Volunteers at a church in Prestwich who provided a safe haven for festival goers at Parklife this month have said they 'can’t wait to do it all again' after helping hundreds.

Heaton Park Methodist Church is just a stone’s throw away from one of the festival’s main entrances and every year sees many thousands of revellers walk past on their way to one of Manchester biggest events.

This year, the church got involved with the festival as a sanctuary space, offering a safe place for any festival-goer who needed it.

Having been in talks with organisers to use the church as a sanctuary since 2019, Heaton Park Methodist was finally able to open its doors to Parklife attendees this year.

The project comprised 22 volunteers from Heaton Park Methodist Church, as well as from other churches in the area and members of the public members who provided the event’s only 24-hour off site welfare provision.

Heaton Park Methodist Church’s minister, Rev Jez Hackett said, “Thanks to the willing volunteers of the church, the circuit, the district, and a number of other local churches we managed to put together a team that meant we could be open from 9am on the Saturday Morning, right the way through to Monday Morning.

“We also had a great prayer team that organised a rota to be praying for ourselves, the people we met and the festival itself.

“At the beginning of the weekend we had no idea what we were about to see, with the training we had sharing some “horror stories” of some of the extremes that they had seen in the past and telling us this was their largest and busiest festival of the year!”

The team did not encounter any of the horror stories they were warned about, and instead had lots of positive feedback from the people they met.

Across the weekend, the church saw around 350 young people come through its doors looking for a safe space to find friends, to wait for a lift home or to find a listening ear.

The church also served refreshments that Jez says were 'very well received'.

Rev Hackett said: “Some of the people we helped on the Saturday night stopped by on the Sunday to say thank you, some even tried to pay us.

“Throughout the two nights we lost count of those who told us how valuable and needed the work we were doing was.”

Rev Hackett recalled one memorable moment in which two girls returned to thank the church’s volunteers after they were able to find their friend after her phone ran out of battery.

He said: “We’ve already had so many positive comments from people we helped, the local community, the organisers, and the volunteers that we can’t wait to do it all again next year.

"Our hope is that these people, those we helped and those who saw us, will remember the church being there when they were in need and feel able to reach out next time they need to.

“We’d love to be part of someone’s story, ‘my first encounter with church was when I needed someone to help me at Parklife festival’."