During the Festival and in the run-up to October each year, the Festival Staff are helped by a small army of volunteers without whom the Festival wouldn’t be possible.
Event Stewards come for an evening or for all day, an afternoon or morning session during the day at weekends. They meet and greet members of the public at Festival events. They take tickets, answer queries, give directions, move chairs (when needed) and help seat the audience. They usually sit in on the event.
Children’s Event Stewards
Many of the Children’s events are held on the middle weekend of the Festival, although there are some at other times. Children’s event Stewards meet and greet members of the public and their children. They take tickets, answer queries, give directions and move chairs (when needed). They sit in on the event.
Experience of dealing with children and families, as a parent, teacher, playworker, grandparent, older sibling etc etc is useful but not essential in this role. Many of our young adult stewards enjoy helping with Children’s events.
Workshops Stewards look after the authors and participants in our workshop events. These are usually held on a weekend morning or afternoon. Stewards look after the author leading the workshops, make drinks and do photocopying. They meet and greet members of the public and may need to take latecomers money. They take tickets, answer queries, give directions, and are likely to need to help move chairs in the workshop room. They sit in on and are encouraged to participate in the Event. This role is fairly active.
Outdoor Event Stewards
Outdoor Event Stewards accompany authors and members of the public on outdoor events: eg. around Ilkley on a family story walk, or up on the Moors for a poetry writing walk. Stewards take tickets, support the author in charge and help deal with any emergencies. You need to be happy to be outdoors in all weathers. Outdoor events last up to 2 hours and you need to be able to walk throughout that time.
The Festival needs volunteers to help run the Festival Cafes, making and serving tea, coffee and biscuits or cakes. The Cafe can be hectic at busy times! Duties include making tea and coffee, serving members of the public and authors and clearing up afterwards. Good personal hygiene is essential, but you do not need any catering or food hygiene qualifications.
At some smaller events, stewards man the bookstall. This involves setting out the books beforehand, selling the books and then packing up afterwards. Full briefing is given, and there is always someone on hand to help if you have any queries.
Help with mailings and distribution of marketing materials
Although the majority of our programmes are sent out by a mailing house, we still mail over 3,000 items ourselves. Volunteers are needed throughout the year to help stuff envelopes. Plentiful supplies of tea, coffee and biscuits keep everyone going!
Qualifications for all Stewarding Roles
No previous experience is needed but you will need to be:
- Over 16
- Punctual and reliable
- Practical and hardworking
- Have a courteous, calm approach to the public
- Enjoy dealing with people
- Supportive of the Festival in its commitment to making events accessible and welcoming
- Smart and well-groomed, and wear a white top and black trousers/skirt
- Some Stewards need to be more active than others: pick the role which suits your needs.
All Stewards will be required to sign our Festival Guidelines Agreement.
Training and Rewards for Stewards
We provide a Festival Briefing in September, covering a range of issues including Health and Safety and Festival procedures, which all Stewards need to attend. All events will have a Festival Event Manager as well as stewards.
Stewards get in free to the event they are stewarding and get regular news updates on what’s happening at the Festival.