Andrea O'Donnell

When did you start volunteering with Verbal?

I started in 2013 during Derry/Londonderry UK City of Culture. I trained as a Reading Rooms volunteer and also helped out at some of the events that year. Halloween springs to mind, and the Killer Books festival.

What have been the highlights?

The people I have met in the different groups and settings I volunteer in. People are very open once their imaginations are caught by something. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be there when they describe something dear to them, or share something they have not put into words before. 

Any lowlights?

Not really. Just some surreal moments. Once I had to be on stand-by to make juice for a performer at a Verbal event. He didn't actually want any juice, and there were tons of fruit and veg just begging to be pulverised. So I just started juicing for anyone that passed. I felt like a demonstrator in a supermarket.

What do you think you bring to your role as a volunteer?

I'm reliable and available! You make a commitment, you do the prep. and then you turn up. Your role just grows and you grow with it. 

What would be your advice to a wannabe volunteer?

Do it. Don't over think it. Give it time.