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GWP Packaging sponsor Cricklade Band after COVID-19 disruption

Matt Dobson: Last Updated 16th February 2024
Posted In: Community / Charity | Company News xx 31179

Sponsorship is Music to Band’s Ears

GWP to become corporate sponsors to provide “year-round” support

GWP Packaging has stepped in to help The Cricklade Band, after festive events in the town were cancelled for a second year.

GWP has previously sponsored the band’s performance at the Cricklade lights switch-on, continuing this in 2020 despite the event itself being called off due to the pandemic.

But with the light “switch on” again cancelled (it also didn’t take place in 2020 due to coronavirus restrictions) and reduced audiences and performances throughout the past 18 months, GWP offered to help with regards to funding for the band.

The Cricklade Band
GWP have become a "corporate sponsor" of the Cricklade band, offering year-round support.

Sponsorship of the Cricklade Band

The Cricklade Band, the oldest established and continuously active association in the area, was founded in 1887. It has upheld the tradition of playing carols around Cricklade in the lead-up to Christmas for 133 years.

The band endured a difficult period last year, in which all of the events they were booked to play were cancelled due to the pandemic. And whilst 2021 has seen the band return to performing at a number of events over the summer months, funding has still been at a lower level than before the pandemic struck.

Cricklade band sponsorship
GWP Group are sponsoring the Cricklade Band, pictured here at the Christmas Lights event in 2019.

For a number of years, GWP has sponsored the band’s performance at the annual Christmas lights event, held in Cricklade town centre.

With the 2021 festivities again cancelled, GWP decided to instead become a “corporate sponsor” of the band. This allows us to provide support and funding year-round, instead of just over the Christmas period.

The support from GWP – alongside a number of other individuals and businesses from the local area – will ensure that the band continues delighting residents throughout the town, and maintains its status as the oldest established, continuously active association in Cricklade.

Cricklade Band Christmas carols
The Cricklade band will still perform carols (in a COVID safe manner) around Cricklade throughout December

The importance of local support

Whilst a well-loved fixture of the town, the Cricklade Band rely on revenue generated from performances – as well as support from local businesses and individuals – to meet their annual running costs.

The difficulties posed by the pandemic threatened this, however.

Paul Hewer, leader of the Cricklade Band, commented:

Right from the first Christmas of the band’s existence in 1887, the coppers that were donated at Christmas helped towards paying for the band’s rehearsal facilities for the next year.

We obviously wanted to continue the tradition of playing Christmas Carols around the town, even with the restrictions that were in place last year. Thankfully, we were able to do so in a COVID-safe manner and, although the lights event is cancelled again this year, we are still looking forward to bringing some festive cheer to residents throughout December.

This determination to continue a long-established tradition, not to mention lifting residents’ spirits, also gained the band an award as the ‘Community Group of The Year’ from Cricklade Town Council.

Paul continued:

Whilst we were absolutely delighted to win the award, we have had a really testing 24 months. With events cancelled and limited capacity audiences, sponsorship from a number of individuals and local businesses like GWP have really helped see us through this difficult period.

Supporting the local community

GWP employs over 100 people – the majority from Cricklade and the surrounding area – designing and manufacturing a wide range of bespoke packaging products.

As such, it is important for the business to be part of the local community and support worthy causes in and around the town.

Ruth Cook, Managing Director at GWP, added:

As a business, we have always looked to be involved with the local community wherever we can. The Cricklade Band is a historic and important part of the town’s culture, so we are delighted to be able to help them continue bringing festive cheer and to support them throughout 2022.

The impact of COVID-19 on the Cricklade Band

On Monday 16 March 2020, all of the Cricklade Bands’ live performance rehearsals, Band-Academy rehearsals and one-to-one mentoring lessons of beginner musicians came to an abrupt halt. All of this was due to the precautions put in place to stem the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

As time went on, every single event the band had been booked to attend right through to the end of 2020 was also cancelled.

Without being able to meet in person, the band’s instrument teams began to regularly use WhatsApp or Skype to rehearse. They even organised playing an online Bandagram greeting of Happy Birthday and an Act of Remembrance for the VE Anniversary and Remembrance Sunday.

Socially distanced band practice
The Cricklade Band, pictured here practicing in a socially distanced manner

The band moved from Skype rehearsals to live outdoor rehearsals as soon as guidelines allowed (with strict precautions in place) and on 1st October the whole band were able to rehearse again – together – inside.

However, the second lock-down (and ensuing tier systems) saw a return to the Skype rehearsals and get-togethers.

Whilst restrictions have thankfully eased somewhat in 2021 – seeing the band return to a number of venue and events over the summer months – the level of activity and the difficulties of maintaining safety for band members and audiences alike, has made 2021 a challenging period.

These difficulties have made sponsorship from individuals and businesses such as GWP Group crucial in helping the historic organisation through these difficult times.

Cricklade band sponsorship
GWP are delighted to be supporting the Cricklade Band in 2022

Christmas Lights Event 2021

Although the Cricklade lights event will not be taking place again this year, the band will still be in Cricklade High Street for its traditional morning-long carol session on Saturday 18th December and local people are invited to join the band to enjoy some festive music and show their support.

You can keep up to date with developments on the Cricklade Lights Event here, or alternatively you can find out more about the Cricklade Band on their Facebook page.

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About the Author

Matt Dobson

Marketing Manager | GWP Group

Matt has worked in the packaging industry for approximately 9 years, having joined GWP Group as Marketing Executive in 2012. [Read full bio…]

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