Forest Volunteer Guide 2008
Welcome to The Forest.
Thanks for volunteering! Without you nothing would ever get done around here...
Here is some information about The Forest. If you want to know more about anything please sign up for the Bulletin Board or check the website.
The Forest is a volunteer-run, self-funded, independent, not-for-profit arts space located in the centre of Edinburgh.
It is available to all people and is funded by its vegetarian cafe. The Forest collective started in 2000 and The Forest is now a registered charity : Charity No SC038234 FIRST UP
: You are volunteering in a public place. This means you're going to meet all kinds of people. In the interests creating a place where people feel welcome there are certain kinds of behaviour that are NOT welcome. Please don't be rude or aggressive and keep your racist/sexist/ageist/homophobic opinions to yourself. If someone else's behaviour is making you feel uncomfortable or threatened please speak to the Kitchen Manager straight away so we can do something about it.
In other words: “The Forest aims to ensure that no volunteer receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of race, colour, sex, nationality, ethnic or national origin, age, gender, gender reassignment or marital status, sexual orientation or disability. All volunteers have a legal and moral obligation not to discriminate and to report incidents of discrimination against individuals or groups of individuals.”Volunteer Responsibilities
: If you can't make it to a shift, please call and let us know. Preferably 24 hours in advance so that we can organise someone to take over your shift. If you're ill, just call and let us know – it's polite.
If you're not on shift, always ask permission to come in to the kitchen.
You get a volunteer discount on food and drinks in The Forest. When you're on shift, you should get free juice/hot drinks and some food: a full meal for a 5 hour shift and a snack for a shorter shift. No free cakes or fizzy drinks. They rot your soul. You also earn tips – it's easiest if these are divided at the start/finish of shifts. Don't spend it all at once...
Be sensible: wear working clothes that you don't mind getting a little bit dirty, and closed shoes.
You will be shown around the building on you first shift. Fire exits are the main cafe door, the doors near the shop and downstairs exit near the Crafty Room. If you see things piled up in the fire exits, move them!
Importantly: nobody expects a volunteer to know everything about The Forest. If you don't know something – ASK!About The Forest
The Forest works in 5 main areas...
Free Events, Workshops, Art Gallery, Artist Facilities, Projects and building links with the wider community. Because people volunteer at The Forest we are able to provide these services largely for free.OBJECTS OF THE FOREST
The association's objects are to advance access to art and cultural activities amongst the general public of Edinburgh and the wider community:
a) To enable greater access to all forms of the performing arts by providing an open arts venue and facilities in which all events will be open and free of charge to artists and audiences alike.
b) To provide opportunities to learn and develop skills by providing art and cultural workshop programmes. All programmes will be open and free of charge to members of the general public.
c) To increase access to art by providing a community art gallery and exhibitions of local and international artists. All exhibitions will be open and free of charge to members of the general public.
d) To facilitate the development of artists’ work and skills by providing facilities to practise, rehearse and advance their work.
e) To build co-operation and cultural understanding by working with other institutions and individuals, both locally and in the wider international community.
All events in the Forest are free to attend and it's always free to perform.
Forest provides: events, gallery space, wi-fi, zoetropes, equipment (decks, pa, projectors), a free shop, vegetarian cafe, grants programmes, cultural exchanges, recycling, workshops/skillshares, rehearsal/recording space, darkroom, people, etc.
HOW THE FOREST WORKS: Forest runs according to a working group structure - this is a flat participatory system, which makes it easy for you to get involved.
There are 5 main working groups dealing with the following areas of interest. Each of the 5 working groups has open monthly meetings and open discussions on the forest bulletin board, which can be accessed via The Forest website.Action working group
Community Action, Bikes, Craft Room, Environment & Garden, Workshops Cafe and Events working group
Building, Events & Promo, Film, Kitchen/Health & Safety, Posters & Advertising, Sound Engineering, Volunteering Artist Facilities working group
Forest Free Theatre, The Cave (Music Studio), Darkroom & Photography, Publishing & Library, Computers, Equipment, Technology & Broken Things, Records, Screen Printing, managing the six artist studios (located on the Balcony).Behind the Scenes working group
Business & Admin, Projects & Grants, Shop, WebsiteVisual Arts working group
Front of House, Visual art, Total Kunst Gallery. What is a working group?
A working group is a team of people who share certain responsibilities in order to try to achieve the mission of that particular group. Working group meetings are advertised, and are open to everyone who'd like to be more involved and take on some level of responsibility in any aspect of running the forest.
Working groups have annual budgets and are autonomous – they are able to take decisions that affect them directly. Things that impact on other working groups or the Forest as a whole are referred to the 'forest working group'.
