What drew me to volunteer for the Feast was the ‘people-powered’ aspect. In what are for most people challenging and uncertain times, I think it’s so important that communities stick together, whether it’s supporting local businesses or just making life a bit more fun. The Feast does both very well and that was clear from browsing the site and its ‘people’ pages. Suddenly what had formerly been to me a postcode, and a tired looking high street with the usual signs of a recession, was starting to morph into a bunch of really great people with imagination and energy — and a project with massive potential.
Space Makers, who’ve kick-started the project, are a trio of guys full of positivity and warmth. Those sentiments have seeped into the wider group of volunteers. Never are you pressured into anything you don’t want to do – at least I don’t feel I am! You just end up doing things because the project and people are fantastic. Hell, I’ve not been up at 6am helping put stalls up yet but after interviewing some of the guys that do, I quite want to now!
I really look forward to the weekly meetings in The Railway pub – whether it’s chatting through social media and marketing strategies or divvying up labour for Feast days. Everyone’s ideas are listened to and there’s always laughter, usually beer and often cakes!
There are a million things to help out with (see this video for exactly what!). Personally, I’m using my filming and editing skills to create video content (amongst others) and helping run Feast’s Facebook and Twitter, which echoes what I do as a job and means I’m applying my knowledge and also finding inspiration all the time. I’m also crowd-sourcing footage for a promotional film capturing the spirit and the people who are the Feast. What I love about my particular role is that in chatting to my fellow volunteers, stall-holders and the people of West Norwood with my camera, I’m getting to hear first-hand how much this monthly event is enjoyed and valued by everybody, and it makes me feel good to know I’m a part of that!
Several months down the line, the Feast has garnered a palpable energy and I don’t mean just once a month on a Sunday. Every week we uncover more possibilities and plan how to grow the project into a sustainable and integral part of West Norwood life. The Feast is a bit like an excited child that’s just arrived at a birthday party and seen all their friends and all that cake. I feel a bit like that too! I also love the fact I’ve made some really lovely friends already, many of whom share a love of beer and good conversation!
If you’re thinking of volunteering for the Feast, I say just do it! You’ll have something brilliant to offer, even if you can’t think what it might be! You’ll be welcomed and included and you’ll really make a difference. And you just might see 6am on a Sunday once a month! You can even do your bit right now! Share the video to all your local friends. We’d be made up. Or come and say some nice words on camera if you see me haring about next Feast with my kit in tow.
If you’d like to volunteer check out our Volunteer page and get in touch!
This blog was written by Feast volunteer and film maker Emily Cumming @emileecee