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Volunteering FAQs

Application info

How do I apply to be a volunteer?

To apply to be a volunteer all you have to do is complete both the Application and Equal Opportunities Monitoring Forms.  New volunteers are required to complete a full application form, whereas a slightly shorter version is available for returners. Links to these online forms can be found on the website at nnfestival.org.uk/volunteer

PLEASE NOTE: Once you start this application form it cannot be saved to complete at a later date. Please make sure you have everything ready before you start, including (for new volunteers only) details of two referees. There are two long answer questions for new volunteers and one for returning volunteers. We suggest that you may want to prepare these answers in a separate word document and copy and paste them in to the application, should you be unable to complete the whole application in one sitting.

Can I apply to be a volunteer by submitting a CV?

We are unable to accept CVs in replacement of our Application Form due to the specific nature of the details required within the application.

I cannot fill in the online forms. What should I do?

Please try to complete the application and Equal Opportunities Monitoring forms online. You can use any computer or tablet including those in public areas such as the library, and you might be able to seek assistance from a friend or family member. We also have easy read applications available online; please use these if you are struggling with the standard forms. If you are unable to use these methods, please contact the Volunteer Coordinators on 01603 877750 or email volunteer@nnfestival.org.uk. We can either make an appointment for you to call the Festival offices in Tombland to complete your application here, or we can send you a paper version of the form.

When will I find out whether my application has been successful?

All applicants will be informed as to whether their application has been successful by 5.30 PM on Thursday 28 March.

Can I change aspects of my application form after I have submitted it?

Yes. Whilst there are certain sections of the Application Form that we wish for you to complete fully first time (such as the short statements, referees, etc.), you will have the option to update areas, such as role selections, should you wish to do so at a later stage. After you have been confirmed as a volunteer, you will be asked to provide us with a more accurate account of your availability during the Festival period.

When is the deadline for applications?

The deadline for volunteering applications is Monday 11 March, 9.30 AM.

I’ve missed the deadline – can I still submit an application?

Unfortunately, we are unable to accept applications after the deadline. However, if you would like to be considered for volunteering next year, do let us know your contact details and we will add you to our database. You will then be sent information in the New Year when volunteer recruitment for Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2020 is launched.

What happens next?

Everyone who submits a completed Application Form and Equal Opportunities Recruitment Monitoring Form will be invited to our ‘Speed Meet’ event to be held on Monday 18 March. Here we get a chance to meet you, and you have the opportunity to meet members of the Festival team and ask any questions you may have. This is a very important event to us, and forms part of our recruitment selection process. From previous experience, we know that the optimum number of volunteers working on any festival is around 120; if we receive a high volume of applications, we will use the information you provide and that which is gathered at the ‘Speed Meet’ to draw up a shortlist.

For those of you who are successful in your applications, there will also be a training and induction session in April, which will provide you with important background information and things to be aware of.  You will be informed as to whether or not you have been selected for the Volunteer Programme by Thursday 29 March, 5.30pm.

Important dates for your diary

Thursday 28 February Festival Programme Launch Event
Monday 4 March Volunteer Recruitment Event
Monday 18 March Volunteer Speedmeet
Thursday 28 March – 5.30pm You will be told whether your application has been successful.
Week Commencing 22 Monday – dates TBC Volunteer Training days
Sunday 28 April  – Tuesday 2 May Norfolk & Norwich Open Studio Central Taster Exhibition at The Forum
Friday 10 – Sunday 26 May Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2019

Availability

I have limited availability (due to work, etc.) and would only be able to volunteer outside of my other commitments. Does this stop me from being able to volunteer?

No, it doesn’t. The Festival aims to be as flexible as possible in understanding that all of our volunteers have individual commitments that they need to work around.

How many hours/shifts does a volunteer contribute to the festival?

The Festival tries to be as flexible as possible and understands that all of our volunteers have other commitments. We want to hear from everyone, no matter how much or little they feel they are able to contribute in terms of time.

When do I provide you with my availability for the Festival?

When you are confirmed as a Festival volunteer, we will ask you to complete a much more comprehensive account of your availability throughout the Festival period and potentially beforehand. Following this, we will put together a rota of volunteering shifts for you based on the information that you provide.

