Festival City Volunteers
In 2016, ahead of the Festival City’s 70th anniversary, a scoping study supported by the City of Edinburgh Council and EventScotland was carried out to explore the potential for the Festival City Volunteers initiative. The project proposed to build on the festivals’ community initiatives and offer opportunities for local residents to develop new skills and connections, and become advocates for Edinburgh during the summer festivals.
After the pilot year of 2017, it was agreed that the priority should be on specific gaps in mainstream festival volunteering opportunities, demonstrating how the Edinburgh Festivals can meaningfully connect more widely to offer inclusive opportunities. We decided to focus on smaller numbers of volunteers, and this prioritising of quality of engagement over increasing the volume of participants helped us to value and develop deeper and peoplecentred impacts with confidence and clarity.
By the end of August 2019, we had recruited, trained and deployed 254 volunteers who had completed at least 24 hours of volunteering each. Festival City Volunteers excelled at reflecting the intersectional communities of Edinburgh and became a truly original cultural experience which brought significant change to those involved. This report below shows, through the use of mixed method evaluation, how the Festival City Volunteers project developed to deliver on the project's people-led aims.