Category: Campaigning

Sustainable Fashion- Give clothes a second chance and help beat poverty!

Fashion is an industry that is putting increasing pressures on both our planet and people who make our clothes. Keep reading to find out more about the impacts of fast fashion and what you can do to make a difference this summer!

Did you know…?

The average lifespan for an item of clothing in the UK is 2.2 years! Even more shocking is that consumers send a whopping 300,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill every year in the UK – that’s almost the same weight as the Empire State Building.

What’s more, the textile industry accounts for 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions – that’s more than international aviation and shipping combined.

So what can you do to help?

REDUCE:  Let’s be clear – while donating unwanted clothes is good, reducing how many new clothes we buy is best.

REUSE: Instead of buying a whole new wardrobe for the festival season why not buy second hand from an Oxfam shop on the high street or Oxfam online. This way you can reuse something that has been loved and donated. Better to reuse, than buy new.

RECYCLE: When clothes have finished their life in your wardrobe – give them a new lease of life via an Oxfam shop.  Every garment sold raises money to fight poverty around the world. One dress could raise enough money to buy drought-resistant seeds for a family to keep growing food despite a changing climate. Oxfam also works with fashion companies to improve the treatment of workers within the clothing industry.

Also if the clothes you give to Oxfam don’t sell in our shops, they go to our pioneering sorting centre, “Wastesaver”. Our team at Wastesaver works hard to resell, reuse or recycle your items – ensuring your clothes continue their journey. Over 14,000 tonnes of clothing each year are diverted from landfill through being donated to Oxfam.

SPEAK OUT: We don’t want to put retailers out of business. Instead, we want them, their workers, and our planet to thrive. So, why not ask your favourite shop to improve their carbon footprint, and how they treat their workers?

Photo: Kitabe stands amongst the onion seed flowers that have helped her earn a decent income. Everything you buy from Oxfam festival shops helps people like Kitabe to build better lives. Abbie Trayler-Smith/Oxfam

Oxfam offers you a way to help reduce the harmful effect of ‘fast fashion’ on our planet and its people. By buying and donating your clothes through Oxfam shops you can give clothes a second chance – increase their lifespan, while protecting the planet, and raising money to help the poorest people around the world.

Let us know how you are going to be more sustainable at festivals this summer by commenting below.

Find your local Oxfam Shop: https://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/shop-finder

Shop online: https://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop

ASOS Marketplace: Shop an exclusive collection of pieces usually only found at major UK festival https://marketplace.asos.com/boutique/oxfam-festival-shop

Oxfam Festival Shops: This summer you can find our pop up shops at Bearded Theory, Download, Glastonbury, Latitude, WOMAD, Kendal Calling, Boardmasters, Boomtown and Leeds.

What to pack for festivals this summer?

If you find packing for a festival a bit overwhelming, never fear! The Oxfam Festival Shop Team have compiled a simple checklist, with some of the items you’ll need for camping, sleeping and clothes to sleep you stylish, comfortable and dry!

We will be sharing some top tips on our social media over the coming months so make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Useful websites for festival packing tips: 

Go Outdoors:  http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/expert-advice/guide-to-a-successful-festival

Festival Safe: https://www.festivalsafe.com/information/be-prepared

 

Tips and Tricks: From the Field

 

With the summer drawing to a close, our volunteers have amounted a vast supply of tips and tricks. Drawing from their collective knowledge on how to complete a successful camping mission, we’ve compiled a list of core advice to help you navigate next year’s festival season. Below are our top 5!

1. Think before you pack

Our volunteers take various techniques when it comes to what they bring to a festival. We ran into Richard steering a wheelbarrow through the Oxfam camping. Curious about its purpose, we asked if he had any tips to share. It soon became clear that Richard was a packing pro as he shared this advice with us:

‘Make sure you’re well prepared for all weathers and not being cold at night! I have an air bed with two duvets. And make you don’t pitch your tent on a slope, get there early to get the best spot.’ – Richard

So make sure your tents is not on a slope, think ahead for what you’ll need – but also how you’re going to get it into the campsite! A big tent is also a good idea, and from experience, we’ve found that if a tent is sold as a two-man it will probably be a better fit for one, or alternatively two child-sized men. So if you like your space and aren’t particularly little, one up your tent size for a better fit.

Richard outside his tent, which was fully stocked up with even a table inside!

