A volunteer's year out working at The Vyne

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Geoff Smith
Visitor enjoyment services
The Vyne Hampshire

Change is good for the soul
After a long career in the financial industry I found myself between jobs not knowing what direction to pursue. In June 2010 I decided I wanted to get involved in some form of voluntary work. I've always had a lot of respect for the aims of the National Trust and the great work it does. Reading comments from existing volunteers and staff of their personal experiences revealed a common theme. Being part of this institution was something special and at the same time highly rewarding to them on many different levels.

Making things happen
Nine months on a lot has happened. I am a bit of a workaholic by nature and so I have thrown my self into volunteering with the Trust in a rather full on way.
Fundraising, buggy driving, customer services, retail, gardening, project management, visitor surveys, volunteer feedback meetings and so on. I felt I needed to experience as many areas as I could in order to understand the challenges. I figured this way I could become more effective in my volunteering capacity while networking with staff and volunteers to make things happen.

Working with great people and friends
I have worked with some wonderfully dedicated people. Staff have been both supportive and encouraging, freely sharing their insights, time and knowledge and I have learnt much in a short space of time. Knowing that I have contributed to something permanent and lasting that will give great enjoyment to others for many years to come. Well, it just feels good...

Job satisfaction
Recently I have been invited to participate in the development of this new website for The Vyne. It is a welcome challenge because I can use skills from my previous career while also developing new skills along the way.

The greatest satisfaction I have found comes from helping others, be they volunteers, staff, or visitors. At the end of a day a simple thank you is wonderfully energising.

Summing up..
Joining the National Trust has been one of my better decisions. I have met some interesting and like-minded people of all ages and enjoyed immensely my involvement in the many areas of the Trust's work, not least meeting and talking to our many visitors. I have been empowered to make a difference and for that I am very grateful.