Bringing the Comfort Zone to Life

Fizza, a STEP 2019 participant, gives a peek into the Comfort Zone at this year's Great Get Together

4 October 2019

On a Sunday morning this past June, the STEP team reached the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, to set up for the Great Get Together. Situated in the new and developing part of Stratford, the park is slightly hidden away and seems like a completely new area waiting to be discovered. With the largest gazebo in front of us, we were buzzing to make it in to the ‘comfort zone’ that we had been planning for the past four months!

Our journey into this exciting project began in February, when we received our brief by Create Jobs, as part of STEP. The Great Get Together event was one that we would work on as a team. As we were given the chance to create something of our own, we were all enthusiastic had been looking forward to this project since the very first day. Dozens of questions poured out once the brief was completed, as there was so much we wanted to know and do in order to make the most of this unique opportunity!

Having an eclectic team with various talents and skills, we soon started hashing out our thoughts and concepts, and refining them. And after much discussion and voting, our idea was clear...

In festivals and outdoor events, organisers will of course think about what the dominantly extrovert audience will enjoy on their day out. So, we decided to take a slightly different approach. We wanted to cater for all audiences, in particular those who want some peace and the closest possible to, quiet - even at a festival-like event. And so, the “Comfort Zone”, was the name given to our contribution at The Great Get Together, encompassing multiple activities to attract a varied audience.

A place to relax, unwind and get some quiet in the rush of an outdoor weekend event' was the foundation of the Comfort Zone. Comfort-oozing bean bags, extra-large cushions and colourful mats and bunting all decorated our 10-metre square gazebo. We also had multiple activities to cater for different visitors, such as:

  • Badge making (the queue for which was never ending!)
  • A large map of east London by artist Joey Yu, where visitors could leave a piece of themselves to personalise the map, be it a polaroid photo or a post-it note with their name or favourite east London place
  • Interviews of locals by Worldwide FM, who also recorded our talks with JJ Bola and Shareefa Energy (spoken word artists) discussing place, identity and location
  • Yoga and meditation by Monamas Yoga
  • And lastly, an outlet for what’s on your mind, through writing postcards by A Dear World Project

Needless to say, the badge-making turned out to be the most engaging activity for the children, while the talks received a great response from the adults (and some children too), with different people joining in our casual talks on intriguing topics. It was beautiful to see east Londoners enjoy a Sunday in a part of the city that is yet to grow further and develop, with the entire event taking place in the memory of the late Jo Cox, who stood for unity within the community.

It was a rewarding and insightful experience to be part of organising an event attracting 10,000 visitors! Whether it was going to the LLDC office for steering group meetings or brainstorming ideas, managing to engage visitors on the day of the event or delegating roles and responsibilities among us, this project surely brought us together as a group and enabled us to utilise our skills and talent. This was an excellent opportunity for all of is, thanks to Create Jobs, Foundation for Future London and LLDC.

Find out more about STEP and how you can get involved here.

Written by Fizza, photography by Laura Turner-Blake and Ketishia Vaughan