Brenda Dell tells us how about her experience as a Preston Guild volunteer, why she volunteers and how she has become one of the top 5 Guild Tweeters!Advertisement
How have you helped as a Guilder/how do you hope to help in future?
My work has involved, assisting at events, particularly giving information on forthcoming events, engaging others in participation, and welcoming visitors ensuring they know directions. etc. I’ve particularly enjoyed meeting prospective Guilders, helping them to feel at ease, and speaking to them about my experiences and the rewards of doing volunteer work.
I have attended Guilder monthly meetings which are a great way to keep in touch with new friends, as well as discover the latest news on forthcoming events. It has been a pleasure to take the minutes because the briefings are invaluable to us when we need such a store of information to be of valuable assistance.
My delight has been in watching the team under Stella Hall’s inspirational leadership develop such an astounding programme and like all the other Guilders I realise that our individual efforts to publicise events has amounted to a large and useful outlet for publicity. We are able to take fliers and the latest information into many useful locations around Preston. Obviously Facebook and Twitter are also useful tools for this and I am now in the top 5 of people tweeting about Preston Guild 2012.
There has also been plenty of office work in sending out post, publicity and preparing documents such as the Guild Key packs and the goody bags for the Corporate Games. It’s an excellent opportunity to keep in touch with other Guilders while working and they are a willing, friendly team. It has also been rewarding marshalling events because there has been so much goodwill from the general public and it is good to see public spirit in action.
It is good fun also to help other Guilders with events, which although not directly under the aegis of the Guild team, nevertheless, take a significant profile because they are community celebrations in Guild year.
How often do you volunteer?
At most major events, and opportunities to some of the tasks which are the infrastructure of preparation. So, out and about about 6 times a month at least, apart from all the other Guild work I’m involved in. I will be doing some of the necessary ringing round shortly as a break from calligraphy for the burgess certificates.
Why have you volunteered?
Working closely with members of the Guild team (particularly Stella) and observing their dedication I originally felt I could do no less than back them up to the hilt. Aware also as everyone is, how difficult a task it would be to establish a worthy Guild Festival in time of recession, I was compelled to work assiduously to help with this whole enterprise. The enterprise helped me! I found and used new skills, and a joy in undertaking a broader view than the brief of looking after what churches were organizing which is what had undertaken three and a half years ago. This festival continues to draw me in. It is captivating; hard work but fun. In my former professional life too, I loved working alongside young people and, as a bonus, there is a real joy now, working with students as well as people of all ages, offering a chance to get a different perspective on life.
As a Prestonian, born and bred, and now enjoying my fourth Guild, I realise the value of the Guild in heritage, memory and identification. The uniqueness of this celebration and the civic pride it engenders is obvious to anyone who looks at image of Guild gone by. Moreover, today’s arts and culture scene is at the heart of urban regeneration instilling vibrancy, hope and enthusiasm into everyone who observes. In this period of recession this is a golden opportunity to raise spirits, give heart to the dispirited, and stir people into activity. There is a place for everyone no matter how small the involvement, and a real chance that fragile communities grow into the engaging and skilful teams. such high profile celebration offers a chance to marvel and feel grateful, as well widening the vision and involvement of so many of us.
In particular, the Guild affords a chance in 2012 to shape the character of our city, branding it as welcoming, open, thriving and vibrant community. Enthusiasm is catching. I feel I am contributing by raising my civic awareness and responsibility, and I am so proud of my heritage, and fond of the people I work with. It has bee inspirational working alongside our Guild team.
What is your favourite memory from volunteering?
It has to be The Preston Passion. I say this obviously as a performer, and also as viewer because the whole programme exceeded expectations. The screen writing was sensitive and thought provoking, the films emotional and challenging, and the movement, much of which wasn’t shown, inspirational and focussed. The work with the professionals and the team amounted to an intense experience which has to reign supreme amidst such events as even the launch of the Cultural Olympiad with the Global Rainbow, and the Guild taster evening in 2011. In fact it probably outstrips everything apart from giving birth to my children.
What do you like to do with your time besides volunteering for the Guild?
Apart from Guilder work, I have and am working on prime Guild events. A particular brief was The Preston Passion over the course of more than 2 years, and then as a performer for the broadcast. I am also part of the churches’ core team which is putting on twelve headline events over the course of the year, and I produced the Guild prayer and the churches’ calendar of Guild events. My specific role has been to engage churches in participating in both the Passion and the procession, resulting in 79 churches now contributing. This involved several presentations, lately along with a member of the Guild team, and speaking at business functions as well as preparing workshops.
Otherwise I work as part of the team at Covenant Books and am a member of Preston Speakers Club. Of course family and grandchildren keep me busy too.
What would you say to persuade others to volunteer?
Give it a go. You will discover untold of ways this is rewarding. You will broaden your skills, and work alongside people of different ages and backgrounds. You will certainly make new friends. And all this, alongside being part of a thriving and enthusiastic team who will do you yourself a power of good. In later years you will look back on this opportunity with thankfulness, and with pride that you have helped to shape our city.
What are you looking forward to the most over the next year?
Many events to date have already been outstanding, but I look forward to the particular excitement of the September main part of our festival. The buzz and bonhomie we always experience here is something special for the memory bank, and it is amazing how catching this is. Knowing the magnitude of our festival in 2012 we have an exciting time ahead. Thank you to Stella and all the Guild team for such intensive endeavour and creativity in bringing such aspirational activity to Preston.