The Welfare Team
- John Newton is the head of participant welfare at Empire
- A member of the team is available on request throughout the day
Empire is a busy and exciting event, with lots of activity and situations that you may find unexpected or challenging. Some people, including those with ongoing mental health issues, may find themselves feeling overwhelmed, anxious or distressed.
If this happens to you, and you feel unable to cope, then please ask someone to help you find a member of our crew. As many of our crew are skilled at supporting others, the crew member you find may be able to help you themselves. If the first member of our crew you speak to cannot help you with your needs, they can contact the participant welfare team for assistance.
Our participant welfare team are a volunteer team that have experience or qualifications in psychotherapy, counselling and support. The team exists to help event participants who are unable to enjoy the event due to mental health issues or emotional distress.
When the participant welfare team get a radio call, a member of that team will come to wherever you are. They also have access to a private tent, in the OOC area, which they can take you to if that would be more helpful. Any conversation you have with a member of the participant welfare team may be regarded as confidential, shared only within the welfare team and with the Profound Decisions management team where required for duty of care. Information will only be shared with additional people with your permission, or where we are legally or ethically obliged to do so, for instance due to risk to yourself or another person.
If a member of the participant welfare team receives information that leads them to believe that a child or vulnerable adult is being neglected, abused or at risk of harm, then this will be reported to a member of the management team. Information about a missing child will be reported to the security team. Information about any participant who is at risk of serious harm will be reported to first aid and/or security, as appropriate. If anyone informs the participant welfare team that they have experienced behaviour that breaches our conduct rules, then they will be gently encouraged to make a report to the conduct team. If they do not wish to make an official complaint, then the participant welfare team may make an anonymous report on their behalf.
Although members of the participant welfare team are qualified in counselling and psychotherapy, their role at Empire does not aim to be therapeutic. You are not their client or patient. Their conversation with you will be closer to that of a crisis helpline volunteer or a good friend than that of a professional counsellor or psychotherapist.
The participant welfare team aims to assist you to move through any distress you may be experiencing, and to help you access resources that you can use to solve your problems and meet your needs. Their goal is for you to feel able to go back to enjoying the event again, quickly and smoothly. If that is not possible, and you need to go home, then they can call other teams to assist you in leaving the site.