Why Volunteer?

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With Eleven Arches gearing up for their highly anticipated launch of Season 2’s television advert and their first open day for new enrolment of volunteers, I thought I would take a trip down memory lane for an article I was proud to write for The Official Tourism Website for Durham, This is Durham in July of this year.

For any new volunteers it will give you an insight to what we have experienced so far and hopefully for anyone who still isn’t quite sure whether Kynren is for them or not, this might just help them make their minds up.

‘When the news broke in 2015 that ‘Kynren’ was coming to Bishop Auckland I was delighted for my town, but I had no real idea of what it all meant or what was to come.

Eleven Arches (the organisation behind the show) arranged an open day in the town centre to find out more information and register to become a volunteer.

What I didn’t realise at the time was they needed everyone to make the show come off.

They needed the support of the town, the people who lived and worked there, and others from across the region if their ambitions were to become a reality.

Hundreds of people gave up their free time to be involved in this project but I was still on the fence, but a few weeks later, (after seeing the advert on TV) I eventually signed up to Eleven Arches ‘Kynren’ project, joining hundreds of recently recruited volunteers from the local area.

I wanted first and foremost to give back to the town, as nothing can automatically grow without nurturing it, and as residents it’s always important to give something back to the area you live in to encourage growth and sustainability.

The advert took me by surprise – could this really all take place in my hometown of Bishop Auckland? 

From November to the end of June, the project has been like a whirlwind, the time has flown over, for me and the rest of the volunteers in the Experience team we have had a number of various training sessions and procedures training to contend with, each one just as enjoyable and as interesting as the last.

We are all now World Host Training Certified, the same qualification that was used in the customer care for the London Olympics in 2012.

We have trained with Let’s Circus in a number of different workshops  building on our confidence, delivery and entertainment skills.

The volunteers in the Experience team are commonly known as the face of Kynren; we are responsible for meeting and greeting all the visitors to the site, welcoming each with big smiles and are always happy to help and assist.

The first show…

For me, a volunteer, the first show couldn’t of gone any better; it’s what every single volunteer has been working towards for many months, many hours of training in various applications, for this one date, Saturday 2nd July.

It was great to work alongside my new friends who were once just strangers in a room, and feeling like I had contributed to this spectacular show that visitors were enjoying in their thousands.

The opening night started with a steady stream of eagerly anticipated visitors arriving 30 minutes before the gates opened hoping to be the first to get a glimpse on what Kynren has to offer.

From the spectacular views leading to not only the site but the surrounding countryside is a view to be seen and not read about.

I had the role of welcoming all pedestrian visitors walking from nearby car parks over the actual Eleven Arches of the Newton Cap viaduct into site, from locals to visitors far and wide it was an absolute joy to be in that position, a position that I will look forward to this Saturday and every show thereafter.

Many of the visitors were locals, but there were people from all over the UK and beyond, and I’m certain that Kynren will bring even more people into the county as it grows.

I met people from Finland, Canada, America, India, France, New Zealand and Venezuela on that opening night!

So to the show, from my vantage point I didn’t have the luxury of seeing it, those eyes were strictly reserved for every VIP who sits on every single one of the 8,000 seats within the tribune.

From what I do know and from what I have seen in some of the rehearsals I already know the show is outstanding, the early reviews/comments have been full of praise!

“The best show we have ever seen”

“It was amazing”

“Magnificent”

“We will be back”

From a volunteering basis all the comments and all the reviews are what we live for, it’s what drives us to keep performing to the levels that we are, it’s amazing to read a review, it’s incredible for someone to tell you in person.

The standing ovation given at the end of the first show to salute the cast of actors and dancers was highly deserved but the ovation is for all of us ‘Archers’, just as every comment received face to face are equally for everyone too.

What I have learnt is volunteering is so much more than just giving up your time to help a project or a charity in this case both, the personal rewards far outweigh whatever you put in.

Volunteering really does change your life, and how you value it too.

Teamwork makes this special, and every volunteer is as passionate about the project as the next one, you can see it in their eyes, you can see it in their smiles and most of all you can see it from their hearts.

Kynren is so much more than just a night show depicting 2,000 years of British history, it’s united a community, it’s given people hope, it’s creating long lasting friendships, it’s created something we are all proud of, it’s creating opportunities, and most of all it’s created the opportunity to meet you.”

This blog article was written by Andrew Corry on behalf of This is Durham published on 21st July, taken from their website:

http://www.thisisdurham.com/blog/july-2016/A-day-in-the-life-of-a-volunteer-at-Kynren

 

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