News 8th January 2024

Do you want to volunteer for Belfast Stories?

If you’re looking for a volunteering opportunity in Belfast for which you will learn new skills, meet new people and listen to stories from the people in your city, this may interest you.

What is Belfast Stories?

Are you familiar with the old Bank of Ireland building at the top of Royal Avenue that was recently acquired by Belfast City Council? This is where Belfast Stories will come to life in a few years’ time.

Belfast Stories will aim to regenerate our city centre through culture and tourism. Belfast Stories will not only bring a visitor experience into the area but also encourage the development of new businesses in the neighbourhood and as a result, boost the local economy.

It will be a place for locals and tourists to spend time, socialise and discover the stories of the people who call Belfast their home.

These stories will be at the heart of this project. Locals will collect each other’s stories of their lives, families, work and communities to fill Belfast Stories with the unique spirit of Belfast. Each and every story will tell us something about the city and the people who make and remake it, day by day and year by year.

What is this volunteering opportunity?

Thrive and quarto have partnered to deliver the Story Gathering Pilot for Belfast Stories, on behalf of Belfast City Council. We’re inviting you to volunteer as a story gatherer for Belfast Stories. We know that the best way to get a range of Belfast stories is to ask Belfast people to listen to and record each other.

As part of this pilot, we’re looking to gather many different stories from many different people, to represent the many different faces of our city. Stories collected during this pilot will be solely for the purpose of the pilot, for us to understand what the best way to collect stories is. Some of these stories may be kept, used and exhibited in Belfast Stories, but that will be up to the storytellers.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for 10 outgoing and curious people of various ages and genders, from all four corners of Belfast and all sections of our community, who are good listeners and can put other people at ease.

You could have lived in the city your whole life or you could have moved here only weeks ago. Anybody who lives here can take part.

You will not need any background or skills in interviewing other people. We welcome anyone with an interest in this project to join us for this pilot.

What will be expected of each volunteer?

Of course, we won’t be expecting you to go and interview and record other people without any training. Gemma and Bryonie from quarto will be delivering a short Oral History training programme of 4 sessions. You will need to be available for all sessions in order to volunteer. Training will take place in the city centre, in Bullitt Hotel, 40a Church Lane, BT1 4QN on the following dates and times:

  • Monday 5th February from 18.30 to 20.30
  • Monday 12th February from 18.30 to 20.30
  • Monday 19th February from 18.30 to 20.30
  • Monday 4th March from 18.30 to 20.30

Throughout the training programme, you will be required to collect stories from your friends or family, but also strangers. We’ll provide you with recording equipment and support you to set up and record a story or two. We won’t be expecting you to gather more than 3 stories over the course of the pilot.

What will you get out of it?

You will learn new skills

During this training, we will tell you all about oral history work. When you are asking people if they will share their stories for you to record, you are doing oral history work. We’ll show you how to make sure you and your storytellers are comfortable and safe and enjoy the whole process. We’ll reflect together on how you got on, and your experience will inform the next steps for Belfast Stories.

Tea, coffee and snacks will be provided during sessions. We don’t want you to go thirsty nor hungry!

You will meet new people and get to listen to their stories

You will get to mingle with other volunteers during the training programme. You will also get to hear stories from your friends or family members that you may not have heard before. Finally, you will get to uncover stories from other people in the city.

Your travel expenses will be covered

We will allow up to £25 per volunteer. You will only need to save your receipts, send them to Sarah from thrive, and you will be reimbursed.

What will happen at the end of this Story Gathering Pilot?

We will hold a fifth and last get together once all interviews have been completed to thank you for your time and hear your feedback about the pilot.

It will be possible for volunteers to continue volunteering for Belfast Stories beyond this pilot. Only if you want to, of course!

How to apply?

We will be hosting an Open Day on Monday 22nd January from 17.00 to 19.00 in 2 Royal Avenue for you to come, chat to our team and find out more about this volunteering opportunity.

Please complete this online form by 12 noon on Monday 29th January.

Should you have any difficulty accessing or completing an online application, please contact Sarah at sarah@wewillthrive.co.uk, allowing reasonable time, to discuss alternative arrangements such as audio, video or completing your application in another language.

Applications will be acknowledged by email.

All applicants will receive a response by close of business Wednesday 31st January.

If you aren’t offered a place this time, we will make sure you are offered other ways to get involved and support Belfast Stories.

We’re looking forward to meeting you!

Thrive and quarto

Sarah Blake Knox

Client Programme Coordinator sarah@wewillthrive.co.uk

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