Spirit of 2012 has today announced an award of £200,000 to Hull City Council to develop the Hull Volunteer programme for the next three years.

Hull Volunteers emerged from Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and is widely regarded not only as a huge success during the year, but also a lasting legacy. When the first Covid lockdown came into effect last March, hundreds of volunteers were mobilised to organise food deliveries to Hull residents who were unable to leave their homes. The award will help the scheme, which up until now has been managed by Absolutely Cultured, to be integrated into the Visit Hull and East Yorkshire Tourism Partnership (VHEY) who will focus on expansion of the scheme to the whole region. It will also allow the scheme to diversify into different areas including the heritage and business sectors, in addition to culture and events.

Hull City Council will manage the programme and work with the Hull Volunteers advisory group and VHEY to create a sustainable model through further strategic partnerships. Spirit of 2012 was a Principal Partner for the Hull UK City of Culture 2017, with a £2.85m grant including support from the volunteering programme which was inspired by the London 2012 Gamesmakers. The programme is widely regarded as one of the biggest successes of the year, with 2,500 volunteers taking part in their iconic ‘scandalous blue’ uniforms.

Evaluation has shown a positive impact on the wellbeing and confidence of the volunteers, with one remarking that “becoming a volunteer is the best thing I’ve done so far in my life”, and a renewed civic pride, “people in Hull used to look at the ground – now they look at the sky.”

Jane Gibson, Chair of Spirit of 2012 said:

“We’ve seen what a well organised, motivated, engaged volunteer network can achieve, both as cultural ambassadors as part of a pre-planned event such as the City of Culture and in providing emergency support in unexpected circumstances. There is enormous potential to scale this up into other areas, providing a boost to business and tourism in the region.”

Councillor Daren Hale, leader of Hull City Council, said:

“The volunteers are iconic. They were the warm, welcoming faces of our incredible year as UK City of Culture and have become proud ambassadors for our city – they embody all that is fantastic about Hull and our region.”

“The volunteering programme is one of our greatest legacies from 2017, so I’m delighted that their work and their impact will continue to resonate throughout Hull, and the wider region.”