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Paul’s Story

My experiences of involvement with No5 was in the early days at Sackville Street. I recall my first, and only, attendance at Reading Pop Festival in 1973 was as a volunteer member of the team manning the No5 Help Tent. We handed out slips of paper advertising what was on offer at the Tent. Our most useful purpose seemed to be as minders for young people who had taken too many drugs on the way to the Festival and had become an unwanted burden for their friends. Who were delighted to find us ready to look after their inebriated semiconscious liabilities. It was quite a serious responsibility deciding if and when to involve medics, I think we were grateful of the advice of the St John Ambulance volunteers who were also on site. I remember one lad asking what all the little lights were flashing on the ground – reflections off discarded Coke cans!
It was also through No5 and the fact that I had done a Reading University course on ‘Working with Young people’ that I had been introduced to ‘Non Directive Counselling’. Pairs of volunteers were asked to go to a local school to meet a group of pupils with the object to get them talking to each other about anything they chose – sounded easy enough – but not being a particularly confident outgoing personality I have to say I found it quite an embarrassing experience which I am sure was all too apparent to the participants much to their amusement!

Date of Memory: 1973