Vervacious Volunteers….


So Verve is over… hoo!

But what a fantastic weekend of events and spoken word excellence for everyone involved from the performers to the audiences, to the organisers and the Waterstones staff and the volunteers. If you attended any of the events during the 4 days you will know about the quality of the poets and spoken word artists and if you couldn’t make it then I can assure you that this was the Jersey cow, full-fat, double cream of the crop.

But what was it like to volunteer at a festival like this, to see the festival from a different angle? Well here goes…….

Volunteering for anything requires a commitment to the cause and each and every volunteer in the group had that interest and love of poetry in spades.Chatting on the induction and training days really reinforced the fact that having a genuine interest in a topic brings people together to freely give their time, energy and effort and this is a wonderful thing to behold.

But it starts with good organisation and the face of that for the volunteers was Cynthia Miller and Jenna Clarke. Their level headed approach, excellent organisational skills and lovely personalities really made the work easy and enjoyable, a perfect mix that is needed to help volunteers do what is needed, even under pressure. From there it’s all about team work, knowing where you need to be and when and about having fun along the way. The scheduled runs itself once the doors open and flexibility becomes the mantra when things don’t go absolutely to plan.

The analogy of the graceful swan is perfect for this type of event – on the surface serene and effortless with the audiences and poets turning up on time, performing, enjoying and leaving for the next event, while underneath the water a lot of legwork going on to get equipment, facilities, people, poets, cash boxes, paperwork, pens, review sheets and books to the right place at the right time. Never underestimate the power of the collective and Waterstones staff were brilliant in this respect as they tirelessly worked around the festival and the store being open at the same time to direct and help people in their bookish hour of need.

So overall it’s all about engaging in the moment, enjoying the ride and feeling proud to be part of something that has a life of it’s own once it gets going. And also about knowing where the loos and the cafes are…….





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