Clean loos, cheese on toast, hot and cold drinks, phone charging and a warm welcome were offered to Reading Festival fans by a Caversham church over the bank holiday weekend.
Sitting on a roundabout close to the entrance of the Festival, the Baptist church in South Street has been opening its doors to the muddy welly-wearing music fans for more than 10 years and the church members look forward to the annual invasion of the great unwashed.
On entering the church, visitors are given a warm welcome and invited to the kitchen area where fresh melon slices nestle alongside chocolate bars and packets of crisps. A team in the kitchen are busy preparing simple hot meals including freshly made cheese on toast, beans on toast all served to the table.
A table is packed with phone charging leads of every hue and flavour. Phones are simply plugged in and charged up.
In the church itself, there is a table offering tea, proper coffee and biscuits. Tables are chairs lie around so people can relax before going back to the festival site.
A series of portaloos for men are installed in the car park so that the interior toilets can be used by women.
Everything it offers to Festivalgoers is free – although they welcome donations.
Suea, a member of Caversham Baptist Church who has organised the weekend, says it all came about by chance.
“The original people who did they started it because they were in Iceland [in Caversham’s main shopping precinct].
“They came out and there was this long queue into the car park and went right the way down to the road. They asked people what they were queuing for – the toilets.
“And they said to themselves we’ve got toilets in the church, why don’t we open it?”
So they did and from a single day, the church now opens all weekend from 9.30am to 2pm.
“It started with a few sandwiches and biscuits and its grown through the years,” Suea added.
The church prides itself on what it offers people, including the clean loos.
“[We have] spotless toilets – even the youngsters comment on that,” Suea said. “We have four portaloos in the car park and the gents is just for the ladies. And they are well used.”
The open door is now a staple for many festivalgoers and many enjoy it so much they don’t want to leave when the service stops at 2pm.
“Yesterday we had to ask them to leave,” she laughs, warmly. “It doesn’t matter, it’s lovely, it’s lovely,” she adds, making it clear that they are very welcome.
“It’s time to sit there talking, they can charge their phone – I understand that on site it’s very expensive – it’s free here. We do not charge for anything.”
Last modified on Sunday, 24 August 2014 12:48