Charity behind music festival launches lockdown support group

CARLFest 2018 event organisers at the Mariners Rest pub, Lowestoft.

CARLFest 2018 event organisers at the Mariners Rest pub, in Lowestoft. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The team behind a popular charity music festival have launched a new initiative to support local people during the third national lockdown.

Inspired by the success of CARLFest in 2020, which was streamed online for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic, the CARL in the Community group are now offering daily entertainment, exercise and educational videos.

The group, on Facebook, now boasts almost 1,100 members, with videos reaching thousands of viewers each day.

Darren Steger-Lewis, trustee of the Care and Real Lovin' charitable foundation.

Darren Steger-Lewis, trustee of the Care and Real Lovin' charitable foundation. - Credit: Inallhonesty Media

Darren Steger-Lewis, trustee of the Care and Real Lovin' charitable foundation (CARL), said: "As a charity, we had a tough year because our fundraising are based on live music events, so we had to get a new feather for our bow.

"As we approached the second lockdown I saw a lot of people struggling and having a hard time mentally and I thought we should set up this group designed to provide entertainment and distractions for people with little interjections in their newsfeed every day.

"It has snowballed from there and we started doing live videos about mental health, finance, wellbeing, and eating disorders, among other things.

"There's an art club on Sundays, fitness classes three days a week and we're doing question-and-answer sessions with local influencers and personalities, including Sue Willgoss from the Lift Loud for Danny campaign.

"All of the admins are now undergoing a mental health awareness course to help people from a qualified perspective and our inbox is always open for people who are having a hard time."

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The CARL foundation was set up by popular Lowestoft barman Dean 'Carl' Lawson in 2012 shortly before his death, and has continued to raise thousands of pounds each year for local causes.

Ahead of Christmas, the group delivered 250 presents as part of a toy drive to local families who were struggling financially.

The group are also preparing for the 10th anniversary of CARLFest over the August bank holiday weekend, as well as an epilepsy fundraiser in April at Easter, although final details of both are yet to be confirmed due to the ongoing pandemic.

To join the group, go to www.facebook.com/groups/carlscommunity

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