I decided that this needed to change so I joined a few local groups on social media so I could keep up with what is happening in the area and help out when I can. This is how I saw that volunteers were needed for selling programmes at the Kirkstall Festival.
Once my name was on the list, I was told to be there for 11am and that if I helped out for three hours of more, I would get a free lunch voucher - I'd intended to stay most of the day if I could (I was still getting really tired following my operation) so this was just a nice bonus.
Sadly, when the day arrived, it was absolutely tipping it down. Of course, the rain didn't start until after I had gotten dressed and got on the bus, so my outfit wasn't really suitable and my shoes got utterly destroyed by mud. I arrived half an hour early and already wet but just jumped in and started selling programmes - while hiding from the rain under a tree - straight away.
Before long, people started to arrive and it was so great to see that the weather hadn't dampened anyone's spirits. People were still in fancy dress, ready to have a good time and generally had good humour about the hideous weather. The majority were also very willing to buy a programme, especially after I explained that the funds went toward next year's festival as it is all run by volunteers.
After going back to selling programmes, I met another volunteer who is involved with an organisation in Armley. She and I got talking about a lot of different things - both personal and related to different volunteer opportunities - so the time really flew. I ended up giving her my details so I could get involved with more things in the area I live in, which I'm really excited about.
In the end, I had to call it a day after four and a half hours as I was totally exhausted and very muddy. I really enjoyed being at the festival, talking to lots of different people and generally feeling like part of the community a bit more. I'm hoping that this will lead to more volunteer opportunities and getting involved with other events in Leeds.