Volunteering at Glastonbury: an insider's view

Every year, our volunteers carry out a range of roles to make your Glastonbury experience the best ever, and to spread the word about clean water and safe toilets. Here Ailsa, a Sales and Services Manager at HSBC, tells us what makes volunteering at the festival so special.


29 Sep 2014 | UK

What inspired you to volunteer with WaterAid at Glastonbury?
I think WaterAid are great, so I was delighted when HSBC linked up with them through our Water Programme. I already do lots of community work, so this opportunity was just right for me. It was my first ever festival - let alone my first Glastonbury - so I was really excited!

What were your volunteering duties?
I was on a recycling team collecting cardboard, paper and plastics. We also took it in turns to collect signatures for WaterAid’s Change the Record petition. I talked to lots of people and put my customer service skills to good use!

In total, the volunteers spoke to an incredible 38,125 festival-goers who stopped and showed they cared by signing the petition. It made me feel proud to work for HSBC and very privileged to volunteer with WaterAid; I felt like I was really making a difference.

Ailsa (middle) with members of the WaterAid recycling team.
Ailsa (middle) with members of the WaterAid recycling team
Photographer credit: WaterAid

What was your favourite moment of the festival?
When I was collecting signatures for the campaign, a young man really challenged me about what I was doing. I explained why I thought it was important and he ended up signing the petition and got all his friends to sign too. That was one of my favourite moments.

What would you say to colleagues thinking about volunteering?
I'd tell them that the festival is great, but it's WaterAid, their supporters and talking to the festival-goers that really make it special.

WaterAid couldn't do enough for us, they were so pleased to have us there. Volunteering was the highlight and I hope the relationship with HSBC will continue to go from strength to strength.

What did you find out about WaterAid?
I think 'Taps and Toilets for Everyone, Everywhere by 2030' is an excellent message. It's not just about water – good sanitation and hygiene underpin health, build communities and significantly improve life choices for girls.

What's next?
I've already written to my MP about the Everyone Everywhere campaign and hope to gather more signatures for the petition. I've also agreed to give a talk about WaterAid to a local mothers’ group, and I'd like to organise a challenge event next year.

Find out why we can't wait to get back to Worthy Farm in 2015 >