Vivacity, Peterborough’s culture and leisure charitable trust, has been managing many of the city’s most popular culture and leisure attractions on behalf of the council for several years now. Included in its portfolio are the Key Theatre, the museum, Flag Fen, Longthorpe Tower and the libraries and leisure centres. It also organises many of the annual festivals and other events that inject such life and variety into the local scene. However, doing so takes a lot of man – and woman – power, which is why the organisation is always on the lookout for volunteers
From just an hour or two a week through to a whole days, becoming a volunteer is a great way to get involved, meet new people, build confidence, learn new skills and enhance your CV. And, hopefully, enjoy yourself a great deal too.
Cara Baker is Vivacity’s volunteer development manager and takes up the story.
We have a need for volunteers across all our services in a number of different roles; we’ve currently got 300 that are helping us out, supporting us in everything we do
Ages range from 14 right the way through to the mid-80s at the moment, and Cara sees volunteering as a great way of getting new experience in a way that could lead to a job as well as the chance to interact with a broad mix of new people. “We also try to match volunteers with specific roles they’ll be interested in,” continues Cara. So if you’ve a yen for sports, history or the arts and everything associated with them then Vivacity probably has a role for you. People also get involved with festivals and major events such as the Great Eastern Run.
Our volunteers are absolutely invaluable for things like that; they simply wouldn’t happen without them
Stuart Meadows is one volunteer who started out just by doing website work, and has now expanded into doing paid employment as well. With an interest in sport, he progressed through to helping out with cycling for the disabled as well as teaching children with learning disabilities to swim.
I did just three hours a week. I think that if people put themselves forward, they might be worried that they have to commit to set hours per week. It’s not like that at all; it has been really been flexible, fitted around what I could do, and that’s helped me adhere to it. And when you find something you like, you can stick to it
Stuart has since moved onto football assisting and coaching, and has also been sent on training courses courtesy of Vivacity. “My CV now is massive compared to what it used to be,” says the former salesman. “I’ve done endless courses and lots of different things. They funded all these things for me, and it’s really opened up my skills. I would have never have done it all on my own. If anyone asked me about volunteering, I’d say definitely do it. For your own personal development it’s great, but it’s also a really friendly bunch I work with, and it’s helped me meet a lot of new people. Just do it.”
“The beauty of it too is that you can volunteer in sports for example, but if you then wanted to go off and try something in heritage or libraries, you can do,” sums up Cara. “You don’t have to stick with doing the same thing. And if you don’t like it, you can just go back to doing what you do like.”
The latest opportunities can be found on Twitter by following @VivacityVols or email: .
Alternatively, browse the website at www.vivacity-peterborough.com/vivacity/support-us/volunteering/