys, having seen many of them grow in confidence and overcome huge hurdles to get to where they are today.
“When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” Maya Angelou.
It’s no small task to get on stage and perform in front of hundreds of people so to have so many students putting themselves forward is a testament to Undershaw, the staff and the supportive environment they’ve created.
Kicking off the stage performances was the band from year 8 performing ‘This is Us’, a cover version of the popular song ‘This is Me’ from The Greatest Showman with updated lyrics to reflect their time at school. An arrangement of solos and instrumental pieces followed, with a short interval before an entertaining performance of ‘Macbeth’ started the second half. Following a fun combination of theatre, vocals and instrumentals, the Undershaw Choir took to the stage for the last few numbers, closing the show with a rendition of ‘A Million Dreams’ led by Year 7 student, Reece. A phenomenal effort from all, you can now listen to the full Sundial Festival 2022 album here!
Outside the performances, the array of attractions and activities on offer ensured that there was something for all ages to enjoy! The climbing wall, laser tag, photo booth, mini Tesla cars, and bouncy castle were as popular as ever and the pole joust was a welcome addition for this year. The swimming pool is always a favourite and this year we welcomed Mini Land Farm who offered pony rides during the afternoon. With face painting, arts & crafts, fishing, tennis coaching, and martial arts sessions there was plenty to keep guests occupied. For many, it was the perfect opportunity to simply enjoy time with friends, colleagues, and family and the ice cream van was the perfect sweet treat to complete our fantastic collection of caterers.
Huge thanks must go to everyone who volunteered their time to make the day a success, to Larry and his family for sharing their grounds for us to enjoy each year and to the neighbours who continue to support this event. A final thanks to the COINS employees, whose efforts allow us to continue the fantastic work of the COINS Foundation and everyone who supported the day. A fantastic return for Sundial Festival, it really does take a huge team effort and it was evident we have some great people around us – here’s to 2023!
“Unity is strength. When there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”