Spirit today announces its backing of the Edinburgh Festival City Volunteers programme, which is set to expand to include more locals being recruited and trained as cultural ambassadors.
Following a successful pilot in 2017, new funding from Spirit and the Big Lottery Fund Scotland means Edinburgh residents will be able to share their passion for their city and get behind-the-scenes of its diverse and exciting festivals.
The Festival City Volunteers programme began in 2017 to mark 70 years of Edinburgh as a Festival City. Forty participants from all over Edinburgh were involved in welcoming and assisting visitors, gaining certified training and developing confidence, experience and a range of skills. The programme will now expand to 120 volunteers for 2018, with ambitions to grow further in 2019.
"As a funder of other major events volunteering programmes including the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and Hull City of Culture 2017, we know the multiple benefits of such schemes,” said Spirit of 2012 Chief Executive Debbie Lye.
"Volunteers develop new skills and confidence, which boosts their physical and mental wellbeing, while the impact is also felt more widely in better-connected communities and a renewed sense of civic pride. Volunteering can transform towns and cities, which is why we’re very proud to support Edinburgh’s Festival City Volunteers programme.”
Last year’s volunteers, aged between 18 and 81, came from nine different countries and a range of wards across the city. The new programme will keep this mix of different social, ethnic and generational backgrounds, including communities and groups from across Edinburgh – many of whom may not currently be involved in the festivals.
"It’s fantastic that at least half the Festivals volunteers will come from communities that historically have faced barriers to their inclusion,” Debbie continued. “It is a way to connect people from all backgrounds and beliefs, and it democratises arts and culture – all of which will leave a lasting legacy of better connected, culturally and socially enriched communities across Edinburgh.”
To join the Festival City Volunteer programme 2018, click here.