Please note that there will be a deadline by which to return your availability to us; it’s important for all volunteers to meet this deadline in order for the Volunteer Coordinators to begin scheduling.

I have full availability during the Festival. Does this mean that I will be given a lot of shifts?

Not necessarily; we try to give our volunteers a smaller amount of hours to begin with, on the basis that extra shifts will always become available throughout the Festival. Each volunteer is able to take on as many additional hours as they would like, particularly if they have chosen to place themselves on the ‘standby list’ within their application – these will be the first people we approach should a new shift become available.

What if my availability changes after I have provided it?

The Festival understands that many of our volunteers’ availability will change, and we simply ask that you inform us as soon as possible if you know that your current availability is not reflected in the information that we have.

Transport

I am interested in volunteering at events outside of the city, but I don’t have a car. Will transport be provided?

The Festival will always try to find ways in which to transport our volunteers to events they cannot get to themselves outside of the city, whether this be through coaches, public transport routes, car share, etc. However, though we will try, we cannot guarantee that this will always be possible.

Does the Festival reimburse travel expenses?

Unfortunately, the Festival is unable to reimburse travel expenses, unless you are volunteering as a Festival Driver.

If I work a late shift and finish volunteering after 11.30 pm at night, do I receive safe passage home?

In any role, the Festival is particularly mindful of volunteers completing shifts in remote locations and finishing beyond 11.30 pm; in these instances, we will endeavour to ensure that appropriate plans are in place to ensure the volunteer’s safety (buddying, etc.) upon completion of the shift.

Food and drink

Is food and drink provided whilst volunteers are on shift?

Yes – the Festival will provide water, fruit and snacks for you during your shifts volunteering with us. However, we are unable to provide full meals.

Does the Festival reimburse food expenses?

We are unable to reimburse expenses for any food or drinks bought. We ask that our volunteers prepare for their shifts and ensure that they have eaten before arrival in order to enjoy the time to the fullest extent.

Events and training

What is the ‘Speed Meet’ event?

The ‘Speed Meet’ this year will be held on Monday 18 March 2019, venue to be confirmed. There will be three time slots available to suit your availability, and we will fill these on a first come first served basis. You will receive an invitation to book your space at the Speed Meet once applications close.

The Volunteer ‘Speed Meet’ is a chance for us to meet all of this year’s volunteering applicants, and to give you the opportunity to meet members of the NNF team and previous volunteers who will be helping at the event and ask any questions you may have about specific roles. This is a very important event to us, and forms part of our recruitment selection process.

I am unable to attend the ‘Speed Meet’ event. Does this mean that I can’t volunteer?

You may still volunteer if you are unable to attend the ‘Speed Meet’; however, this event is also used to evaluate applicants’ suitability for certain roles. If you cannot attend, you may not be eligible to be selected for certain roles. The Volunteer Coordinators will endeavour to arrange a short telephone interview for those unable to attend the Speed Meet.

What training does the Festival provide for its volunteers?

All volunteers will be invited to a training session in the week commencing 22 April (dates to be confirmed); we view this session as a chance for all volunteers to feel fully prepared for the sort of experience they may have during their contribution to the Festival. Those who have previously volunteered for the Festival will be invited to attend ‘refresher’ training, whilst new volunteers will be provided with a more detailed session.

The sessions will ensure that volunteers understand the Festival and its aims, the volunteering experience (including a variety of possible scenarios and how they should be acted upon), as well as basic Health & Safety measures.

Will l be trained to look after members of the audience with disabilities?

The Festival will host events and performances at a variety of venues around Norfolk and Norwich, and we do our best to make them accessible to all. At the beginning of your shift you will be briefed on any information regarding accessibility at the venue, but of course, if you are unsure just ask your Event Manager or one of the Volunteer Coordinators.

What if I am unavailable to attend training? Does this mean that I can’t volunteer?

Ideally, all volunteers will be able to attend one of the training sessions provided. However, if you are unavailable for either date, then this does not mean that you cannot volunteer; we will find another way of ensuring you have access to the necessary material and knowledge to prepare yourself.

Volunteer Roles

Where can I find out what volunteering roles and opportunities the Festival offers?

