Hundreds of We Are FSTVL goers offered hot drinks and comfort by volunteers at Upminster church
PUBLISHED: 11:14 31 May 2016 | UPDATED: 11:54 31 May 2016
Hundreds of tired festival-goers enjoyed a hot drink and a place to rest at a church after a night of dancing.
Volunteers from a dozen churches in Upminster, Cranham and North Ockendon stayed up late on Saturday night to serve water, tea and coffee to revellers leaving the site of the We Are FSTVL, Aveley Road, Upminster, which took place over the weekend.
People were able to seek help or just stop for a toilet break at Trinity Church, Station Road, Upminster, before heading back to Romford and Upminster town centres to catch a bus or a taxi.
About 30 volunteers including Romford street pastors and members of Street Watch, from the Safer Neighbourhood Team, welcomed the festival-goers from 10.30pm to 2am with donations from supermarkets Waitrose and Tesco.
Pastor at Upminster’s Kings Church Paul Thompson, who co-ordinated the event, told the Recorder between 300 and 400 people stopped at the church.
“Lots of people came and chatted - they were really lovely people and we had no bad encounter at all.
“It was really good to be the church on the street in the community rather than waiting for people to come to us.
“Lots of people, who came to the stalls said they were overwhelmed by our generosity but we just wanted to help. It was a way of bridging the gap between the church and the community,” he said.
The churches’ initiatives came after last year’s event was tainted with transport chaos as taxis and buses struggled to access the site, leaving thousands of people stranded.
But this year, organisers pledged they would put in place measures including more taxis and shuttle buses to ensure people could leave safely.
Brendan Mole, 71, of Upminster, one of the all-nighter volunteers, said: “It was a fantastic evening. The youngsters were so lovely, polite and brilliant to talk to. It blew away all these ideas they all drink loads and take drugs.
“We also offered blankets to some of the girls who were scantily dressed.”
Church members also praised the organisation of this year’s event, which they said ran very smoothly.
Festival-goer Kelly Kent Clifford wrote on social media: “I thought the whole thing was run very smoothly we walked straight out of the festival and straight on to a bus and got off right near to the church where they were giving free coffees and cookies to people coming back from the festival.
“I thought it was such a lovely thing for the church to do!”
Mr Thompson said the group of churches will assist people coming back from the festival on both nights next year.