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Edinburgh Festival City Volunteers

This project is now complete

A volunteer training programme for Edinburgh residents to gain skills, confidence and pride in the city by supporting visitors during the festival season.

The project in numbers


Project spend

January – December 2018

Project duration

In 2018 Spirit and the Big Lottery Fund Scotland funded a project to support Edinburgh residents to share their passion for their city and get behind-the-scenes of its diverse and exciting festivals. The project built on a pilot the previous year.

105 people in Edinburgh were trained to volunteer with a focus on welcoming people to the city in the Summer of 2018. Festivals Edinburgh specifically sought out people who might have found it difficult to volunteer in the past for a wide variety of reasons, working with them on a one-to-one basis, exploring how they could overcome barriers to participation and design a truly inclusive volunteering programme.

Half of the volunteers faced barriers to inclusion. Participants were asked about their reasons for volunteering, which included social connections, improved wellbeing or a stepping stone towards employment. Six months after the festival, the team followed up to support and understand their post-volunteer pathways. Festivals Edinburgh partnered with The Welcoming to identify and support refugees, asylum seekers and migrants into volunteering, and with IntoWork to support job seekers who wanted to gain skills through volunteering. Having trusted partners meant that there were specialist organisations to help volunteers with their next steps.

In the project’s evaluation report, Employment Advisor Lee Hutchinson explained: “The stories and experiences that my clients have shared with me during their time volunteering puts a smile on my face, they have made friends, seen fantastic shows they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to see, mixed with the stars and come away from it with a huge boost of confidence. The clients that have taken part have gone on to gain sustainable long-term employment and nearly every employer has remarked how impressed they were when they saw Festival City volunteering on their applications, it’s gained an excellent reputation with everyone involved!


Project aims

  1. Design and implement an inclusive volunteering programme for Edinburgh
  2. Empower residents of Edinburgh to overcome barriers to participation in vounteering

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