Salvation Army supports music fans at Reading Festival

published on 7 Sep 2021

Salvation Army volunteers were on site with refreshments and a listening ear for music fans at this year’s Reading Festival. 

The church and charity has had a presence at the Richfield Avenue festival for 50 years. They offer round-the-clock pastoral care, refreshments at affordable prices, a calm environment for people to come and relax, and signposting to other services.

Salvation Army at Reading Festival

Volunteer Hayley Scott, 43, whose father Stuart first brought the Salvation Army to the site, said: “My dad had a vision of being a presence at the festival and providing help and refreshments to anyone who needs it. 

“We had tables and chairs set up in the marquee. Festivals can be overwhelming so we are somewhere calm where people can come and relax. It was a peace haven. 

“Over the years it’s grown bigger and we’ve adapted. It used to be we’d offer soup and a roll, now we have hot drinks, water, sweet treats. We keep the prices affordable. Any profit made goes back to the Reading Central Corps and into the community to make up food and Christmas parcels. 

“If someone has no money, we can give them food and a drink. We have spare tents, towels and blankets.”  They are also part of the safeguarding team, working closely with street pastors. 

Hayley added: “We have a QR code, which links back to our Reading Central Corps and signposts to mental health charities, debt advisors, domestic abuse helplines and the Salvation Army website, Whatever the problem is we will try and help and if we can’t help we will find someone who can. 

“It’s a great atmosphere. You can tell people have had a year off as they are so happy to be back!” 

The team of 40 volunteers arrived on Tuesday and stayed until Monday lunchtime over the course of the festival, offering support for 24 hours over the weekend in shifts. They were based on Scott Street, which was named by festival organisers as a tribute to Hayley’s father, who passed away a few years ago.

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