“I finished my Masters in January 2023 and I wanted to get more work experience. I live in Cumbria and spent a lot of time on Google, searching for volunteering in the arts and heritage sector and Helping Hands came up with an amazing list of all the places I would love to volunteer at. Prism Arts is right on my doorstep and I am really interested in disability art so this was the perfect opportunity. Throughout my education I wasn’t able to get a lot of hands-on experience that I need to get into the arts jobs that I am interested in and volunteering is the best way of doing that.
My role at Prism Arts is Volunteer Arts Facilitator, which means I mooch around the workshops in the studio room and ask people about what they are doing and give them a hand if they don’t quite understand the task. I also get to talk them through what they are doing and generally give them ideas and it is really good to be hands-on with people”.
“I also volunteer at Tullie so I volunteer at PrismArts on a Monday and Tullie on a Wednesday. At Tullie I work mostly with art and I find there is a lot of connection between the two venues; all of the arts organisations do tend to stick together.”
“The skills I have acquired through volunteering have been really practical. My education was very knowledge based and focused on myself but at Prism Arts I help other people with their artistic identity. There’s a lot of hands-on practical work where I guide them through things or get to hear about what people are doing and it’s a really great creative process for them and me. I really like that aspect of volunteering and there’s a lot of teaching involved as well, which I think will be very applicable to the places I am interested in, in the future.
The benefits for volunteering are really getting that foot in the door to then build up career opportunities. It also helps my mind, it’s really nice to know that every week I have a structure of places to go to and it’s something I really enjoy doing. I really love coming to Prism Arts, it is probably the best time of my week. Alongside my volunteering at Tullie, I feel like I am really invested in the culture of Carlisle and volunteering with Helping Hands has really helped me to build that confidence, giving me the skills I need to get a job in the arts”.
“My experience of Helping Hands has been amazing, it feels like everything has happened really quickly and I have got stuck in straight away volunteering and getting experience in something I really wanted to. I have also discovered organisations here in Cumbria that I didn’t necessarily know about before. It was really easy to volunteer with Helping Hands because all of the information is presented to you, all you need to do is reach out to Helping Hands, tell them what you are interested in and they have it all ready for you. I thought the website was especially clear so I could look through all the different organisations that aligned with what I was interested in. I have also been given support through my volunteer lead to talk through the opportunities and what I want to do in the future and I really feel that I have been guided into what I am doing now. I feel really supported”.
“If anyone is considering volunteering, Helping Hands is a really, really brilliant way of doing it. Helping Hands takes away a lot of the pressure of not knowing if you can go to certain places. You have somebody to contact who helps you to access that world that you might not have thought you were able to and volunteering opens up so many amazing opportunities, helping you to understand yourself and what you are interested in”.