Three of our YPS Kent team went to the Latitude festival this year – and it wasn’t to enjoy the music.
They were invited by the organisers to be a part of the welfare team, joining a diverse group of practitioners from all over the UK with a joint wealth of knowledge on young people and substance misuse.
Rick Bradley, Matt Fagg and Nick Hickmott from our Kent service went to the Suffolk festival in July and worked 8-hour shifts, some late into the night and for Rick, a full night, helping the festival-goers with anything from handing out suncream, water, giving sexual health advice, plus finding out what substances were being used at the festival and giving out all-important harm reduction advice.
Not only did the trio get to help the young people, but they were also able to network with other leading practitioners – all useful contacts to have for the future.
Nick said: “As night fell, sunstroke victims drifted away and our chill-out tent became the place to dry out and house festival refugees whose tents had been washed away by torrential lightning storms.
“Talking people down from bad trips, monitoring overdose from a plethora of substances and catching plentiful amounts of projectile vomit were standard in a shift with alcohol presenting as the main protagonist for the majority of incidents we encountered.
“This may sound to some like a terrible way to spend a weekend off but we all found common ground amidst our very individual experiences. The opportunity to work as part of well-organised team, under high pressure, delivering a high quality of diverse interventions was rewarding to say the least. We all felt tested within our skill set and reassured that we could perform to a high standard outside our comfort zones.”
The team plans to return to the festival next year to work with some of this year’s team again.