“Absolutely do it – the first chance you get!”

Amanda Dunnington, from Durham City, has been passionate about volunteering since signing up to help at the first Lumiere in 2009 – and is now encouraging others to follow in her footsteps as the UK’s largest light festival returns to the city for the fifth time this autumn.

“Just the absolute atmosphere that was going on – everything was just incredible,” she said.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like it, I’ve never seen so many people all together enjoying themselves and so interested in the city.”

Hear Amanda speak about her experience here: www.durham.gov.uk/festivalmaker

Festival producers Artichoke and commissioning agents, Durham County Council, are encouraging people to play their own special part to help shine a light on Durham at what is a truly world class event.

Anyone over 18 with a friendly personality and a passion for the festival can register as a volunteer Festival Maker to help support its smooth running.

Potential roles include welcoming visitors, helping them find their way around and providing advice on how to get the best Lumiere experience as well as assisting to run the Festival Visitor Hub.

Other tasks include telling people about the artwork, sharing knowledge of the city and offering practical help when needed, such as delivering items to production staff.

Many volunteers, including Helen Winterbone from Ferryhill, have returned to the festival time and time again after assisting with the unique event.

“It’s great being part of something big and local to the area,” said Helen.

“The atmosphere is amazing and it really gives you a feel good factor.”

Volunteers will need to be available for at least two shifts of between 4 and 7.5 hours during the festival, which runs from Thursday, 16 November to Sunday, 19 November – as well as attending a couple of meetings before the event.

Whether you’re a first-time volunteer or more experienced, taking part in Lumiere offers a unique insight into a major arts event as well as providing the opportunity to add to your CV.

Kate Harvey, Artichoke’s senior producer for Lumiere said: “Lumiere belongs to Durham and local volunteer festival makers are key to its success. 

“Whether you’re welcoming visitors to Durham, offering advice on how to get the most from the festival or offering practical help to the Lumiere team, your contribution will be invaluable and you’ll get the chance to experience the festival up close and find out more about the art and the artists involved.”

Volunteers make a huge difference in County Durham, with many events and activities depending on them generously giving up their time.

An event to celebrate the support of those who volunteer through the One Point Children’s Centres is set to take place at Durham Leadership Centre on Friday, 26 May where they will be rewarded for their work and speak about their own individual experiences.

Julie Lavery, Durham County Council’s volunteer and skills manager, said: “Festival Makers not only get a unique behind the scenes view of a world-class festival, but also have the opportunity to enhance their CV and improve their social and mental wellbeing.

“Many volunteers took part in Lumiere 2015 and we are hoping for more passionate people to come forward and play their part to make the city shine even brighter this time around.”

Follow #LumiereDurham for the latest news and information about Lumiere 2017.

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