The Forest Working Group decides all the stuff that falls outside of regular working group meetings: extra budget requests, conflicts between working group interests, wider strategies and policies and so on. These meetings can only be attended by members of the Forest Working Group, which itself is open to anyone who demonstrates the willingness to take on more serious responsibilities over a longer period of time.
New members can be admitted to the Forest Working Group at any time if that person has been actively involved in a working group for three or more months and has consistently achieved action points and taken on further responsibility. Membership of the Forest Working Group is subject to the approval of the current members of the Forest Working Group.
All working group meetings try to operate with consensus decision making. This means that decisions seek the agreement of all participants, and also the resolution or mitigation of minority objections. Basically, the meeting tries to come to an agreement that suits everyone - peoples' concerns are taken into account and incorporated into the decision.
Meetings operate using a series of hand gestures to improve efficiency. One person should be nominated facilitator and one person a minute-taker. The facilitator's job is to make sure the discussion stays on topic, the flow of comments is orderly and everyone gets heard. Hand gestures help the facilitator by showing what kind of comment you have to make. Ask someone to explain this to you at the start of the meeting. Don't be afraid to say “what the --?!” if you get confused.
Minutes from all meetings are posted on the Forest bulleting board for further discussion.TWO WAYS TO GET INVOLVED IN WORKING GROUPS
1 - THE Bulletin Board: Join the Forest BB. Here you will find discussions, minutes and some jokes.http://www.theforest.org.uk/bb/index.php
The BB is open to all. If you wish to contribute you need to register. Go to the top right of the screen - Forum - then Register for more info...
2 - COME TO A MEETING
Come to the next working group meeting for the area(s) that interests you. The meetings are open to all. Please check the meeting schedule – available on the Forest BB.The Forest Cafe
The Forest serves cheap and healthy vegetarian and vegan food. The money we make in the cafe is used for art projects, paying our rent and making the place cool for you to enjoy. If the Cafe doesn't turn a profit, The Forest loses out – and that means less fun for you.
We aim to use as many organic, fairly-traded and ethically-produced products as we can, and also to run the kitchen environmentally, minimising waste and recycling as much as possible. We also aim to support local small businesses in preference to national or multinational suppliers. In order for the Forest Cafe to fulfil its role as fundraiser for the rest of The Forest, we need to make a profit. Resist the temptation to be overly generous, stick to prescribed portions, if you don't know – ask. Giving away massive portions not only wastes food when it is uneaten, but rips off the collective by wasting the profits that other volunteers have worked hard to earn.CORKAGE:
The Forest does not yet have a liquor licence. We charge corkage – a small fee to allow people to drink their own alcohol inside The Forest. Spirits are NOT allowed. All beverages with paid corkage should be marked with a strip of “sold” tape found in the drawer under the till. This tape goes ALL THE WAY AROUND the drink; either the can or the top of the bottle. This helps us recognise a legit drinker from a scam artist from across the room. If you spot someone drinking a beer/bottle of wine without the Sold tape, ask them kindly to pay some corkage, or throw away their drink. Corkage is split with bands only when requested and arranged prior to their performance. Paying corkage is not much to ask when you're getting a free show.EVENTS
: ALL FOREST EVENTS ARE FREE. Check the program or the event board above the doorway near the cafe counter, or the printed programs which should be lying around the cafe for more information. Events bookings are made through the events book...EVENTS BOOK
: located in the drawers beneath the coffee machine. Give it to people who want to book an event in the cafe. They can read the instructions at the start of the book. THE LIBRARY
The Forest has a free community library, providing opportunities to read and exchange books, and other independent publications. We subscribe to a number of zines...come and have a look! The Forest Library is an ever growing resource, and we always welcome donations of books, magazines and zines.
If you've got any good books please bring them in. The Legendary Forest Book Swap
: some of our books are reference only but most are available to swap. We operate a swap book policy in which anyone can bring a book and exchange for a book in the library.
See a book you like...bring in a book to replace it, get a sticker for it from the counter and you can take home a new friend!FREE SHOP
the free shop is a place you can bring useful things that someone else might want to use. For free. Like: clean clothes. NOT skanky dirty underwear or broken bits of plastic. Help to keep it clean and tidy. Also, you can take things that you need, for free. Simple.FILMS
Monday night is film night. Films start between 8-9pm. Check the program for what's coming up next.
The Forest is the ideal forum for community groups to show documentary films to the rest of the community. Feel free to follow up your film with discussions, talks or workshops. Bookings made through the events book.KEYS
Keys for project rooms like The Cave or the Crafty Room are in the drawers below the coffee machine. To be given a key, people have to be on a user list. member cards. They have to sign out the key and sign it back in when they return it. There is a fee for The Cave.
