Over the last ten years we have had some brilliant volunteers who have dedicated their time and unbelievable talents to make Seven Stories what it is today. Kate has been volunteering in the Seven Stories Programme team since January this year and couldn't have predicted all the things she has been involved with in just 4 months!

My name is Kate and I have been volunteering at Seven Stories since January. When I spotted that Seven Stories were looking for volunteers on their website I didn’t hesitate to apply. Although I knew it would be a fantastic chance to learn more about the organisation and get more experience working in an arts setting, I wasn’t sure what to expect from volunteering at Seven Stories. It’s safe to say I couldn’t have predicted all the things I’ve been involved with! Typically, I go to the office once a week to help the Programming team. Insider secret alert: Seven Stories office isn’t actually located in the Seven Stories centre you’ve visited. As Seven Stories grew over the past ten years, the office was moved from the centre to help it develop onto bigger and better things. No day at the Seven Stories office is the same. Some of the tasks I do are perhaps what you’d expect: sourcing event materials, going through press cuttings and creating social media reports. Some tasks, however, are a little stranger. Over the past few months, I’ve been asked to make…

  • Donkey Masks and tiaras as examples of what can be made in the Creation Station
  • Felt Shrek Ears for children pretending to be their favourite ogre
  • Paper bunting (made from YA novels) for Seven Stories school visits
  • Foam carrots for upcoming Easter events (you’ll have to come and visit during the holidays to see what they are used for!)

I had never thought I’d had much of an artistic side before I started at Seven Stories but when you’re handed paper plates and orange sugar paper and asked to create an Orangutan mask you have to get creative fast! I’ve made so much now that if ITV ever plan on bringing Art Attack back on screen I’m pretty sure I’d Neil Buchanan a run for his money. What’s great about volunteering at Seven Stories is how easy it is to tailor it to your own needs. The staff at Seven Stories have been fantastic at making sure I can fit my volunteering time in with my other commitments. While I volunteer once a week, others can do less. There is also the opportunity to focus your volunteering on areas you are interested in. As I’m trying to get more experience working in the events area of arts administration, I was lucky enough to help out on the preparations for Yasmin Ismail’s artist residency in the Creation Station and assist at this year’s The Biggest Book Show on Earth event for World Book Day.

One of the best parts of volunteering has to be working at Seven Stories itself on the visitor days. Sometimes I will be helping out with activities in the Creation Station, other times I’ll be dressed up and reading stories to children. My Seven Stories highlight had to be dressing up as the Queen of Hearts over the Easter holidays for the children meet and greets. There’s nothing more fun than stomping around in a gigantic red dress and threatening to chop the heads off any passing child. If I threatened to execute you or any of your children then please accept my sincere apologies! Volunteering at Seven Stories has been an incredible experience. I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s a perfect opportunity for anyone interested in working in a literary or educational environment to develop their skills and learn more. Seven Stories has an amazing atmosphere with warm and friendly staff. And, to top it all off, you get to see children’s show their enthusiasm and excitement for reading first hand – you can’t beat that! Kate