Express & Star

New volunteer scheme a way to help bring people together

A new volunteer scheme at a city theatre aims to help combat loneliness and give valuable work experience to a wide group of people.

The volunteer scheme will give people the chance to be part of the visitor experience at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre has launched the volunteering scheme in partnership with Creative Black Country and Wolverhampton Volunteers as way of complementing the existing front of house staff, with those taking part working to help provide a warm welcome to those attending the theatre.

The scheme, which begins in October, is aimed at everyone, but people aged 60 and over, aged between 18 and 30 and looking for work experience and people who are deaf or hard of hearing are being particularly encouraged to take part.

Volunteers will be trained and supervised by the team at the Grand to ensure that patrons feel welcome and well looked after when they are in the theatre. and will be a point of contact for information and to help direct visitors around the building.

They will also, subject to seating availability, be able to watch the performances they have volunteered for once all ticket holders have been seated.

Grand Theatre associated director for HR Katie Westgate said the scheme was looking to bring in 20 to 30 volunteers initially and spoke about why the scheme was taking place.

She said: "It's something we've toyed with for a long time and had talked about it a few years ago, but then we had the pandemic and had to staff the theatre from scratch again, so we needed to make sure we had a good team in place in order to look after the volunteers.

"We've been waiting for the right time and building our teams up, so now feels like the right time to do this and it will certainly be the first time we've done in my seven years here."

Ms Westgate said the theatre had wanted to give something back to the community, which had been a great support of the theatre through the years, and help provide work experience for people who might not get the opportunities to do so.

She said: "It's going to enhance our community operations and give people a chance to get work experience and combat loneliness by giving them a place to go to, particularly people from the deaf and hard of hearing communities, who might struggle, especially in customer service.

"If they are a lover of theatre, then they will get to watch the performances, which is great, and they get to interact with lots of customers and build their customer service experience.

"I'd encourage people to do it as it's a fantastic opportunity to make new friends, see live theatre and enhance their CV's, as well as combat loneliness."

Wolverhampton Volunteers Coordinator Pete Emms said it was a great opportunity and a great project for people to be involved in.

He said: "There's lots of opportunities for people to get involved and it provides a mechanism for people to gain valuable experience and maybe find a career that they're interested in.

"We all say volunteering is like a stepping stone to get you to where you want to be and with this fantastic new opportunity on the ground, it provides a mechanism to get people to gain that experience and and be part of the history and heritage of the Grand.

"I think anyone who wants to volunteer within these projects should be extremely proud to be associated with the Grand Theatre and give people a focus and purpose in their lives."

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre will hold open mornings on Monday, September 11 and Saturday, September 23 for anyone interested in taking part in the scheme.

To find out more, email or visit to book a place.

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