You may read about our volunteering roles and opportunities within our Role Descriptions pack, available to download from the website at nnfestival.org.uk/volunteer

This should be used to inform your decisions when completing an application.

Additionally, at our Volunteer ‘Speed Meet’, you will have the chance to speak to members of the NNF team about particular roles of interest to you.

Can I undertake more than one role?

Yes; many of our volunteers choose to undertake more than one role during their experience contributing to the Festival.

I have submitted my application, but now wish to be considered for an additional role – am I too late?

If you decide at a later stage that you would additionally like to be considered for more roles than you originally indicated, let one of the Volunteer Coordinators know as soon as possible and they may adapt your application to reflect this.

If my application is successful, am I guaranteed the roles I selected?

Whilst the Festival will endeavour to ensure that all applicants are happy with their allocation of volunteering opportunities, we cannot guarantee that everyone will get to perform the roles they would prefer. Some of our volunteering roles have more limited spaces than others; all applicants’ suitability for individual roles will be assessed during the ‘Speed Meet’ event.

Do volunteer drivers use their own vehicles?

No. The Festival hires cars and vans for the duration of the Festival. You may have to use your own car or alternative transport to go to the hire company to pick up the hire car or vehicle for the Festival.

What sort of driving is required?

Festival drivers may be required to meet artists arriving at one of the four major London airports (LHR, GTW, STN, LTN) or to return them next day from their Norwich hotel to the airport for their return journey after their last performance. You will have a driving assistant to share the journey with. Also you may have to do a driving job to collect equipment from another location to bring to the festival. If you volunteer as a driver, you may be asked to be the driving assistant or do the main driver role. Any expenses for driving e.g. filling the vehicle up with fuel on return or a reasonable stop for refreshments will be reimbursed or indeed you may get a small cash “float” up front to do this.

Responsibility and assistance

How much responsibility will I be taking on whilst volunteering?

You will be invited to undertake full training and induction in preparation for volunteering, which will outline volunteer levels of responsibility; should any issue arise that you are not equipped, trained or comfortable in dealing with yourself, you should seek the assistance of the Event Manager or a member of the NNF team to resolve the situation.

For example, if a child is lost, or someone wishes to make a complaint, etc. these issues will not be down to you to resolve. Your training will cover how you should refer these types of situation to the appropriate person.

Performances

Will I be able to watch the performances at the events that I am volunteering at?

Whether you will be able to watch the performances at the event you are working at will depend on the nature of the volunteer role you have been allocated. In some cases you may miss the start and the end of a performance, but have the opportunity to watch the middle once it is under way. Other roles will require you to work behind the scenes; these roles offer the opportunity to see the Festival from a different and exciting perspective.

Can volunteers express preferences regarding which performances they wish to steward for?

We hope that all of our volunteers will be enthused about volunteering for the Festival generally, and will be open to new experiences and events that they may not otherwise have considered – you may be surprised!

We cannot take specific requests, due to the complexity of scheduling so many volunteers – whilst there is no harm in indicating your preferences, we cannot make any promises regarding which shifts you will be allocated.

Other

Are volunteers expected to be knowledgeable about ‘the arts’?

As a volunteer, you are a representative and advocate of the Festival and the general public may well ask you questions about it. We like our volunteers to have a good knowledge of the Festival programme and the events at which they are working, for their own confidence in working with people, but also to share this information with audiences and the general public. There will be plenty of chances to pick up a Festival brochure; reading this will provide you with all of the information you need!

Are there any restrictions regarding who can volunteer?

Our one and only restriction is that all applicants must be 18 years of age or older as at 1 April 2019 in order to volunteer with the Festival.

I’d like to talk to someone about volunteering. Who can I speak to?

The Volunteer Coordinators Sophie Abramovici and Daisy Jones are available to contact for any queries you may have on 01603877750 or via email at volunteer@nnfestival.org.uk. The Volunteer Programme is managed by Sophie Chapman-Smith – Volunteers Officer, who works closely with the Volunteer Coordinators to deliver the programme each year.

Sophie Chapman-Smith can be reached by phone on 01603877752 or via email at sophie.chapmansmith@nnfestival.org.uk.


Masthead image: © JMA Photography