Richard did also remind us that he drove to the festival. A good thing about camping with Oxfam is that the car park is usually close, allowing you to prepare for every eventuality with a car. However, if you’re reaching a festival by train or bus then two wheelbarrows may not be an option for you. Now it’s time to think about packing smart and how to re-use items. One volunteer said about using old clothes as a make-shift towel for the showers; another suggested a water bottle that flattens to save space. General advice though has been just to use your common sense. Think logically about what clothes and food you need, and how to stop it getting wet if it rains on the way in!

‘We saw people in the queue to Boardmasters when it was raining and their stuff got wet in their bag, so bring a waterproof or bin bag to put over your bag so your stuff doesn’t get wet!’ – Saph

Saph getting ready to explore at (the thankfully sunny) Bestival

A waterproof is always a good thing to pack, as rain is not uncommon, but the best advice is …

2. Be prepared for all weather!

Whilst pictures of British festivals are usually characterised by heavy rain and swamps of mud, last season we were blessed with nearly continuous sun. Reaching scorching highs, it is important for your safety to prevent overheating and keep cool. With the trend of very cold winters and very hot summers likely to increase, due to climate change, the message of staying safe in the sun is ever more poignant. Darren, one of the stewards, showed us his heat survival kit consisting of a hat, suncream and lip balm with spf, alongside sharing this simple but crucial advice:

‘If you can find some shade then stand in it. As soon as you realise you’re not feeling well then act on it, sit down and get some water.’ – Darren

As it gets hotter throughout the day we, in Britain, tend to forget the basics of hats, sunnies, suncream, shade and water. This often results in sunburn or even sunstroke.

Pack warmer clothes than you think you’ll need, because it gets cold at night. A cosy sleeping bag, a fluffy jumper and your favourite pyjama bottoms are all a bedtime must.

Wayne, who’s jumped in at the deep-end of festival volunteering, contributing to 5 last year and an outstanding 10 this year, gives great advice to sum up this section:

‘Just the same as life in general: be prepared. We live in the UK so there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing – we’ve got a double climate so it could be sunny in the morning and raining in the afternoon. Pack for rain and pray for sun.’ – Wayne

3. Protect your valuables

Oxfam staff camping is one of the most secure you’ll find at a festival, with stewards constantly on the gates monitoring who comes in and out. Nevertheless, it’s always good to know some tricks for preventing theft. Three girls with some advice to give you peace of mind are Lily, Niamh, and Holly. Here’s what they told us …

‘When you’re asleep, put valuables at the bottom of your sleeping bag!’- Lily.

‘Get a decoy purse with an old card, some coins, so that if anyone is looking in your tent, they’ll take that one.’ – Niamh.

‘You could hide your stuff in a wetwipe packet too, or use a bin bag – put some empty bottles and stuff on top. No one goes looking through a bag of rubbish!’ – Holly.

4. Don’t forget the basics!

David: “Bring your own proper pillow. The small plastic ones are rubbish. Also a lantern that you can bring to hang in your tent for night time.”

Steve: “Bring toilet roll and bio-degradable wet wipes – basic tip but very necessary.”

David: “And bring your tent, someone forgot theirs around us!”

It may seem obvious – but make sure you have the basics with you. Additional to a lantern or torch, toilet roll, and a tent, also remember the essentials of a toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Make sure to check what the festival says about bringing aerosol deodorant too, as some ban it as a potential fire hazard. We’re sure that after a few days both yourself, and the others around you, will appreciate the necessity of a roll on.

To avoid having precious alcohol confiscated too, make sure to check the festival’s restrictions. These generally limit the number of cans you can bring and very often ban glass bottles, so don’t splash out on a bottle of spirits as you’re likely to be sorely disappointed.

Remember that Oxfam camping has a number of festival luxuries not provided for regular punters. There’s hot water, so pot noodles and cutlery is a good idea, and tea and coffee is provided so a mug is also a must.

The last basic is …

5. Be ready to make new friends!

Wayne says: ‘bring a positive attitude!’. Wayne has lived up to the challenge of ‘fill your summer with festivals’ with his ten this year.

‘Bring a pillow, a good sense of humour, don’t be shy, just talk to your neighbour and share things around.’ – Jones

You don’t need to go to ten festivals a year to appreciate the value of this advice. Almost everyone we spoke to told us how much they’ve enjoyed getting to know other volunteers, and how welcoming the ‘Oxfamily’ is.

