Insights from

Edinburgh Festival City Volunteers

Project evaluations

A evaluation report looking at Edinburgh’s festival volunteers and the effectiveness of events-based volunteering.

Festival City Volunteers was a unique partnership project led by Festivals Edinburgh and Volunteer Edinburgh. Edinburgh is globally renowned as the world’s leading festival city thanks to the eleven major festivals that take place year-round, springing from the founding of the first city festivals in 1947. Festivals Edinburgh is the strategic development body for these rich cultural assets, focusing on collective
innovation in shared priority areas including community engagement.

In 2016, ahead of the Festival City’s 70th anniversary, a scoping study supported by the City of Edinburgh Council and EventScotland was carried out to explore the potential for the Festival City Volunteers initiative. The project proposed to build on the festivals’ community initiatives and offer opportunities for local residents to develop new skills and connections, and become advocates for Edinburgh during the summer festivals.


This report shows, through the use of mixed method evaluation, how the Festival City Volunteers project developed to deliver on the following people-led aims:

  1. Building volunteer resilience through arts and culture
  2. Developing new skills
  3. Developing new social and vocational connections
  4. Providing enhanced quality of experience for visitors to the Festival City in August
  5.  Ensuring organisational networks are maximised to deliver community impact


  • 18% of volunteers felt very or mostly proud of their contribution
  • 67% reported on increase in confidence
  • 89% felt better about their life and future as a result of being involved in the project
  • 89% of volunteers felt empowered to join in arts, culture and heritage activities
  • 89% of volunteers felt empowered to join in leisure activities
  • 74% of volunteers felt empowered to join in sport and physical activities
  • 99% of volunteers felt empowered to join further volunteering activities

View the project