The benefits of volunteering equate to much more than a quantifiable monetary value… 

Take the Nantwich Food Festival. As foodie events go, it’s up there with the best in the country. This year, there is every chance that visitor numbers will top 50,000. That’s a lot of people packing the historic streets of one of Cheshire’s most beautiful market towns. Those food and drink lovers flock to Nantwich to sample produce from over 200 exhibitors. Alongside those stalls, music and dance, an ongoing display of culinary excellence keeps everyone entertained over three wonderful days in September.

Such festivals don’t run themselves. I’m lucky enough to have overlapped with the passionate committee that plans, organises and delivers a top-class three-day event each year. It’s a twelve-month operation, with hardly time to relax from one festival to another. They in turn draw upon the experience, dedication and resourcefulness of an amazing band of volunteers. They assist with crowd management, car parking, litter picking, health & safety issues, and generally helping to put a smile on the faces of those many visitors to Nantwich.

Nantwich Food Festival volunteers (4)

I can’t imagine any festival running without volunteers. The numbers just don’t stack up. If those willing assistants were paid the “going rate” you’d be talking tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of pounds to stage many events that we all love.

However, you can’t put a value on what else those volunteers bring to the party. The Nantwich Food Festival oozes community spirit, people from many walks of life are brought together, friendships are formed and developed.

Helping others and pulling together for the common good generates a feel-good factor that will never translate to a financial spreadsheet. The knock-on effects are felt by people, businesses and many not-for-profit organisations across Cheshire.

Nantwich Food Festival volunteers (3)

What I have witnessed in recent years is a cross-over of volunteering spirit. Those who have stepped forward at one event have, in many cases, also helped at displays, concerts and festivals across the Crewe and Nantwich area. There is a growing band of volunteers, and it’s infectious.

Still, like everything in life you can never sit back and become complacent. The Nantwich Food Festival continues to grow, and with that surge in foodie popularity comes a requirement for more selfless souls prepared to help for an hour, a morning or maybe across the whole weekend.

Now you can. On Monday 22 May, from 6.30pm until 8.30pm, anyone interested in helping this year is invited to attend a Volunteer Open Evening at the Wickstead Arms in Nantwich. Drinks and snacks will be provided, and there is no obligation to sign up. It’s a chance to meet the committee and others who have been involved before, to get a feel for what you could become part of.

If you would like information about volunteering, email volunteers@nantwichfoodfestival.co.uk

For information about this year’s Nantwich Food Festival visit www.nantwichfoodfestival.co.uk

Nantwich Food Festival volunteers (2)

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