OakMobile Volunteering

OakMobile Volunteer Maria Greenshaw  © Maryam Wahid

OakMobile Volunteer Maria Greenshaw

Maria Greenshaw
OakMobile Photographer

Maria Greenshaw is a photography volunteer for the OakMobile which is a project to raise the profile of the National Trust amongst diverse communities in Birmingham.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m originally from Russia and moved to the UK with my family when I was 13. I went to York St John University and then moved to Birmingham. Now I’ve finished university, I’m looking for permanent work.

What role do you have within the Trust?
I am a photography volunteer for the OakMobile project. It’s my first volunteer role for the National Trust. I’ve previously done voluntary work for other organisations including the British Heart Foundation.

Had you heard of the National Trust before you started volunteering?
Yes. My step-father used to take me to visit National Trust places and I’d been on the lookout for a National Trust role.

How often do you volunteer?
The OakMobile has set dates when it tours different locations in Birmingham over the summer and autumn of 2013, so I volunteer at as many of those dates as I can make.

What inspired you to start volunteering?
I’m interested in old properties and I love photography so when this role came up it seemed like a good one for me.

How long have you volunteered for the Trust?
I started volunteering when the OakMobile project began, at the beginning of the summer.

Why do you think it is important to volunteer?
I think it’s important to volunteer to make a contribution. Preserving history and nature is important. Organisations like the National Trust can’t afford to do this on their own so they need volunteers to make this happen.

What benefits do you get from volunteering?
I’m happy helping. I haven’t got any heritage qualifications, but it’s nice to be able to use my photography skills to contribute. It’s also helped to build my confidence.

Have you learnt any new skills through volunteering?
I’ve learnt a lot more photography skills as I’d only done amateur photography for fun before. I also love meeting new people and I’m enjoying the weird OakMobile!

What has been your favourite moment since you started volunteering for the Trust?
I loved the launch of the OakMobile in Birmingham city centre, even though the horrible weather was a bit of a disaster. I also like helping people find out about the National Trust and visiting new locations with the OakMobile tour.

What is your favourite part about the work that you do?
I love taking photos and the nice people I’ve met. I also like the freedom of the role.

Has volunteering changed your opinion about the National Trust in any way?
It’s not really changed my opinion as I was already familiar with the organisation. It’s nice to see the people behind the logo.