A collage of black and white portraits of people who volunteer at the royal ballet school

Appreciating the work of our volunteers

We’re very fortunate to have a range of volunteers who generously dedicate their time to help support the School.

As an educational institution and part of the Government’s Music and Dance Scheme, the School receives funding from the Department for Education, but also relies on the generosity of individual supporters to provide our students with the best possible training. Some of our supporters help us through financial giving whereas others may choose to offer their time as volunteers. Volunteers play an integral role at the School and their kind support is incredibly valuable across all departments. We have many volunteers who help within the students’ classes as well as at events and performances. This support helps us in maintaining our position as one of the world’s best ballet schools.

Our volunteers

We spoke with two of our volunteers, Judith Foy and Cath Howe. Cath volunteered for several years at White Lodge, helping the Year 7s with their reading and book discussions. Judith was a member of the Appeal Committee. They discussed with us their experiences as volunteers.   

I started volunteering because I had a small amount of time to offer and so I helped out at The Royal Ballet School one afternoon a week for five years. It’s making a voluntary commitment but because it’s not a paid role, there’s more flexibility. This is rewarding.

Volunteers have skills to offer. They may have time when full time staff don’t. A good volunteer is friendly, flexible and enthusiastic. The School is an amazing place to volunteer. I was lucky enough to see it at all times of the year and to help out with many events both in the School and the Royal Opera House. What stood out for me was the choreographic competitions and the creativity of the young dancers. I will never forget some of the work that I saw performed.

I think my volunteering work contributed ideas and thoughts which have served me well as a writer. The role I had at the School involved reading and discussing books with the Year 7s. It was fascinating to get to know the pupils throughout the school year. I’m an experienced English teacher and had already begun writing seriously but these discussions about books led me to explore how I might develop a career in writing for children. We discussed plots, characters, and narrative. Sometimes I helped the children to do book talks to the class. I also watched many author visits. Now I visit Schools myself as an author and my fourth book is being published in May. You never know where volunteering might lead. I’m definitely proof of that. I would definitely encourage others to volunteer as it benefits everyone. – Cath Howe

I became a volunteer because I’ve always loved ballet and my sister was at the School. Also, because my husband was deputy chairman of the School under Jeffrey Stirling, it was an obvious move. My experience was excellent because being allowed to sit in classes watching the students’ progress is a wonderful opportunity.

Volunteering is obviously of great benefit to the School because people give their time to try and help raise money and oversee some of the students during performances. A volunteer should be someone who understands the stress on the students to achieve their highest potential and the emotional impact of that. They should be able to empathise with their emotions.

It is the most privileged thing to be a volunteer. You are able to watch all these ambitious young people put their heart and souls into their potential careers. – Judith Foy

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