Driving the search for City of Culture volunteers at Coventry University

“Coventry needs you!” – that’s the message to people of all ages and backgrounds across the city who want to get involved in the historic UK City of Culture year by signing up to be a City Host volunteer.

Coventry City of Culture Trust in partnership with EnV and Coventry University Students’ Union (CUSU), have launched the drive to recruit more than 5,000 volunteers to be part of its City Hosts Programme.

Recruitment went underway in February and saw the first cohort of City Hosts signed up by the end of April. Further recruitment drives will take place throughout the year so that City Hosts can complete induction and training before being offered opportunities to volunteer at events.

City Hosts will perform a variety of roles in Coventry and Warwickshire, which include providing a friendly welcome and supporting visitors and event spectators to navigate around the city. City Hosts will be present at key transport hubs to provide an initial welcome and a farewell to visitors, while others will provide information on artworks, installations and events.

The recruitment drive and training is being undertaken by EnV in partnership with CUSU.

Not only will City Hosts be celebrated for contributing to the success of the year, they will also receive training to enhance their skills, access to discounts through a City of Culture Loyalty Scheme and the chance to widen their social circle and make new friends.

The City Hosts programme is completely flexible for those who want to get involved, with the option to commit to supporting as little as three events between May 2021 and May 2022 or the opportunity to volunteer for more if they want to.

“This is a very exciting moment as we launch our recruitment for our City Hosts. We seek to engage residents in many ways – as audience members, participants, supporters and makers. Today we invite everyone in the city to play a major part in ensuring the success of City of Culture, by joining our City Hosts programme. We are delighted to be working with EnV and CUSU on this initiative and look forward to seeing this programme blossoming over the coming weeks.

What better way to celebrate this incredible time for the city, than putting what makes Coventry special – its people – front and centre.

We want everyone to come and help us make this an incredible year for Coventry. So, sign up, your city needs you!”

Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of the Coventry City of Culture Trust

Vijay Lakhanpal was born in Kenya, moved to Coventry in 1966 and it has been her home ever since.

“I became a Coventry Ambassador volunteer for the Olympics in 2012 because I am proud of where I grew up, because the city has made me the person I am today. I enjoy volunteer work and I want to be involved in showing off this city in a way it deserves to be. The diverse cultural community has brought so much colour and life into the city and we should celebrate that together.”

Vijay Lakhanpal

Devina Whitwell, CUSU Employability Services Manager, has also signed up to be a City Host and said there are many advantages to volunteering.

“During my time as a volunteer I have gained insight into opportunities that I had limited experience in. I met new people, enhanced my employability and had experiences that would not have been possible.”

Devina Whitwell, CUSU Employability Services Manager

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