Over the last few months the organisation I work for has been gearing up for the Ruby Do – a big, accessible, family event celebrating creativity, inclusion and forty years of providing adventurous play opportunities for local children.
All week I’d been obsessively checking the weather forecast, hoping for a beaming sun symbol, but instead I was greeted with icons for thunderstorms and rain. I desperately hoped it’d change at the last minute but even yesterday morning, on the day of the event, the forecasts were still for relentless rain.
But it didn’t look miserable outside. The sky was blue and the sun was casting shadows. When it was still sunny at noon I began to think all the predictions were wrong. And brilliantly they were – it stayed dry throughout the event. Bang on 7pm when the Ruby Do ended the sky erupted with lightning and rain. We couldn’t have wished for more perfect timing.
It was an amazing day, and one I shared with over 700 people. I was in charge of organising the thirty volunteers who were helping us run it. This meant I got a great overview of everything that was going on from start to finish.
At the adventure playground there was a talent show, a magician, live music from two bands, a sensory tent called the ‘Ruby Red Den’, accessible cycling, balloon modelling, and a make-and-do marquee full of arts activities and red themed costume making. There was a BBQ, a place to get delicious pancakes, and a stall for smoothies and ice cones.
The nature garden across the road was also full of amazing stuff to do. They had a brilliant face painter, a bouncy castle, sensory stories in the woods, and mocktails on the veranda. You could even play hook-a-duck on the real pond. The kart track was equally busy, introducing many new people to the excitement of go-karting throughout the day.
The whole event was inclusive and many of the volunteers and visitors had disabilities. Accessibility had been thought about at every site – we had a brilliant high dependency toilet and changing space, hoists at every project, a guide-dog rest point, British Sign Language speakers and chill-out spaces.
Towards the end of the day I led the ‘Ruby Red Parade’ of hundreds of children and adults around all three sites, accompanied by musicians from the bands. It was amazing to look down the line and see so many children having a good time, all dressed up in amazing red costumes.
Photos: James Lyndsay
It was a truly lovely day, with Leftwing Idiot, and my colleagues Mia and Phil doing tremendous work to put it all together. It was Leftwing Idiot’s last day at work before he heads to Edinburgh for the rest of the summer. I was pleased that his last day at work for a while was so memorable.
To everyone who shared in the event, huge thanks. It’s a day I’ll remember for a long time – hopefully lots of the children will have happy Ruby Do memories too.