Volunteers from churches around Warrington and Runcorn have been supporting young Creamfields festival goers by offering support, space and conversation.
The electronic dance music festival, held in Daresbury at the end of August, attracts thousands of young people from across the country and whilst it might seem an unlikely place to find a church, local churchgoers have been volunteering at the festival since 2017.
"We first approached the organisers of Creamfields in 2016 to ask if we could be there to offer support and a relaxing space to festival goers," says organiser the Revd Jane Proudfoot from St Wilfrid’s Church in Grappenhall.
This year was the fourth time the We are the Church tents have made an appearance, staffed entirely by volunteers from a wide cross-section of local churches who give their time willingly to help at the festival.
Jane says: "We offer a calm and relaxing space. We’re there to listen and to let the people at the festival know that they are loved and cared for. We give out thousands of cups of water over the four days of Creamfields and have amazing conversations. We want the young people who attend, many of whom may never have been to church, to go away knowing that the Church cares about them."
Jonny Masters, the Youth, Children, and Family’s Adviser for the Diocese of Chester, says: "We’re so grateful to the organisers for letting us be there and privileged to work alongside them supporting the welfare and wellbeing of everyone on the site. It is a huge undertaking to care for the 70,000 people who come to the festival, and we are just a small part of that."
Following a visit to the church tent one grateful festival-goer said on social media: "Just wanted to message and say how amazing the church was at Creamfields this weekend. It really was my and my friend’s safe space with such inspirational volunteers who should be so proud of themselves for helping the people that they do. It is genuinely AMAZING! Keep doing what you are all doing even when it seems tough because you don’t realise how many people’s lives you’re changing. God bless you xxx."
The whole team of 70 volunteers were distressed to hear about the death of a young woman from South Wales after she was taken ill at the festival. Kim Wellens, who works for Warrington Youth for Christ and also helps to organise the volunteers at Creamfields said: "Her family are in our thoughts and prayers. No one can fail to be affected by such sad news, we want everyone to stay safe."
The church team operates entirely on donations from the local churches. To find out more, to donate to We are the Church or to find out about volunteering contact firstname.lastname@example.org.