Community is at the heart of my volunteering experience.
My current role for the Bloxwich Bonanza is the Secretary and I have been involved with Bloxwich Bonanza since 2014.
I’ve always been aware of the Bloxwich Carnival. However, it wasn’t until 2014 when I saw an advert in the local newspaper advertising for a Carnival Queen that I got involved. I applied for the role of Carnival Queen and won! After I handed the crown over to my successor the following year, I joined the volunteer committee and have been part of it ever since.
The Bloxwich Carnival has traditionally been a street parade with floats, Carnival Royalty, and a market stall-type event. In recent times, the committee have faced a number of barriers that have prevented roads to be closed, and a decline in interest in being a Carnival Queen, Princess and Rosebud, and generally volunteering.
Making a change
Two years ago, we didn’t hold an event at all, and last year the committee made a tough decision to move with the changing times and to change the name of the ‘Carnival’ to ‘Bonanza’. With that name, we hoped to make future events fun for all ages and family-friendly, and we hoped to rebuild the interest from the community we’ve had in the past.
I expected there’d be a mixed response to the new name. I have received some negative feedback, which was upsetting because the committee have worked really hard to make the Bonanza an event that all residents want to attend. But I’ve also received a lot of positive feedback about the Bonanza and it is lovely to see such a good response to it.
The name of the event wasn’t the only change we made; the location of the event changed this year. The Carnival used to take place at King George’s Playing Fields, and traditionally Pat Collin’s Funfair used to be invited also. This year, the Bonanza took place at Bloxwich Park and for the first time ever, we held a Bloxwich Bonanza Dog Show. We had just under 30 entrants, which was amazing and residents loved it!
We chose a dog show because everyone likes dogs, and it’s another great way for the community to get involved. It turned out to be a real crowd-pleaser and it was great to see so many proud owners show off their dogs. We also contacted local singers and dancers to perform at the Bonanza. They were brilliant and really drew in the crowds.
On the day
The Bloxwich Bonanza has received great support from One Walsall. We have had advice about Charitable status, constitutions, funding opportunities etc. This has helped us to really think about what we can do in the future to make this annual event a continued success and a firm favourite of the Bloxwich community.
Under this new phase, we’re off to a good start. There was approximately 1000 members of the public who attended the event, which was much more than we expected. The committee felt that the event went really well, and the feedback that we received on the day was great! It confirmed to us that the changes we’ve made were right because the community had a good time.
After the event, our social media page was inundated by comments, such as “Great event, and better in this park”, “Thank you to the committee for putting on a fun day for my family.”
Now the first Bloxwich Bonanza has taken place, it can only get bigger and better. We’re taking the feedback from this year’s successful event and plan on developing an epic Bloxwich Bonanaza for 2020. The committee will be working hard behind the scenes for the next year discussing and planning entertainment, acts, shows etc.
We’d love to see more members of the community get involved. The Bonanza committee only has 8 volunteers, imagine what we could do with 15! We’re eager to recruit more members who can join us in creating an experience that brings all corners of Bloxwich together. We meet just one Monday evening a month for an hour.