Volunteers in Artistic Learning Uniting Europe
Start date: May 1, 2015,
End date: Sep 30, 2016
King's Lynn Arts Centre Trust welcomed their first European Volunteers to the organisation in Summer 2015! Our objective was to give an opportunity to young people from Europe to learn more about the English culture, the arts, the creative industries, and importantly about themselves. The organisation really believes in life long learning and thanks to our social inclusion projects, the ethos of the Arts Centre has been to become 'A place to come and find yourself'. Taking part in the EVS programme has been a project from which we all benefited: sending and hosting organisations, staff, volunteers and local community!
Mind-opening, challenging, uniquely culturally engaging and amazingly enriching; that's how we would describe this experience!
Alessio Graldi from Italy and Anastasiia Parafaniuk from Ukraine arrived in August, whilst Csaba Bohm from Hungary quickly joined them a month later! Aged between 22 and 28 years old, they all joined the team of the Arts Centre for about a bit less than a year, to share experiences and knowledge, and brought with them amazing smiles and a valuable European touch!
For each volunteer, a specific project was establish according to their needs and expectations. Their profile was quite different from each other. Obviously all were very interested in the arts, as well as wanting to learn and share different things. Two of them have left their jobs to come to England and grab this opportunity to do voluntary work within the Arts Centre.
The volunteers have offered European Christmas Workshops to schools and this event attracted 250 children from 3 different schools! In addition to that, they have been involved in community projects in partnership with the local community housing association to offer a special Christmas opportunity to disadvantaged children living in deprived areas.
A1 (Alessio), a professional photographer and experienced film maker has been helping the organisation in realising podcasts and promotional videos. His experience and the projects he has led have added value to the organisation and we couldn't have done it without him! He produced videos and photo-montages that helped us to raise visibility and awareness of our actions at a local and national level. Moreover, he used his skills to capture unforgettable moments, childrens and adults workshops, theatre shows and exhibitions that we have been able to share with the local community and even further!
A2 (Ana), our 'mailchimp queen', had gained strong experience in Marketing while working in Ukraine and used her marketing skills in our organisation. The Arts Centre is a complex business that could be compared to an iceberg. On top, we have the venue open to the public and the workshops open to everyone willing to gain skills. Below the surface, there are many underlying projects that help us to cover the financial shortfall of maintaining a free admission venue and reach our social inclusion objectives. Anastasiia understood the complexity of such an organisation really quickly and help us to raise visility on internet, social media and the local area!
Previously part of an Assembly and having studied piano for over 8 years, our Ukrainian participant has always had a interest in music and thanks to her sociability has quickly linked with local musicians. willing to develop a music project for the local community, she has been working alongside the local community and the team!
A3 (Csaba), a really relaxed character, an adept yoga practitioner and a keen teacher arrived in the team with no specific ideas and expectations. His intention was to discover more about how the cultural and creative industry work and what they have to offer. He quickly gained an interest in European projects and the opportunties the Erasmus + Programme can offer. He has been helping in the management of the EVS programme at the Arts Centre bringing his own character and attention to detail into documents, for example the EVS information pack. Csaba has also applied for a training programme Appetiser through the SALTO platform in order to learn more about the Erasmus+ Programme but his application was unfortunately turned down. Thanks to his involvement in the European Christmas Workshops that the volunteers organised for schools, Csaba discovered that he has amazing puppetry skills which has been a fantastic highlight and enjoyable experience for him! His interest in using puppets as a means for education has surely helped him to raise his self esteem and confidence and this experience has opened new doors and aspirations for his future.
Welcoming European volunteers to King's Lynn has had a huge impact on the local community! Local press and community have been invited to meet the volunteers not long after they settled down to their new lives here, and they shared their experiences of the Erasmus+ programme by encouraging local young people to take part in a similar experience and broaden their horizons.
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