Be part of the team – About the roles

Oxfam Festivals has a wealth of opportunities to get involved with next  summer from stewarding,  campaigning and volunteering in a festival shop.  With many different roles and a variety of festivals across the UK, we hope that you join us as a volunteer next summer! Keep reading to learn more about how you can get involved with the #Oxfamily.

Stewarding

What is involved? Oxfam has been stewarding at festivals since Glastonbury 1993. As a steward you’re the eyes and ears of the festival, supporting the smooth running of the event. Stewarding responsibilities are varied, including helping festival-goers, checking wristbands, monitoring venues, and patrolling campsites. You might also find yourself working on accessible viewing platforms and fire towers.

What are the shifts like? You normally do three shifts over the festival, and each shift is eight hours long. Dependant on the festival you will usually do a one day shift, one evening shift, and one night shift across the course of the entire event.

Do I need any previous experience? We welcome volunteers from from every background, and while relevant experience is useful, we take on hundreds of new volunteers who are fresh to stewarding every year. You will receive a full training programme prior to arriving onsite, which will cover the stewarding basics, and ensure that you are prepared for every occasion.

Campaigning

What is involved? If you loving talking to the public and have a passion for making a difference in the world then campaigning may well be for you! As a volunteer campaigner, you will not only be raising awareness of Oxfam’s work, you’ll be inspiring people to help beat poverty too, in creative and thought-provoking ways. Campaigning is a predominantly roaming role within the arena, festival village and public campsites. We also have a campaigning hub with glitter, wristbands and space for the public to chat to us about Oxfam’s work. You will also get to meet hundreds of festivals goers, also other like-minded campaigners, whilst enjoying the festival!

What are the shifts like? In this role, you will normally do four daytime six-hour shifts, so the evenings will be yours to enjoy! (Result!) Unlike stewarding you will need to send us a short video letting us know why you would make a great Oxfam campaigner along with a short description.

Do I need any previous experience? Knowledge and passion for Oxfam’s work are desirable and you will need to be confident in inspiring the public. The campaign changes each year and you will be provided with all of the key info you need beforehand. There will also be a briefing when you arrive on site where you will find out more on the campaign, meet other campaigners and prepare yourselves with the support of the campaigning lead.

Shop volunteering

What is involved? If you have a passion for fashion and an eye for bargains then this could be the role for you. To join the festivals shop team you will need to have three months’ experience working in one of our high-street shops.

You will be joining the team to help sell our amazing festival stock. From wellies to hoodies or sunglasses and sequins, we curate our stock for each individual festival. Some of the best finds and amazing treasures are brought in from all our high-street shops. You could be helping set up and dress the shop, serving customers, handling cash, and packing up the shops fixtures and fittings. It all helps raise vital funds in our fight against global poverty.

What are the shifts like?  You may do three to five shifts across the course of the festival. There are a limited number of spaces and a selection process following your application.

If you have any questions about volunteering you can ask questions in our Facebook community forum, email us at festivals@oxfam.org.uk or call us on 0300 200 1266.

We hope to see you join us in summer 2019!

Oxfam Festivals Team

A Beginner’s Guide to Festivaling with Oxfam: The Top 5 Q+As

 

This year’s festival season is sadly over, yet anticipation for the summer of 2019 is already building. Welcoming hundreds of newbies to our Facebook page we know that, although it may be getting gloomier outside, festival fans still have their sights squarely set on summer. This is especially the case as, as the summer of 2019 approaches so does Glastonbury’s long-foretold return. So if you can’t wait to go Glasto …. or Boomtown, or WOMAD, or the 20 other festivals Oxfam saves spots at for that matter, but are wondering what festivaling with Oxfam is actually like – then this is the article for you. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of answers to of our top 5 most asked questions just for you.

If you haven’t already, make sure you register your interest to join us next year here.

Here’s your very own beginner’s guide to festivaling with Oxfam:

Q1 : What are the different ways you can volunteer at festivals with Oxfam?

A: If you’ve heard about going to festivals with Oxfam, it’s most likely you’ve heard about stewarding. Stewarding makes up the most of Oxfam’s volunteering spots and essentially means you’ll be ensuring the smooth running of a festival as its eyes and ears. This could involve checking wristbands, giving directions, patrolling the arena, spotting fires, and a general range of other helpfulness-based responsibilities. So if you enjoy helping people out and a bit of variety in your work, stewarding might be the one for you.

