Volunteers' Week: Experiences from a Forest Arts Centre volunteer

Volunteers' Week takes place from Monday 3 - Sunday 9 June 2024. At Hampshire Cultural Trust we have an extraordinary team of volunteers, who give their time, energy and passion in so many different ways, championing our venues and collections while creating a positive, welcoming and educational experience for our visitors. This week is the perfect time to recognise the fantastic contribution our volunteers make.

We spoke to Forest Arts Centre volunteer, Martin Page, who talks through his experience of volunteering at one of Hampshire Cultural Trust's arts centres.

How long have you been a volunteer for Hampshire Cultural Trust?

Two years. This is my first experience of volunteering, but it has been very positive and I am now thinking about volunteering in an additional role somewhere else too, if I can find the time.

Every day is different when volunteering at Forest Arts Centre!

What do you like about volunteering?

I can combine a personal interest with a feeling of doing something useful. Having worked in theatre, I love live productions. I previously spent five years working in stage management at theatres across the country. Some of the more interesting productions I worked on were a small scale tour of a play by Joe Orton at The Royal Opera in Manchester and at Covent Garden, a national tour of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, ending with a run in the West End. I also worked on a couple of pantomimes, one in Inverness and one down the road at the Kings Theatre in Southsea.

What is your favourite space here?

The main auditorium. I love being in live performance spaces, they have a very special atmosphere.

What are your favourite events at Forest Arts Centre?

That's very hard to answer as I enjoy such a wide variety of events here. I particularly enjoy the poetry evenings. They are small and low-key but also very friendly and inclusive. They have even persuaded me to read a few poems on occasion.

What is your favourite item at the café?

The hot chocolate, of course!

Martin enjoys giving something back to the community by working at one of our arts centres.

What is your favourite Hampshire Cultural Trust venue, besides Forest Arts Centre?

The Arc in Winchester  - it’s such a great, bright and airy space. I also enjoy the exhibitions there. Most recently I went to see the Grayson Perry tapestry exhibition. I was very impressed with how it was staged, and the supporting information gave a real insight into the tapestries. The story, as read by Grayson Perry, was quite moving and it was fascinating picking out all the events described in the tapestries.

What impact does volunteering have on the local community?

I hope that I have made a positive impact at Forest Arts Centre and believe that by showing a welcoming face to visitors I am adding to their experience. We had an event a few months ago when the local mayor came in an official capacity. Chatting to him, he voiced his support for Forest Arts Centre and said how much he believed it is a valued resource for the community. This gives us the feeling that we are greatly appreciated.

Would you recommend volunteering for Hampshire Cultural Trust?

Of course, come and join us! We are always on the lookout for positive, adaptable people who are looking for a fulfilling way to give something back, locally. Volunteering here, you can contribute to your local community and maybe see some great shows. What’s not to like?

Interested in volunteering with Hampshire Cultural Trust? You can make a real difference to your local community and enrich your own life, too. Find out more here.

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