Our initial set of projects were identified and selected in conjunction with applicants to the Visionaries for a Better World programme run by the Joseph Rowntree Trust and in partnership with St Michael’s Catholic High School, who made FREdome their community project in support of their successful application to be awarded official status as a Specialist Humanities College.


FREdome led the up scaling of the Watford Celebration diversity celebration event into the Watford Colosseum, attracting a regular annual audience that involved 110 organisations and as many as 4,500 participants .

 The launched was funded by the National Lottery. It included follow-on community workshops to stimulate initial ideas, followed by utilisation of a purpose-built website sponsored by St Michael’s Specialist Status grant to gather further ideas and vote on the total set.


Diversity Celebration Events

The Watford Celebration is a diversity celebration which draws together the whole community from in and around the Watford area.


It is a day for people to showcase their own identities and sample the rich variety that exists in the community as a whole. Participants include diverse groups, spanning Arts & entertainment, Education, Cultural, Faiths, Voluntary, Charities, Public services and Businesses. People of all ages, abilities, backgrounds and walks of life attend and take part. Different cultures come with their traditional food, in their traditional costume, with their traditional music.


What happens at the event is also diverse. Grant funding and commercial sponsorship permitting, it is a free day – with free entry, free international food, constant stage performances, a variety of stalls, a quiet area where people can network over refreshments; a space set aside for people to share their beliefs and customs; there is also a section where the children are kept entertained.


Greg Peachey, founder and chair of FREdome, obtained Lottery funding to launch the event into the nationally famous Watford Colosseum. The rest, as they say, is history: Elected Mayor Dorothy Thornhill donated the hire of the Colosseum, the Chinese ladies co-ordinated a magnificent spread of food of all nations. 110 organisations took part, with many performances of all cultures on stage and floor, 53 stalls largely for charities and voluntary groups were in place, there was a beautifully decorated Sacred Space and there were several activities for children. The Town Centre Chaplaincy looked after security, the Shi'a Muslims looked after car parking, FREdome co-ordinated volunteers on the day and councillors and people from all over the community came to help. Fitzroy Williams worked very hard on securing sponsorship and organising free transport from the town centre and West Watford, Tony de Angelis donated a very comprehensive web site and Olly Beeson donated his services as graphic designer for all the publicity, and there were some very generous donations from individuals and businesses, all committed to this free community event. Luther Blissett, popular one time Watford Football Club player gave his time freely to open the event and stayed to sign autographs. Claire Ward MP and Tony and Sheila Poole, chair of Watford and his wife were also there. The Colosseum staff was very helpful also, pulling out all the stops to help make the day a success.


That Day, on the second May Bank Holiday 2007, saw horizontal rain and trees down in front of the venue, but still 2,500 people came through the doors, as the Colosseum staff counted. The feedback was again of great enjoyment, and of having learnt something about other communities.


After that, Celebration went from strength to strength, with more than 4,500 visitors in 2010, including young people who took part on stage in their own talent competition “Show the World”. The auditions were broadcast locally on Show FM in partnership with The Vibe, and globally from the Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy’s ‘Eden’ on internet radio and TV. The message that they delivered in such a colourful and engaging way was, “Stop all War and Fix our Future?”