Out of the many reasons I applied for an internship, probably the one I dwelt on most was the fear of being unprepared for the real world come summer 2015 when I graduate. As I scrolled through available opportunities nothing appeared to spring out at me and I had almost become resigned to the fact that I would return home for the summer in search of any sort of employment that would tide me over till September. That was when I discovered the Spirit of Manchester Internship, a new initiative that was looking for someone to organise a Festival to celebrate the voluntary work that goes on throughout the city.
For want of a less clichéd phrase, the opportunity jumped out at me. It was asking for someone creative with a knack for organisation that would be able to put the concept of a city-wide Festival of events into practice. For once my constant list making and overthinking appeared like it could be put to good use. I’ve had close ties to voluntary programmes from a young age such as summer camps and on a personal level was heavily reliant on them for support with family members. Therefore the opportunity to organise a Festival that celebrated the work done by the voluntary sector felt like a way that I could say thank you for how it has supported me.
On my first day I was intrigued at what I would be doing throughout my time here and after my first initial meeting I must say that I did feel somewhat overwhelmed. I’d never been given so much responsibility and I had visions of organising a festival which nobody attended. However I’ve always seen myself as an independent person and it dawned on me that if the Spirit of Manchester Festival was under my control then it could be whatever I wanted it to be. The somewhat controlling side of me jumped at this opportunity.
So from that first initial shock to where I am now two weeks in, I can happily say that I think I’ve got things under control. With the launch of the festival last week we’ve already had a great response with a number of definite events organised and a steady flow of emails from groups showing their interest in getting involved. With a weeklong art exhibition and the involvement of Levenshulme Markets already part of the programme of events, the calendar for the Festival is growing. Every time I announce a new event in the office, it’s followed by a jubilant cheer. You’d think it could get tiresome but I can assure you it calms any niggling nerves I’ve still got.
People seem excited at the prospect of this citywide Festival and I think a few of us here at Macc feel like we might have been missing a trick by not doing this before. Volunteer groups and organisations are always putting on events in order to raise their profile within the community so if everyone did this at the same time with a calendar of events linking everything together, then without wanting to sound self-assured this could be a big occasion for the city! The impact that the Spirit of Manchester Festival will be a reflection of the sector. It’s this prospect that motives me to make it as successful as I can.
I’m confident that the Festival can bring a lot of support for the city’s volunteer and community sector. Strength in numbers is the key to the success of this project and I’m hoping that others will see the potential it has for celebrating and raising awareness of the continuous work that the sector does. So I’m hoping to persuade as many people as possible to jump on the proverbial bandwagon. For the sake of one nervous Intern who has no desire to crash and burn, come and get involved!
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