Rotary Club of Reading

Rotarian Paul Thompson tells about 'Festival Spirit'

Festival Spirit invites people of any age who are severely disabled to attend music festivals such as Womad, Wychwood and Wilderness (they don't always have to begin with a 'w'). A large marquee has been especially adapted and the participants are each given a volunteer buddy to look after them. For people who have been born with disability or who have become disabled (some are ex- servicemen who have lost limbs in wars) this is indeed living a dream. The effect is often remarkable as the experience of attending a public event and enjoying it improves their self-confidence so that often they are afterwards ready to take on other challenges. The buddies also enjoy themselves while carrying out a worthwhile task.
The average cost of getting someone to a festival is £850 but these are often subsidised.
Participants are found through hospitals and similar organisations and if they have doubts as to whether they will manage they are just told: 'If you ever thought you'd never get to a festival we have one thing to say -- Think again, with us YOU CAN DO IT!' These words are seldom wrong.'

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