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Written by Future4Fairgrounds

Future4Fairgrounds formed in September 2020. We are 6 lady Showmen. Our group is an additional voice of our community. We are celebrating our past, raising awareness of our present situation and protecting our future!

Future4Fairgrounds are a group of 6 lady Showmen who came together in September 2020 because of our concerns surrounding the issues Showmen were facing due to the impact of the pandemic. Our initial focus was to highlight the fairs that were unable to open during 2020 and create a better understanding of the amount of Showman families that were affected because of this. We attended many locations that would have had fairgrounds with our #f4f banners which displayed our aims – “to celebrate our past, raise awareness for the present and protect our future”. We raised our profile on social media, contacted our own MPs and became an additional voice for our community establishing ourselves alongside the number of trade body representatives that speak for our industry. We realised from the interest in F4F that there was a very real need for a community group such as ours and we were very proud to be mentioned in a Westminster debate in December of 2020.

We have continued to remain as a proactive group for a full year and our group F4F celebrated being one year old on 24th September 2021. 

This anniversary took place during World Fun Fair Month. An initiative we created to help raise further awareness of our community and join together with other Showmen on a global scale. 

“I Am A Showman” was declared by Showmen of all ages, genders and nationalities and highlighted a community coming together united in their pride for who we are as a people. It was a perfect start to a month-long celebration. The WFFM logo was also flown at fairgrounds in the U.K. and around the world making its way to Australia, New Zealand and even Times Square New York! WFFM was supported by so many people that it became much bigger than we ever expected. The project evolved organically and we were overwhelmed at the success of the event. 

One major success of WFFM involved the newly published independent reading book The Show Must Go On. Having been contacted by co author Michelle Russel early on in F4F’s conception it was wonderful to hear about the positive representation in this book. We did not have any input in the book’s creation but we could see the huge impact this little book could have and we wanted to make sure this ground-breaking book was available to as many schools as possible. With the help of money we had donated to us and money we had raised we were able to place an initial order and buy 1000 copies. To tie in with WFFM we gave them to schools that had fairgrounds linked to their towns during September. 

This amazing little book is so much more than a reading book it can be used as a tool to spark a thought, start a conversation and raise awareness of our community and with the help of WFFM making further links to the towns the Showmen visit annually. Many teachers have been in touch as they are aware that there is a lack of understanding and knowledge about Showmen. They understand the need for positive representation of our community in their school and in the education system as a whole. Since September our “book project” has gone from strength to strength and we have purchased a further 4000 books! They have been given to schools that have Showman children in as well as schools without Showmen students.

In 2022 our focus remains with raising awareness of Showmen in education. This has been extended from our initial look at primary schools into every stage of learning and teaching. We are hoping we can make changes in early years right through to higher education. Especially with more Showmen than ever before staying on in school, achieving fantastic exam results and following their academic career into university. We think education is key to raising awareness. If we can help stop misconceptions and prejudice by offering an authentic voice and sharing positive, accurate information with teachers in schools and universities to share with their students. We can create a better understanding of who Showmen are from the ground up. We hope that we can encourage schools and universities to identify the Showmen that they do have in attendance in an official way on enrolment forms. At the moment our community is invisible on most forms. With our collaboration with the organisations who worked on the GTRSB pledge into higher education and this being developed and adapted to be applied in other educational settings, we are hopeful we can make a difference to how Showmen are seen and bring about a change for the better. 

F4F is certainly here to stay as a community voice and we look forward to celebrating World Fun Fair Month with everyone again in September!