Cally Festival: Championing Community Spirit
Simran O'Shea, Turn2us Volunteer, reports on her recent volunteering experiences at a vibrant community festival in Islington, London.
"Four months ago, I became Turn2us’ first Community Champion volunteer. My role is to promote the financial support and services that Turn2us offers, such as the Helpline, to members of my local community.
"But what is my local community? Even more challenging to decipher… how do I attempt to find it? These were questions that baffled me when I began my volunteer role. A community is not something tangible and clearly defined, instead it is abstract and fluid. It was not until the day I spent at Cally Festival that I discovered what it truly meant to be a part of my local community."
The Cally Festival
"On the 23rd June 2019, the annual Cally Festival returned to my neighbourhood, Caledonian Road. This is an event that brings together and celebrates local art organisations, street vendors, musicians and charities.
"Given my initial struggle trying to reach out to members of my community, I felt this festival would be the perfect place for Turn2us to connect with those in need. Indeed, it was.
"Joe Hunter, Turn2us Volunteer Support Officer, and I arrived bright and early to set up the stall. We decorated the table with leaflets, exciting Turn2us merchandise and, most importantly, an array of delicious chocolates! Despite our banner behaving rather mischievously in the wind, we were all set to go.
"We had so much attention from people passing by that within two hours we had run out of Turn2us tote bags and our stocks of leaflets were greatly diminished. Whether this was down to our enticing selection of chocolates or compelling personalities - who knows? Though, jokes aside, it was heart warming to be able to chat with members of my local community to explain what Turn2us does and how we can help them."
Bubbling with vibrancy
"The festival was bubbling with vibrancy. The smell of Caribbean cuisine wafted through the air as children read aloud poems they had written and the local Capoeira class showcased their latest performance. Watching the festival from the stall allowed me to realise how visible and apparent my community really was.
"Too often, we may feel like individuals, not immersed in the environment around us. We are unaware of the artists, the businesses and the charities that cement and support our community network. It is events like the Cally Festival that really allow us all to connect with and celebrate our diversely beautiful community culture."
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