Posted: 06 September 2011

Supporting Make Runaways Safe at this year's Greenbelt Festival

What a weekend!

After much preparation and planning from everyone at The Children's Society, we headed to Greenbelt at Cheltenham Racecourse on Friday morning.

When we arrived, the festival was already buzzing. There were tents everywhere and people of all ages walking around in wellies. The weather wasn’t great (understatement of the year) but it didn’t stop everyone from being in great spirits, as the sounds of music and laughter were in the air.

We’re here

It was our first year at Greenbelt so we made sure we had enough signage for everyone to know we were there (I’m sure you saw the many purple flags!). We had stations all over the racecourse including a Christingle area in the Messy Space.

We spent the afternoon setting up our stall in the G-Source tent, ready to get festival-goers to sign up to our Make Runaways Safe campaign. As you can see, we had a giant letterbox made so our supporters could send their postcards directly to the minister. Nigel Varndell, Director of Church Partnerships, strikes a pose and indulges in a bit of product demonstration here:

Nigel with our postbox

When 5pm rolled around it was time for Nigel’s seminar: ‘Jesus was a home wrecker’. With a controversial title like that is was no wonder the crowds piled in to hear what he had to say. We’ll post a transcript of his speech soon, which looked at how our research shows how important family is to the nurture and care of children, but that Jesus’ attitude to family and children is at best ambivalent and sometimes hostile. Nigel asked, was Jesus wrong? And what does this mean for how we, as parents or churches, care for our children?

Putting tents up and delivering seminars certainly builds up an appetite, and luckily, it was then time for dinner. There were so many food stalls to choose from – we decided on fish curry in the end. Yum!

Rise and (please let the sun) shine.

We were up early the next day to greet the hundreds of people visiting the G-source on Saturday, ready to tell them about our Make Runaways Safe campaign.

People were shocked to hear that the 100,000 children and young people that runaway from home have very little support. In fact there are only 2 refuge beds in England for the 200+ children in danger each night.

As a result of our activities, over 1,000 fantastic supporters signed our postcards to Tim Loughton, the children’s minister, and joined the campaign.  We also found 50 brilliant people who were interested in becoming Christingle organisers and another 20 terrific supporters who would like to host Good Childhood Conversations.

Thank you!

We want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who came and said hi over the weekend and to all those who are helping us make runaways safe.

Bring on Greenbelt 2012!

By Amy Doyle - Digital team