Year of Volunteering campaign – Supporting young people into theatre

Melody has been volunteering with Minerva Arts’ youth theatre groups over the last four years to help aspiring performers follow their dreams.

The Year of Volunteering campaign, which is run by Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cheshire West Voluntary Action (CWVA), celebrates the great work volunteers do in the community and encourages others to take up volunteering.

September is Younger Volunteering Month, looking at the difference young people are making in their communities through volunteering.

Melody has been supporting Hollie, who leads the groups, with warm ups and activities, directing scenes, backstage tasks and designing props.

She said: “The best part of volunteering is feeling like I’ve made a difference, both to individuals and in a group creative performance. It gives my volunteering value.

“I enjoy helping small groups bring their creative ideas to life and encouraging young people to express themselves through theatre, learning more about who they are in a creative way and exploring their strengths and challenges.

“The pandemic has made it impossible for me to volunteer in such a practical environment, but I’d definitely encourage others to volunteer as it improves many skills that are so vital and valuable.

“My patience, communication and courage are now skills I’ve developed because of the experience I’ve had at Minerva.

“It has made me consider how important the community is, particularly for everyone to connect and work together.”

If you have a volunteering story you’d like to share so it can be used during the campaign, please email: enquiries@chesterva.org.uk. October is Older Volunteering Month and November is Business Volunteering and Trustee Month.

As part of the Year of Volunteering campaign, nominations are open for Volunteer Awards Month in December.

There are several different awards, such as Younger Volunteer of the Year, Older Volunteer of the Year, Inspirational Volunteer of the Year, Special Contribution to the COVID-19 Response and more.

The deadline for all nominations is 30 October. From 1 December, the Council and CWVA will be announcing the different winners daily and putting together stories to highlight all the great work they’ve been doing.

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