Access All Areas September 2019 - Page 23

SEPTEMBER | FEATURE “Everyone always talks about having paper straws, but do they have free range humans?” organisations that offer volunteer staffing, which is another way we can set ourselves apart. “Everyone always talks about having paper straws, but do they have free range humans?” Access sees this method working first-hand as we sit in on the morning briefing. After Wilkinson’s charismatic and finely tuned briefing, his volunteers gather for a pre-shift cup of tea, and are already making friends. During the festival later in the evening, we spot many of them still in groups with the volunteers they met in the morning. Natasha is one of the volunteers giving her time at Lovebox. Speaking at the event, she said: “I’m volunteering for MIND, the mental health charity! There is a huge stigma associated with mental health, and in particular you can see this within the music & events industry. “There’s been a lot of high-profile press around big performers such as Avicii and Stormzy and their struggles with mental health. For me, a chance to volunteer with My Cause UK was not just for a free ticket to Lovebox, but a chance to raise money for MIND, and to help raise awareness about mental health. “Volunteering brings me outside of my comfort zone, and it gives me a sense of purpose. I’ve met so many new friends through volunteering, and I love that we get to enjoy all of the headline acts after our shifts!” Pictured: Top: My Cause volunteers unite; Bottom left: Volunteers at LoveBox; Right: Access’ Stuart Wood and Sean Wyatt-Livesley helping out We’re still on the payroll The services which My Cause UK offers encompass untrained roles working at the festival gates, campsites, stewarding and around sustainability initiatives. But the organisation has also set up a sister company, Ethical Staffing, which can provide the option of a paid staffing team to work alongside, or independently of, volunteers. Ethical Staffing can provide staff for box offices, cash handling, car parking, bar management and more. It also can provide support for corporate, conference or brand activation events which would not necessarily attract a team of volunteers in the same way as a festival. 23