Week 9 of Hull City Of Culture arrived with the new edition of two seasons – Roots&Routes and Freedom.
This year will be over before we know it [good reason why to get involved ASAP]
Week started off busy and exciting. And then I got bad cold. The cold drained me through the week, all the work commitments couldn’t wait, but I was hoping that the week 9 plan will go ahead.
And it did. I pulled through and went ahead with meeting two City Of Culture volunteers – Linda and Carol.
The reason why I asked Linda and her sister Carol was the enthusiasm and involvement in the year long celebration – City Of Culture. Not even that they volunteers – sisters are getting cultured on a weekly basis by attending numerous events.
It was in early stages of my challenge that I wanted to celebrate the army of volunteers, finding those who would like to share their story.
There are around 3,000 volunteers and 28 different types of volunteering roles. Volunteers and their colourful and beautiful uniforms across the city gives a good feel that we are all in it together, we are celebrating together.
I arranged to meet them in the Hull Paragon Interchange after their shift at The Blade.
Whilst waiting, for the first time I stepped my foot in to The Welcome Pod – its like a Hull City Of Culture rainbow full of information and a smiley face of a volunteer happy to help.
Linda and Carol where near the The Welcome Pod [not so secret meeting spot] waiting and we headed off for a chat.
We went into the nearest coffee shop and my plan was to sweeten them up before I start asking millions of questions.
Sisters are very lovely and chatty, we feel like we know each other for many years and the discussion around City Of Culture comes out really naturally – at the end of the day – we all work around City Of Culture out of true passion – not as an obligation.
Why did you get involved in volunteering for City Of Culture?
Linda: I went to the Place des Anges in Queens Gardens back in July and felt the pride and excitement for the upcoming year. I wanted to do something positive. Also – it is a once in a life opportunity.
Carol: The reason why I signed up to volunteer is because I am from Hull and I feel responsible to be welcoming and celebrate the good things about Hull. The year was promising and I wanted to be part of it.
What is the best thing about being Hull City Of Culture volunteer?
Carol: It is so amazing that we are part of it, so that for me is the best thing. The volunteers are well looked after – training is given, very flexible shift opportunities, no pressure and we get provided with uniforms.
Linda: It was the Made in Hull where I volunteered and I will never forget that feeling – seeing the pride in peoples faces. It was an uplifting feeling and all the negative comments made in media before the year started, was wiped away. We were proud to be from Hull and living in Hull.
And so many people from other parts of UK are coming just to see the events – wonderful feeling. And a lot visitors said that they would definitely like to come back to the city.
Carol: Another great thing is the opportunity to meet other volunteers. There are so many people along the way, everyone different – different background, story, area they come from.
Also, whilst volunteering you get to speak with different people from Hull – people that you wouldn’t meet otherwise.
Linda: I have noticed that being a City Of Culture volunteer and wearing the uniform gives me a boost and confidence to communicate with people.
Carol and Linda: We are finally seeing that people from other areas are changing the perception about Hull. We are no longer the underdogs of the North, we have something to offer – great platform for businesses, artists, education.
What is/was your favourite venue/place to volunteer?
Linda: Basil Kirchin festival. It was something different and I was able to meet interesting people, some of them artists. I also found out that Kirchin died at Dove House Hospice [Linda works in Dove House] and he had a great connection with the hospice.
Also the music genre was new to me. I really enjoyed it.
Carol: The Welcome Pod. You never know who is going to come and ask questions so I have to be ready to step out of my comfort zone and speak to people.
In your view, what legacy will 2017 leave for Hull?
Linda and Carol: PRIDE. Hull has always been a little shy, we are used to put ourselves down, but deep down we are proud that we are from Hull. Now things will definitely change.
Carol: This year gives the opportunity to find out more about the city we live in and we will continue to embrace it even when 2017 finishes.
Linda: It will be good for the economy – before Hull had to beg for businesses to come over, but things have changed now.
Hull has great platform for businesses, artists.
Carol: During 2017 people from Hull will have tried different things – for the future everyone will be more open-minded. The city will thrive.
Thirty minutes I spent with Linda and Carol made my day, my week.And I had that feeling again-proud.
It is quite funny – how many time I have written the word pride or proud in the 9 weeks I have been doing this..countless. Did we really needed the title “City Of Culture” to tell everyone how proud we are in Hull, about Hull.
Thank you Linda and Carol for spending time with me. Thank you for sharing your stories.
There was two other things on that day:
In House of Fraser you can find the Hull City Of Culture Merchandise Concession. You can get pretty much everything city of culture and it looks bright and colourful. Sean, who is managing the shop, is a great artist to talk with by the way..
Second: The Hull Paragon Interchange has its own fingerprints of Hull City Of Culture.