For the 2015 festival we were proud to work with Ipswich based charity Volunteering Matters. As they say: We believe that volunteering is vital in addressing the challenging environment that many young people face in their transition to adulthood. Volunteering ensures young people make a huge difference in their communities and gain future employability and life skills whilst building their confidence and meeting new people.
Volunteering Matters (VM) volunteers had the opportunity to be an important part of setting up the festival as well as helping to run events. Our packed out comic-strip workshops with artiste Kev.F. Sutherland were run seamlessly by a VM volunteer Kie, and other VM volunteers contributed to the smooth organisation of the art tent and children's events.
Our aim with this project was to provide valuable experience of a being part of a cultural event, working with arts professionals, whilst giving access to high quality literature, music and arts as well as the opportunity to meet the artistes involved.
'I really enjoyed it… to be involved, meet people who are involved in film and the arts - I don't have any money at the moment or work, this was a brilliant opportunity' - VM volunteer.
'A big thing for younger people is seeing how organisations work, being alongside people who know production, know how to set events up… And if they’re open, they can learn tremendous amount…' - VM volunteer.
'...this is the first time that they [VM volunteers] have been in something like this or at this place as well so that was really good' - Volunteering Matters Staff Member
In addition, with charitable support, FlipSide organised transport to bring Latin American families, who are part of Volunteering Matters programmes in Ipswich, to the festival. As Claudia Parrino, project co-ordinator at VM says: 'It’s beautiful. I think one of the main things is in Suffolk, you don’t get the chance to see Latin American culture so that’s really positive. And it's something that we’ve been really looking forward to. They loved it, they love the music, the food, some of the families we work with - they don’t ever have the chance to be here - so this was amazing, really good'.
'I think probably a good 80/90% of these people would not get out of Ipswich, they don’t have their own transport, and they do come from marginalised communities. And so it's wonderful - because actually they're from the communities that this festival is about' - Volunteering Matters Staff Member