INSPIRED by his brother’s work mentoring teenagers from difficult backgrounds across town, Ashley Waldron will do his part for disaffected youngsters at his very first fundraiser, The Big Swindon Event, on Saturday.
Unable to commit enough time to supporting the scores of young people referred to charity SMASH like his brother Craig, the business owner opted to put his skills to good use by launching a fun day at Lydiard Park Conference Centre for the organisation.
From the three-hour festival initially planned, the event has grown over the past few months and turned into a 12-hour extravaganza complete with games, a fun football match, a concert and a performance by a hypnotist.
“Everyone can relate to what SMASH is about, either through their own experiences or because of someone they know,” said Ashley, who founded his own firm, Flawless Flooring, six years ago.
“The chance to have a mentor at a crucial time of your life can mean all the difference to your education, your career, your life.”
SMASH works with young people who are not receiving the attention, encouragement or advice they need and deserve. Each teenager is matched with a mentor who gradually helps them come out of their shell and achieve their goals. The Big Swindon Event will also raise funds for Cancer Research UK, a charity close to Ashley’s heart.
Guests will have a chance to have their hair styled by What Women Want and photographs taken in retro photo booths.
There will be also be music and acoustic sessions from Emily-Jane Shepherd, Sophie & Perry, Lucy Gray, Jenny Bracey and Aidan Moore, among many others during the day.
The free afternoon event will culminate in a paid-for concert in the evening.
“Until my brother mentored for them I had not heard of SMASH so more than anything the event is about raising awareness,” added Ashley.
“The charity believes in these young people and helps them to become confident. It also gives them stability through the mentors. Someone is there for them.
“I hope young people there will learn more about the charity and see they could benefit from it. They will see the doors are open for them.”
Tickets to the evening concert, which wil start at 6pm and feature Soundbites and Cover Addicts among others, cost £15 each or £30 for four people.
They are available from swindontickets.co.uk or swindontheatres.co.uk, the Wyvern theatre box office or at the Drove Vets in Taw Hill.
To find out more follow @SwindonEvent on Twitter or search Big Swindon Event on Facebook.