Spotlight on.. OUR VOLUNTEERS

This month, we have decided to Spotlight on.. some of our incredible Margate Pride volunteers. Each year, we have a troupe of brilliant humans who give their time to help us out as things get busier and more hands are needed. Without them, Margate Pride would be impossible. 

With 2024s Margate Pride Festival fast approaching, we spoke to Rosie, Em & Rachael about their experiences volunteering with us.


Rosie (she/her) moved to Broadstairs when she was a teenager and after years working abroad in disaster relief has found a home in Margate and works for a small charity in Canterbury. When not at work, Rosie can be found at a minigolf course or snuggled up with her newly adopted cats Squid & Elba.


Em (they/them) works in data visualisation and also makes picturebooks for children. Outside of work they love to sing and are part of Margate’s Social Singing Choir.


Rachael (she/her) is a mum of two boys and a plant Mum of 140, living in Margate from Canterbury. She works as a childminder, eats cake at least once a week for breakfast and is very crafty (knitting, sewing, baking, learning to crochet).

Tell us a little about your first Margate Pride experience? 


ROSIE : I would say my first proper Margate Pride experience was Pride day in 2023. I came out in 2022 when I was 31 and spent that year making connections with queer people in Margate and finding my place in this community. Pride 2023 was joyful! There’s not much more to say than that, I look back on it and often cry (especially when watching the Margate Pride film from that year!). There’s nothing more magnificent than seeing people be able to be their most authentic self and be celebrated wholeheartedly. The duality of joy and protest is beautifully powerful and something that Margate Pride is able to capture so perfectly.


EM: My first Margate Pride was the insanely hot one in 2022. I started out first thing helping set up the Oval with all the gorgeous decorations that have been made by volunteers over the years and then headed home at lunchtime to change and get back in time for all the performances in the afternoon. When the march walked around the corner at the Turner gallery, I could see the whole seafront packed with people and banners and I choked up with tears. I felt so proud to be part of this community.


RACHAEL: I’d never attended a Pride Event, but 2023 was my year of FIRSTS – turning 40 in December 2023.

What inspired you to volunteer for Margate Pride? 


ROSIE: Having lived in Thanet since I was 16, I can say with confidence that the work Margate Pride has put in over the years, day in day out (not just on the second weekend in August), has contributed greatly to the sense of safety and comfort that queer people have found in Margate. To be able to be a part of this work and facilitate growth within the organisation due to support from volunteers is a huge privilege for me and a way of thanking Margate Pride for its advocacy and contributions to the community. It meant that the exploration of my sexuality as an adult felt both equally safe and liberating, which I’m fully aware is far from the reality for a lot of people. Something that Margate Pride is working hard to change through its programming year round.


EM: In my data visualisation work I help people share stories from their data. It’s pretty niche, but it helped me spot something I could do to help support Margate Pride. I knew they were getting fabulous feedback from the community, but I wasn’t seeing those results in a way that was easily accessible. So I reached out to the Margate Pride team and offered to volunteer my skills and we worked together to create the survey feedback graphics that came out earlier this year.


RACHAEL: I felt it was extremely important to represent Early Years and the promotion of an inclusive environment. I need EVERY child, parent, family member and friend of the setting to feel nothing but safety and acceptance. Huge part of my pedagogy and therefore curriculum is our local community and you can’t talk about Margs Community without talking about PRIDE. And as a Mum to two boys they also need to know they and their friends are loved and always welcome in my space. And who doesn’t love a little bit sparkle!

What have been any specific challenges or joys of your volunteering?


ROSIE: I’m just stepping into this role but from my experience within the volunteer/ non-profit sector I would say that a challenge is the current perception of volunteering. Volunteering has been seen as a privileged thing to do; you have to have not only the time to give but also be in the position where that time can be spent on doing something for free. For me, I want to break down the barriers to make sure that volunteering can be accessible to anyone and everyone. Time is precious so if you can only give 2 hours in a month, let’s find a way to make it work. As for joys, I know there’ll be plenty to come. I can’t wait to connect more with our community and inspire people to volunteer and support Margate Pride year on year.


EM: It was incredibly satisfying to use my skills to support an organisation that means so much to me, and working with the team to create these graphics meant I really got to understand much more about how everything comes together and add just a little bit to the amazing work everyone does. It left me even more impressed by what the Pride team deliver on mostly volunteer resources.


RACHAEL: My biggest joy was getting to see all my families past and present attending the event and even cheering at me along the parade! I felt pride for lack of a better word that I am making a difference in my small part of the world. 

The utter peace and safety I felt as a volunteer I have not felt at any other event before – it was rather euphoric. And despite being very busy, every single person there exuded love and fun and I didn’t feel at all intimidated. 

The only challenge was wanting to watch ALL the speakers and shows whilst being engaged scanning tickets lol! But my goodness, the pleasure of making every single soul welcome was a highlight! 

What would you say to anyone thinking of volunteering?


ROSIE: Reach out to me! Let’s have a chat and see how we can engage you with Margate Pride’s work. Volunteering is powerful; the act of showing up for a community and giving your time to a cause/ project/ event has a positive ripple effect and we all know how desperately that is needed. Volunteering is about collective action and engagement so I’m not looking to fill roles or positions, I’m looking to build a community of wonderful humans that want to support and empower. 


EM: If you have skills that might benefit Margate Pride, go ahead and reach out to the team! They might not think to ask for volunteers in that area, especially if your skills are very particular, but it doesn’t mean they won’t be enthusiastically received.


RACHAEL: Do not hesitate – such bloody good fun and the team make you feel seen, heard and accommodated. You can’t moan about your community and where you live if you aren’t putting in the enthusiasm or effort to support it. 



ROSIE: It’s an ‘almost-summer’ weekend and it starts with a run along the coastline with some ‘Queer Run Margate’ friends and hopefully their pups! Then I meet with my girlfriend Ellie and we walk along the seafront down into Margate, heading in the direction of an iced coffee and some form of snack before sitting by the sea for a while, hopefully faces to the sun. Next on the list is Strokes mini golf (anyone who knows me… knows…) and everyone is welcome! I’m sorry but I will never not get excited over a hole in one and to me, minigolf is the perfect wholesome activity. Late afternoon, after pottering about town, seeing lots of friendly, familiar faces and checking out whichever event or exhibition is on at the time, we grab an ice cream from Ramsey and Williams and meet friends on the steps to enjoy frozen margaritas from Little Swift as the sun sets. We’re surrounded by love, laughter and joy and feel utterly content. I’m so lucky to say that I often get to enjoy my ‘ideal Margate day’ which is why Margate is home… The only way to top it would be to throw in one of CAMPs ridiculous Monday night quizzes or a night at Margate Arts Club!


EM: My favourite Margate day would definitely involve a sunset run and swim, and then hanging out on the beach, sharing stories and songs with friends by the light of a fire.


RACHAEL: I love the beach in the “crappy” weather, looking for sea glass, chips and a hot chocolate to warm back up. Blowing away the cobwebs is my ideal day in Margate.

If you’d be interested in volunteering with Margate Pride this year, please see our Volunteer hub on the Margate Pride website. And keep a look out for our Volunteer Drop ins & Queer Socials on our Social Media.


Find our volunteers on Instagram 


Rosie @rosebartlett_ 

Em @em.cosh

Rachael @home_from_homechildminding