Steve Hayles and Nacoa met some years ago when he heard about our work through a friend who was a volunteer helpline counsellor. He organised fundraising events and in 2009 asked if we’d like to be charity partner to his brain-child Upfest. In the first year he organised an amazing event with over 50 urban artists from the across the globe who painted live at the Tobacco Factory in Bristol.
The annual event is now the biggest Urban Paint Festival in Europe and takes place over much of Southville and Bedminster. In 2015 the festival included twenty-eight venues where over 250 artists from 26 countries painted 30,000 sq. feet of surfaces over three days in July. The event attracted over 30,000 visitors from across the country and the globe. Visiting Upfest is something that everyone should do at least once in their lives. Seeing a sea of white boards being transformed into a marvellous array of colour, form and originality is as close to human magic as I’ve ever experienced.
Upfest has raised over £40,000 for Nacoa but although the money is, of course, much needed it’s the continuity, regular support and opportunity for us to take Nacoa onto the streets of Bristol which is so important.
In 2015 over 50 Nacoa volunteers contributed 750 hours as street marshals selling Upfest brochures (the money raised coming to Nacoa), selling home-made cakes, vintage wears and providing an incredible kid’s area where children are encouraged to paint and create their own works of art, many of them inspired by the art being created in front of their eyes.
Upfest provides a wonderful opportunity for our volunteers who work remotely or who may not ordinarily see many other volunteers when working on the helpline, to get together and to work as a team in a way which is fun, spectacular and unique to Bristol.
The festival is also a great opportunity to recruit new volunteers and to simply spread the word that there are 2.6 million children living in the UK with parents who drink too much. And, Nacoa is here based in Bristol providing help and support for everyone affected by a parent’s drinking throughout the UK.
All this would not be possible without the care and loyal support of Steve Hayles, who has introduced us to many of the artists who contribute in a variety ways. Two of our greatest British artists, Inkie and Rob Wass painted live at our recent 25 year anniversary Gala, with their works raising over £1,750 and the Upfest team donated an original work by SPQR which raised £800. This is the second time the work has raised funds for us. When it was originally sold in 2009, the artist gifted the sale of £750 to Nacoa.
The relationship between Upfest and Nacoa is one we all personally treasure. Steve’s passion for our work and his loyalty over all these years is truly inspiring and the award is much deserved. Watching Steve receive the Lord Mayor’s medal presented by The Lord Mayor, Councillor Clare Campion-Smith was a memory to be treasured always.
Well done Steve and the biggest thanks in the world for helping us to help children of alcoholics everywhere.
Hilary Henriques, Nacoa CEO