If it’s not, then never fear there’s still plenty of other ways to get involved.  If you have 3 months experience working at your local Oxfam shop then you could apply to volunteer at one of Oxfam’s wonderfully weird and wacky festival shops. If you’re practical and good at setting things up, logistics occasionally recruits on the Oxfam Festivals Facebook page.  If you’re passionate about social causes and have an outgoing personality, then you should consider volunteering as a campaigner. If you fancy learning more about the different roles before making a decision, then you can also follow this link for full descriptions and videos about what each role entails.

Spreading the love between stewards and campaigners – Photo Credit: Zara Canfield/Oxfam

Q2: What will my shifts be like?

A: Shifts vary depending on how you decide to volunteer, but whatever role you pick you’ll earn your entry through committing 24 hours of the festival to it. Stewarding you’ll do three 8 hour shifts and campaigning you’ll do four 6 hour ones. Shops and logistics place some of their shifts setting up before and closing down after the festival, but pretty much follow a similar pattern to stewarding and campaigning.

Stewarding shifts usually include one night shift (full disclosure), if you’re volunteering with a friend you can request them as your shift partner in your application, and the times and tasks of your shift will be told to you at an on-site briefing. There’s also a very active shift swapping board available in our Oxfam marquee, so if you’re desperate to see a particular band you don’t have to stick to the shifts you’re given. If you choose to campaign all your shifts will be in the middle of the day, so no shift swapping and shift partners are decided on-site. Both roles also involve a small amount of training before arriving at the festival. For stewarding this will be a couple of hours online or face-to-face, and for campaigning it will be reading up on the campaign and other information in your pre-season emails – easy-peasy.

Stewards finding the coolest spot to sleep off the night shift during one of this summer’s scorchers – Photo Credit: Jo Sherwood/Oxfam

Q3: What will I get out of volunteering with Oxfam?

A: As far as pros go not only is your entry free, just having to pay a deposit, but you can roll on this deposit to other festivals meaning you can do a whole summer of festivals for the deposit price of one. If you decide to do at least two festivals using this system then you also get another big pro of being on Oxfam’s priority list for Glastonbury next year, meaning you’ll be able to go without the hefty price tag and stress of refreshing for a ticket. Plus, on-site with Oxfam you’ll have access to plenty of festival luxuries including secure camping, free hot drinks, a meal token per shift worked, hot showers and phone charging – hallelujah!

Volunteering can also give a boost to your CV. If you’re interested in events management for instance then stewarding is advantageous in giving you an insight into how festivals operate. Stewarding also means that you are being put in a position of responsibility and working in a team, employable skills across the board. As a campaigner, you’ll learn how to deliver information effectively and how to confidentially approach and persuade new people. Again, these are skills that a lot of employers look for. Though most importantly, whilst you’re volunteering and boosting your CV, you’ll also be. At. A. Festival… Possibly the easiest and most enjoyable way to say you’ve volunteered – if you’re looking to boost your CV then why not do it whilst seeing your favourite artists?

Rubbing shoulders with the stars at Radio 1’s Signing Stage, another perk to volunteering with Oxfam Festivals – Photo Credit: Andria Hanson/Oxfam

Q4: Who is the typical Oxfam volunteer?

A: The great thing about going to a festival with Oxfam is that there is no typical volunteer. Aside from 18 being the minimum age requirement, there is a whole range of ages and backgrounds. From groups of students celebrating the end of exams to festival veterans who are back for their 75th go, Oxfam Festivals attracts all kinds of people. The ‘Oxfamily’ has a wide variety of members with one thing in common – the desire to have fun and do something positive. With this goal in mind, the Oxfamily are some of the most welcoming people you’ll ever meet. Meaning that even if you volunteer on your own, you’re likely to leave with plenty of new friends. If you want to read more about peoples’ experience with Oxfam and the Oxfamily as a festival first-timer, then you can take a look at our interview with 2 newbies.

Q5: When can I apply?

A: Applications are usually opened in the new year, but you can register your interest now so you don’t miss out on our opening date! Following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is also a handy way to ensure that you’re kept in the loop, and if you’re looking for more info on how to apply then take a look at this article for advice.

Snapped by an Oxfam volunteer at Glastonbury 2017 – Photo Credit: Kris Wright

Don’t let the rain get you down, register now and start planning your summer – its only 8 months, 1 week and 2 days away!

From the Field – Oxbox Out! 

