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Churches Offered Volunteers For Bayside

Bayside 4

10:32am 10th August 2012

It's emerged that churches in Weymouth and Portland offered to supply 300 volunteers to help keep Bayside Festival going.

The festival closed last Friday due to poor attendance.

Church volunteers rallied round to offer support to angry store holders who'd paid for pitches and lost money.

Activities which the churches were laying on as part of Bayside were also cancelled.

Refresh2012, set up by local churches to provide activities, youth events and exhibitions during the Olympic sailing events, was also affected by the closure. They had provided Bedouin tents on the festival site, with a quiet zone for visitors to relax and have hand or foot massages.

Mrs Douglas said, "We've now had to hire a replacement tent which we're hoping to put up in the town centre. It's going to cost us an extra £500 and we have no idea at the moment where we're going to get the money. But we're going ahead in faith."

The Festival had attracted 17,000 fewer visitors in the first three days than forecast. Festival organisers Mainsail Ltd had reduced the admission price and numbers had begun to increase. Refresh2012 contacted Mainsail Ltd and the borough council on Friday, offering a team of 300 local church volunteers to run the site and keep it going, but the decision was taken to close the Festival.

The Bishop of Sherborne, Dr Graham Kings, said, "This impressive response is a classic example of the way churches can offer practical help. Congratulations to all the denominations who pulled together at this difficult time to make a real difference to Weymouth and Portland."

County Ecumenical Officer Val Potter said, "Such an offer of help simply would not have been possible for one church to make. Churches Together in Dorset exists to enable this kind of teamwork and this is exactly the kind of response we had in mind."

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