Gearing up for its summer season of family fun, people across the city’s East End are lending a hand in bringing together not one but two free outdoor festivals.

With this weekend’s Alexandra Park Festival Day just around the corner and the Bridge Family Festival taking place the following Sunday, we chat to the talented people behind the scenes as they aim to create the community’s biggest and brightest days of the year.

Famous for its colourful carnival parade, the Alexandra Park Festival has a little bit of something for everyone.

With live music, food and market stalls plus activities for kids, the popular day out looks set on living up to being a summer highlight for the East End.

At the Bridgeton Community Learning Campus, some spectacular parade costumes have been coming to life as part of the centre’s craft lessons, as volunteer and enterprise co-ordinator, Jackie Ewing, explains: “Over the past eight years we’ve been fairies, jellyfish... and one year even Snow White and the 27 Dwarves.

“I’ve got to say this year is the best yet... as we’re unicorns. You have to see us, never in my life did I think they’d look so good.

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“But it’s not about just making costumes for us. It’s about coming together to work as a group and a community. It’s a massive step for a lot of people.”

Jackie adds: “My main job at the campus is building confidence and self-esteem. I see people when they first come through the door. They are sick with nerves and are conditioned into thinking they’re not good enough at anything.

“We’ve got better over the years when it comes to the quality of the parade costumes. Don’t get me wrong, it can be stressful when you’re making them, but the sense of achievement you see on their faces is absolutely brilliant. I’m like the wee mammy all proud of them... we all love it.”

Gillian Grant from Easterhouse is making her first creative contribution for the Alexandra Park Festival parade as part of the team making what she describes is “a humongous Chinese dragon.”

Gillian has been attending the Art Factory and the Culture Cafe at Platform at The Bridge complex in Easterhouse on Tuesdays and Sundays afternoons respectively, where the dragon and other colourful creations are being handcrafted by the local community.

Admitting her creative talents came as a bit of surprise, she explains: “I’m not from a creative background at all. I didn’t know I could do any art or anything. At school I couldn’t draw a straight line.”

Gillian adds: “This is the first time I’ve been involved from the beginning of creating something. I’ve not been particularly well, but this year I’ve been more stable and it’s great to have been involved since the beginning.

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“I’ve had a long term mental health problem for the past 30 years on and off. I didn’t know there was a lot going on at the Bridge. I was really isolated and had no confidence and now I am going to be part of a parade. A year ago it wouldn’t have been for me.”

Looking forward to their performance at the Bridge Family Festival is the Platform Singers, a community choir based at the Bridge. Led by professional singer, Rachel Hynes, the group have even written a special song for the festival.

Choir member Anne Marie Murray explains: “Among the songs, we’ve written a wee one about things we like about the East End of Glasgow and a story of being part of the group. It’s the voice of the Platform Singers that will come through during the performance.”

Having joined the choir in January, Anne Marie has nothing but praise for how the experience has helped through a difficult period.

Anne Marie says: “I’ve had a lot of ailments brought on from the bereavement of my parents. I’m quite a happy outgoing person, but I had to get out of the rut I was in.

“I’m not just there for the singing, it’s tapping into my mental, physical and emotional side too. I would recommend to anyone to try it out. You don’t have to be an amazing singer. We sing songs and put a bit of oomph into them. We’re a good wee group and we’re all about helping each other.”

Thanks to that very community spirit driving the preparations, both festivals look set to be a great success yet again this year.