Interviewing Festival First-Timers

Oxfam’s long-awaited summer of festivals has finally begun! With Common People completed, Download downloaded, and Bearded Theory grown, groomed and exquisitely styled into hazy, hairy memories, three festivals are down with twenty more to go – that means plenty more chances to get involved. But what is it really like going to a festival with Oxfam? What does being a campaigner or steward actually involve? To find out we chatted to Zara and Mike, Oxfam festival first-timers, about their experiences so far this summer.

Zara

Zara – First-time festival Campaigner at Common People and Download

So Zara, what can you tell me about the campaign this year?

Well, we kicked off really well at Common People then Download, and the campaign’s called ‘Water for Life’. We’re talking about Oxfam’s WASH work around the world and highlighting to festival-goers, who have to walk for water across the festival site, how hard it would be to walk 8000 steps a day just for water that’s often dirty. Getting them to stand in solidarity and spread the word for the one in ten that still have to do this by posting a picture of their shoes with our #stepsforwater and texting STEPS to 70066.

So Common People was a good start to the season then?

Yeah definitely, we had a glitter stand at our base, that was fun to chat people and engage them with the campaign whilst glittering them up. Being a campaigner you also volunteer for 6 hours in the day then get evenings off to enjoy the music together so that was great too!

What was campaigning at Download like in comparison?

Download was different because it was more of a roaming role which meant exploring the festival more in the day, though like Common People everyone was really lovely! Download’s also more my music taste, I loved Avenged Sevenfold and Guns and Roses, plus the amazing Oxfam shop that I managed to pick up some bargains at.

Download festival

Aside from being able to hear some great music and explore the shops, what would you say the biggest perk of campaigning is?

I like talking to people, and campaigning allows you to open up important conversations. The campaign this year is so relatable as well, everyone understands that water’s important, so it’s easy for a relaxed chat. Also, it really gives you the confidence to talk to anyone about anything, and about the great work that Oxfam does – so it’s a win win! The facilities and extras are of course fantastic too.

“The meal tokens and free coffee were certainly a big perk for me!”

Without a doubt, and with the campsite you know you’ll always have somewhere that’s sociable but still have a bit of your own space, and there are showers, and the toilets are nicer – they have toilet paper which is helpful if you’re like me and drop your wipes down the loo!

Which festivals coming up are you most excited about going to?

Reading! Fall Out Boy and Dua Lipa are playing so definitely Reading, 2000 Trees, but I’m also excited to try festivals that may not be my usual thing like WOMAD, I’ve heard really good things about WOMAD.

(Photo credit: Emma Carney)

Mike, Head of Festivals – First-time festival Steward at Bearded Theory

What kind of things did you do on shift?

On the first day I was helping people find their way into the festival, and then checking up on them in the campsite. The second shift was an overnight shift in a fire tower looking out across the campsite. Another role was Oxbox response, delivering tea and batteries, whatever people needed – there are loads of other things you can do like checking wristbands but the main thing is representing Oxfam by being friendly and providing a good experience.

What did you like best about stewarding?

The variety of the work and also the opportunity to meet some really interesting people, they’re just such a welcoming community that’s passionate about helping people and also about music.

So the being part of the Oxfamily was a highlight for you?

For sure, on your shift you all come together and you’re working as a team to ensure people are safe and having a good time in a fun environment, so I really enjoyed the team side of it all. Everyone’s so passionate about the job and enthusiastic to help. One of my favourite shifts was in Oxbox going and delivering tea, I went around with a trolley delivering tea on the night shift and I’ve never seen people look so happy about seeing someone, it was great.

Which festivals coming up are you most excited about going to?

I deliberately picked festivals that are quite different, I’m looking forward to Latitude that has a really good comedy line up and we’ll have the water tank to support our Water For Life campaign, then I’ll be going to NASS which has a bit of a skater crowd, then St Paul’s which is very different again, it’s a one day Afro-Caribbean festival – so I’m looking forward to them all really!

Chatting with Zara and Mike, what became clear was how being part of a community like the Oxfamily keeps you coming back for more. What also stood out was the variety of ways to be a part of this community. Whether you feel your calling’s as a steward or campaigner, can’t wait to skate this way to RUN DMC at NASS, discover new underground bands at 2000 Trees, or embrace the wonderful world music festival of WOMAD – the Oxfamily will have a festival for you!

From the Field, Oxbox out!