I’m a Business Analyst in Future Media Children’s, based at BBC North. Before July this year, I hadn’t taken part in a volunteering programme before, but when I noticed that the Manchester International Festival were looking for volunteers, I jumped at the chance.
After submitting a short application form, I was selected to go for an interview in March, and was subsequently accepted onto the programme. Then followed an induction session before I became one of over 400 official Festival volunteers – a small army!
The Manchester International Festival ran from 4-21 July 2013, and is a biennial festival that started in 2007. It showcases new commissions and world premieres in the performing arts, visual arts and popular culture. What attracted me to volunteering for this specific festival was how it really puts Manchester in the spotlight. After moving to Manchester 5 years ago and found myself instantly loving it, I saw it as an opportunity to share with visitors my passion for the city I now call home. Many of the visitors came from outside of the city, a number of them even coming from outside of the UK to see what the Festival has to offer.
The experience was more than I could have wished for. I was able to get a real insight into production management in the arts and discover what it takes to put on a show that attracts the attention of the world. Alongside stewarding and front of house duties, I was often acting as the face of the festival, speaking to visitors at the Festival Hub and telling them about Manchester, the festival and the plethora of events going on.
The visitors I spoke to were really interested in how I became a volunteer, so I was proud to be able to talk about my role at BBC North and all the outreach work they do in the local community.
During the festival, I was very lucky to see some of the productions and meet some wonderful people. Many of my fellow volunteers had done schemes like this before, and could only speak volumes of the opportunities they have had as a result. An added bonus was the support of a brilliant and enthusiastic volunteering co-ordination team, which meant the whole festival went without a hitch.
Being part of a team helping to make people smile is very rewarding indeed, so I’ll definitely be looking for more volunteering opportunities in the future!
*BBC staff volunteers support activities and organisations throughout the UK, allowing them to develop and share a wide range of skills that not only help them in their career development but also bring them closer to our audiences.