June 28, 2023

Volunteers voices and views are vital

Volunteers are a vital part of Little Theatre life – and their “champion” Karen Sims has a key part to play in their “best supporting roles.”

Our unpaid helpers kindly give up time to man the Hub, usher people to their seats, meet and greet, and do behind-the-scenes work ranging from wardrobe to admin. They are also our eyes and ears monitoring customers’ opinions on our shows and service – which we need to hear about to make improvements based on visitor feedback.

Karen is our link between the volunteers and staff – with a mission to pass on views and constructive criticism to help us move forward. And she is also there to make sure the volunteers are happy, feel valued and that we are making the most of their skills. She has been a volunteer herself for the past six years, but in her champion role is now offering a listening ear and helping hand to fellow helpers.

Karen is currently analysing the results of a volunteer survey, and will be starting monthly “surgery’ sessions on Friday mornings, when volunteers can pop in for a chat about any issues they would like to air. A new WhatsApp group among volunteers is also boosting communication including sending out messages to fill rota slots.

And there is a new security-protected page on the theatre website updating volunteers on relevant news.

Karen said: “In my role as volunteer champion I am hoping to work to help to strengthen the presence and numbers at the theatre, be a listening ear and to motivate, enthuse, energise and empower us as a team.” Her career saw her as a store manager for Marks and Spencer at keys shops including London’s Oxford Circus and Kensington High Street, before re-training as a teacher, working in primary schools mainly in Norwich. In a busy retirement she is also: a section assistant in the Scouts, helping youngsters sail, power boat and camp; membership secretary at Sheringham and Cromer Choral Society; a trustee at the Horstead Centre activity hub run by the diocese; and enjoys Spanish lessons, tango and ballroom dancing and walking.

She added: “I have always been a people person, and I love volunteering here because I am passionate about theatre and enjoy meeting and talking to people and fellow volunteers.” The Little Theatre has a wide ranging set of roles for volunteers and is currently seeking people with skills or experience in admin, data analysis, marketing and phone fundraising.

Commercial manager Hannah Smith added: ”Views fed back from volunteers, including those picked up from the public, are important, are listened to and are actioned where possible.”

Find out more about being a theatre volunteer here.

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