Get to festivals for free, fundraise for a good cause, and liftshare around this summer with Oxfam!

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Oxfam Stewards provide volunteer staff at the UK’s top festivals whilst raising vital funds for famine relief, emergency aid, and injustice causes across the globe.

Today’s the day that volunteer applications open, and the Oxfam Stewards Liftshare Group launches. Stewards will be travelling together and sharing lifts to and from festivals and events all over the country, in order to help save on travel costs and cut down carbon. To learn more about the organisation and how they work, we caught up with Clare Williamson, who works on the Stewarding Team, to catch up.

Who are Oxfam Stewards?

The Oxfam Festivals Team is part of Oxfam GB’s fundraising department, raising money by inviting people to donate their time and effort to support Oxfam at events. The festivals team includes stewards, festival campaigners and the festival shops teams. This year we will be filling over 7500 volunteer places at some of the UK’s best music festivals. As the vast majority of those volunteers will be stewards, we have called our liftshare group Oxfam Stewards to make it easy for them to find, but all the team will be using it!

What kind of people volunteer as Oxfam Stewards?

All sorts of people and from many walks of life! The minimum age is 18 but we have people well into their 70’s who regularly steward, and every age in between – the volunteers often refer to themselves as the “Oxfamily” and several generations of some families choose to steward together.

It’s a great leveller – festival volunteering is for people who love live music, love meeting people and are happy to support Oxfam’s work by giving their time at festivals.  They should be friendly and approachable, able to maintain good humour when tired, comfortable speaking with the public, willing to be vocal, flexible, honest and reliable. A sense of humour is essential!

How do people volunteer – and what does it entail?

People volunteer via our online application form. During the application form they can inform us of any health or accessibility requirements that may require a reasonable adjustment – we work closely with Attitude is Everything to make festival volunteering as accessible as possible. During application you also commit to attending a stewards training session, have the option to list friends as shift partners, supply a referee and pay a deposit equivalent to the festival ticket price – that is refundable after your festival(s) providing you have completed your shifts. As there are quite a few details you need to enter in the form, we have a “before you apply” page on the website listing them, so people can have everything ready.

Stewards complete 3 x 8¼hour shifts during a festival – so it’s just over 24 hours of stewarding and the rest of the week you are free to enjoy yourself. We have separate crew camping, which is generally quieter and more secure. We provide access to showers, phone charging, free tea and coffee and we provide 3 meal tickets (equivalent to your shifts). Check out the Oxfam festivals website for more information about stewarding, campaigning and festival shop volunteer opportunities. Applications open at 11am Tuesday March 15 2016.

Once you’ve had your stewarding place confirmed, you can then arrange your travel with other Stewards at OxfamStewards.liftshare.com. Happy sharing!

Author Lex Barber

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