Work In Their Shoes with Sophie - Events Team

06 August 2019

Hello! I’m Sophie, and I work in the Marketing Team at Demelza. My role is to share the wonderful goings on here, from children, families, volunteers, fundraisers and more. I find it a real privilege to get to know the people of #TeamDemelza, as everyone comes with a unique story.

This year, inspired by our #NewYearNewYou campaign, I set myself a challenge to spend a day every month with one of the many teams that make up our organisation. Through a programme we have for staff called ‘Work in Their Shoes’, I’ll be showing you the many different facets it takes to make up Demelza as a whole, and recording it in a vlog.

Like many people, I will only tolerate having to set an alarm for three o’clock in the morning if it’s because I’m heading to the airport to go on holiday. My multiple alarms set for one Sunday in July weren’t for a flight however, but an equally thrilling journey in a Luton van to Avery Hill Park in Greenwich; the site for our London Bubble Rush event; a 5k fun run through multicoloured bubble stations. At 4am I met Kat and Beth from our fab Events Team and we travelled up together, seeing in the dawn somewhere between the M2 and the A2, Jammie Dodgers (a.k.a. The Best Biscuits On The Planet™) close to hand.

Our first challenge of the day met us before we’d even left the vehicle, as we discovered the key we’d been provided to gain access wasn’t the right fit, but we soon managed to solve the puzzle by trying another gate, and then we were in!

On paper, getting up in the wee small hours on a Sunday to put up gazebos in the rain sounds like a miserable prospect, but there was a real buzz in the air seeing all the equipment get unloaded from the van and transform into an events village that would soon be bursting with music, colour and hundreds of families.

Once we’d put up enough gazebos to shelter under, we had a quick break for a McDonald’s breakfast and continued with the set up. Other staff and volunteers began arriving to lend a hand and we were given a team briefing by Kat so we were prepared for all eventualities, ready to get in position for our individually assigned roles. The Events Team really do think of everything – something that comes with learning from their years of experience. There will always be something to surprise us, like the missing pink scooter I managed to track down!

My role for the day was to be one of the event runners, which meant I was available to step in and help if anyone needed some logistical support. I had a radio with earpiece and was trained on the proper protocol and etiquette for the airwaves. We had eyes and ears all over the park which helped us respond to questions and challenges quickly and smoothly. It would be easy to spend the day in fear of something going horribly wrong, but the team were so well prepared that it was reassuring to see everyone helping each other and working so dynamically.

Once everything (and everybody) was in place, we were ready to welcome our guests and give them the full experience, from warm ups and entertainment to sweatbands and coffee, before getting the first wave ready to go through the bubbles! I was called over to help manage the flow through the start gate, as safety is always our most important priority. There’s something about the bubbles which delighted all ages, and they couldn’t wait to get in and cover each other with the foam until actress Sally Lindsay started them off to the sweet, sweet sound of an air horn. I would like to note at this point that during the Bubble Rush in Mote Park two weeks prior, I was lucky enough to be standing on the starting platform with actor Harry Reid and our very own Chief Executive, Ryan Campbell – who had charge of the air horn – and proceeded to blow it with gusto in my direction. Thanks Ryan!

I picked up various tasks throughout the day, running items hither and thither or scouting around for lost items. I went with Beth to check that the portaloos were in good clean working order and stocked with supplies – a dirty job, but with over 2,000 people on site it was a very important one!

The absolute highlight of the day for me had to be walking the opposite way around the route with Beth and high-fiving as many bubblers as we could – young and old - with our foam hands. It may sound like a load of giggles but there’s plenty of serious business too, like making sure we were periodically relieving stalls of cash and keeping it safe. Events like the Bubble Rush help us to raise the much-needed funds to continue providing care and support for children and families in our area. Overall, our Bubble Rush events this year have raised over £155,000 – which is an incredible amount and one we are all really proud of. As a charity, Demelza needs to raise more than £10 million every single year to keep supporting hundreds of families across Kent, East Sussex and South East London – 88% of which is generously donated by our local community.

By the end of the day I’d hit almost 30,000 steps on my fitness tracker – a score which Kat and Beth had both trumped me on. We packed up and made a couple of pit stops before parking the van back at Demelza Kent to be unloaded the next day. We were very, very tired, but very, very satisfied with another great event.

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Until next time,