- Issue 3
Alan Surtees, founder of Shrewsbury Folk Festival, states the case for thinking charitably
Shrewsbury Folk Festival raises money to fund the music therapy service at Shropshire’s Hope House Children’s Hospice every year. In the past four years, our visitors have helped to raise more than £20,000.
But why do we do it? When the festival outgrew its former home in Bridgnorth and moved to the county town, we knew we wanted to put down roots and become part of the community of Shrewsbury. We already bring several million pounds into the local economy every August Bank Holiday weekend but that wasn’t enough for us. We thought long and hard about what kind of charity to support and deliberately chose something that has a link to our event.
Music plays a hugely important part in creating a fantastic weekend for 7,000 people at the West Mid Showground over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
And when we discovered how important music therapy was in helping children with life limiting-illnesses at the hospice, we knew that was the natural match.
We donate £1 from every weekend ticket sold to Hope House and on one afternoon, volunteers come and collect.
This year we will be asking for donations to charge mobile phones that will also go to Hope House. The charity also has a stall at the festival every year so people can find out a little more about their work.
You might think that you don’t have time to get your business involved with a charity – but it doesn’t take much. Simple measures like buying charity Christmas cards, donating staff time to a charity project, supporting events such as coffee mornings, dress-down days and bake sales all help.
The festival is a business like any other and needs to make money to provide the standard of event that we do. But we don’t need to be a faceless corporation – supporting a charity is a extension of the kind of ethos and warm feeling we want people to experience when they come to Shrewsbury Folk Festival.
It doesn’t have to be all about money or grand gestures; it’s about doing your bit to make a difference in the community.