Why I volunteer: Val Cook

The thing that motivated me to apply to become a 2017 volunteer was the fact that it’s such a huge thing to be happening in our city! It all sounded so exciting.

I’m an ICT Tutor and I’ve never volunteered before, I signed up after creating resources about Hull 2017 for my students. I thought, why teach it when I can do it?

I suppose I was in a rut – work then sleep, work then sleep – so I wanted new experiences in my life.

As a Pioneer Volunteer, so far I’ve helped out on the community road shows and at the selection centres. The part I enjoyed the most was talking with individuals and groups who were interested in applying for the community grants programme, I really felt confident in motivating people to take the step to apply. It was so interesting in hearing about all of the incredible things people were doing in our communities.

Interviewing the potential volunteers was great too. I was able to reflect on how I’d felt a few months ago, being interviewed myself by the City of Culture team. I have experience interviewing people through my current role as a Tutor, so I felt a nice balance between the familiar and the new experience of selection centres.

My best moment by far was volunteering on the amazing show, Place Des Anges. My role was to start up one of the huge blowers which were placed on the show site and add the feathers, creating the great spectacle at the end of the show. It was so much fun!

The reality of being a 2017 volunteer has far surpassed my expectations. I feel very much involved in the whole process – it feels more like a family than a group of volunteers. I have a much wider knowledge of the city as a whole too.

I love wearing the uniform, when I’m on route to a session people often stop and talk to me about 2017, and I feel proud to represent the city. I tell everyone who’ll listen what an amazing experience it is to be a 2017 volunteer and that they should sign up!

Before our initial training, I was a little unsure of what to expect. I came away being so fired up, and that feeling has never stopped. After the year’s celebrations have come to an end, I’d like to continue to volunteer; I wish I’d done it a long time ago.  

Find out more about volunteering for Hull 2017 here – and apply now!