Keys for other areas of The Forest, eg. Action Room are in the blue drawer under the bench. Check with the Kitchen Manager or Night Manager before handing out these keys, if you don't know the person you're giving them to.Volunteer cupboard/staff toilet
: The red key is sacred. Don't lock it in the toilet. Don't let anybody who's not a volunteer keep stuff in the cupboard. This cupboard is supposed to be used only by volunteers who are on shift at the time. The Lost Property Box is located here.LOST PROPERTY
: There is a lost property register book in the Drawer of Doom underneath the till. When items are handed in, they're logged in to this book and then placed in the Lost Property Box in the volunteer cupboard. If someone comes in to claim something, look in the book first, then go find it in the box. Don't just hand random stuff out to people, or let them look through the box – this is not the freeshop!THE CLEANING CODE
: Not unlike The Bible Code, this is a complex system which connects the filth of our toilet floors with the Knights Templar and their dirty plots to rule the world. No seriously, colour coded cleaning stuff: Green = kitchen, Red = toilets, Yellow = hallways/cafe. Do NOT mix these up. All our lives are at stake.
ELSEWHERE IN THE FOREST... Biz`Art
– artist wares: A place for artists, crafts people and not for profit organisations to sell things and promote their works. The shop is staffed by EVS volunteers. Ask them for more information. Open Tues-Sun, 1.30-7.30pm.THE CAVE
: The Cave is a community music practice space. It is hired at £5 per hour. All bookings are made via the Cave bookings diary. (Not online and not via email). To use the Cave you must first come to a meeting to become a member. Cave meetings are 6 to 8pm on Thursday evenings. There are Cave Membership Cards which people will show when they sign out the key. They must also sign the key back in, so that we have a record of who used the key last. Hand the Cave payments to your Kitchen/Night Manager.DARKROOM
: black and white film processing is available in The Forest Darkroom. People must contact the darkroom people at: firstname.lastname@example.org
before being put on the user list.THE GARDEN
: there is a garden which needs help to “be all it can be”. Talk to Fernando for more information. Check the bulletin board.BRISTO HALL
: the old church hall upstairs can be booked for events. To do this, people need to check the calendar on the Forest website (aecalendar.com) and contact email@example.com
. It costs to hire the hall. Before handing out the key to the Hall, check their booking in the Hall Bookings book, in the Hall drawer...ART GALLERY
: TotalKunst is a volunteer run, open access gallery and Artist’s collective, located in the centre of Edinburgh. A part of The Forest events space and café, TotalKunst is run by members of The Forest Visual Arts working group and is funded in full by the proceeds of the Forest’s café.
The TotalKunst gallery has an open submissions policy and welcomes proposals for exhibitions, one day performances, projects, events and workshops. Information is available on the website or there are flyers in the gallery.FOREST FREE PRESS
: The Forest is an independent publisher. For information about getting work published please check the Bulletin Board. Some of the books are for sale in the BizArt shop.
GRANTS: The Forest does provide grants for small projects. Check the website for more information. LIBRARY
: The Library is in a corner of the Cafe. Books are marked with stickers – more stickers are in the Library drawer under the coffee machine. There are 2 kinds of stickers: books to swap and books for reference only. If you enter a book, please write a note recording the title of the book and place it in the drawer. ONLY swap the swap books, don't let the reference books leave the cafe. If you're rearranging the cafe, try to keep a cosy reading corner near the library.WORKSHOPS
The Forest runs free workshops:
Tues 7pm, Bristo Hall: Forest Choir
Tues 9.30pm, Bristo Hall: Drama Drama Drama
Wed 6pm, Crafty Room: Spanish class (bginners)
Thurs 7pm, Crafty Room: Drum Station – drum jam
Thurs 8pm, The Cave: Forest jam session
Fri 2pm, Crafty Room: Guitar lessons
Fri 3pm, Crafty Room: Saxophone lessons
Fri 4pm, Crafty Room: Spanish (advanced)
Sat 1pm, Cafe: letter writing club
To find out more about current workshops or to organise a workshop contact firstname.lastname@example.org
. To book Bristo Hall go online to http://www.aecalendar.com
. Most Important Stuff:
In the event of serious emergency – Fire, Police, Ambulance – call 999.
Fire – if alarms go off help the kitchen manager to ensure that the building is empty. Evacuation points are across the road from cafe entrance and in the back garden.
If a situation arises which the volunteer team feels uncomfortable dealing with or threatened by call the Police on 999. Before calling Police try calling one of the Collective members:
If you need emergency help with something call one of the Forest Collective – emergency numbers are listed on the blue cupboard where the Roster lives.