It’s not often you stumble across the delicious smell of homemade curries next to possibly the world’s largest paella dish, tables of delicate cakes and scrumptious hot dogs, with musicians providing the soundtrack, all situated in front of a bright red, converted, Routemaster bus, brewing teas, coffees and baking fresh cookies. This however is not your typical event, this is SundialFest, the annual supporters event of COINS Foundation, an event which aims to say a huge thank you to everyone involved COINS Foundation’s work and to celebrate the incredible work that can be done through using business as a force for good.
Sundial by name and sunny by nature, the weather remained on our side all day, allowing everyone to take full advantage of all the activities on offer. These included pond fishing to bouncy castles, a photo booth and tennis coaching before a quick dip in the pool to cool off, there were countless activities on offer for adults and children. The gleaming Cookie Bar bus offered a unique place to sit on the top deck and admire the view over a latte and a cookie. Then it was all down to the main stage to listen to the students from Stepping Stones school perform – whilst they are no strangers to entertaining a crowd, they brought us some brilliant material featuring covers including the hilarious Tim Minchin song ‘Prejudice’ to Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’! With drums, singing, guitar, solos and duets putting smiles on all the audiences faces, we were spoiled to an hour of brilliant entertainment. There was a particularly poignant moment when the ‘Stepping Stones Choir’, most of whom are leaving the school this year, performed the final song of the afternoon, however, whilst they may be leaving the school we hope that they will be returning to the stage and hopefully the studio for many years to come!
Making its official Sundial debut, was the gleaming Cookie Bar bus, a COINS Foundation social enterprise. The bus turned out to be extremely popular, decorated with pictures and adorned with balloons it attracted children and adults to climb aboard and tuck into freshly baked cookies, scrumptious afternoon teas and hundreds of milkshakes, coffees and hot chocolates. This event was a fantastic chance to showcase the results of the crowdfunding appeal earlier this year that helped us raise a phenomenal total of £30,000, allowing us to refurbish this classic Routemaster bus into a mobile cafe. The remaining funds were kindly donated by COINS Global. The bus can now be taken to events across the country, allowing us to spread the message of social enterprise and responsible business as well as raise profits to reinvest into Stepping Stones school and COINS Foundation. The bus also provides the students at Stepping Stones far more opportunities to gain work experience in a unique environment and a variety of locations.
This year was the biggest and best Sundial to date, a great way to bring everyone together and celebrate all that has been achieved through COINS Foundation. Meeting the people whose lives are changed by the funds reinvested, particularly at Stepping Stones school is truly inspiring. Around the event were videos demonstrating some of the projects that COINS Foundation is involved in, both locally and on an international level, in particular work with PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools) and Habitat for Humanity. The Foundation is at a really exciting point in its development and with big plans for the future we will continue to support great causes for a very long time. Thank you to everyone who was involved for making Sundial and COINS Foundation a huge success – until next year!