Festival-goers were helped through their weekend at Creamfields this bank holiday by a team of 45 volunteers. The We are the Church team offered a warm welcome and a listening ear to those attending the electronic dance music festival, and in need of support.
Now into its second year, the ecumenical team behind We are the Church said 2018 was a great success and that many festival-goers appreciated them being there.
Revd Jane Proudfoot, Vicar of Grappenhall, Warrington, first put forward the idea to festival organisers four years ago but found there was little appetite for what she was proposing. She continued to ask and explain how they felt they could serve those attending, until, finally last year, they were invited to attend.
Revd Jane Proudfoot said: “We just want to be a safe place and a listening ear and to serve people at the festival. Eventually, they [the organisers] started to see that we could be a part if their welfare system. They let us in for the first time last year, and what an adventure it’s been.
“We’ve had some amazing conversations with people about faith, God and all kinds of different things. We found that a lot of young people say that they don’t think they would be welcomed in church and that they have done things that they feel ashamed of and feel guilty about.
“We also helped people in real difficulty who couldn’t find their way back to their tent. We also came across people who had had too much drink or drugs and perhaps needed someone to keep an eye on them.”
Messages of thanks and appreciation have been shared with the team on social media following the event. One young man wrote: “This is the person you looked after who was very cold that was found in the tent. I’m ok now and eventually did find my friend, I just wanted to say thank you very much for taking care of me, you’re all good people.”
One of the security staff at the festival wrote on Instagram: “I just want to say what an amazing job you all did at Creamfields, especially treating us security staff so well and keeping us going! I think you helped and saved a lot of lives at the festival! Amazing work…”
Another festival-goer contacted the team following the event and said: “I’m thankful to you and honoured to have met you all!”
The team behind We are the Church, is made up of volunteers from Warrington, Runcorn, Widnes and beyond, and is supported by the dioceses of Chester, and Liverpool, and Warrington Youth for Christ. They have also received advice from Warrington Street Pastors who are familiar with some of the challenges that arise from supporting late-night revellers.
Around 80,000 people travel to Daresbury each year to enjoy the latest in electronic dance music from around the world.
Revd Jane Proudfoot added: “We’re there in a small way and making Creamfields a safer place to be. We hope that we help, and it certainly seems that we do to the organisers.”
The team hope to return next year with a larger team and an increased presence. If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Revd Jane Proudfoot: firstname.lastname@example.org