Profile of an intern at Newark Park

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Anneka Harris
Visitor experience intern
Newark Park

Over the summer of 2012, I have volunteered at Newark Park as a visitor experience assistant. It's been a fantastic experience that has helped me to develop and learn skills, while gaining an insight into the operation and management of a National Trust property.

I enquired about volunteering for the National Trust whilst studying for a Masters degree in Heritage Management. I was looking for an opportunity to get behind the scenes of a heritage organisation and gain new experiences that would complement my studies.

I have been involved in a variety of projects ranging from marketing, research and design to setting up teddy bears’ picnics and serving in the café.  All of the projects have been designed to improve visitor enjoyment and my particular favourite has been the 'tracker pack'.

The tracker pack offers families a range of activities to help them explore and appreciate the history and beauty of Newark Park. Learning about the parkland and its rich history has been fascinating; deciding how to share this with children and how best to capture their imaginations has been both a creative and rewarding experience.

Every day at Newark Park is different. I love seeing the house bustling with visitors and observing their excitement and interest when discovering Newark’s history and secrets. Meeting the other volunteers and hearing their stories and experiences has been fascinating. The knowledge they have between them is vast. I’ve felt a real sense of pride when watching children playing with the trail sheets I designed for the teddy bears’ picnic.

The office based projects that I have been involved with will provide a lasting contribution and it's rewarding to know that my work will have a long term benefit to a charity I admire and support.

As a volunteer, the contrast you get to see on days when the house is closed to the public is amazing; there is a real sense of isolation in this beautiful corner of the Cotswolds and it has been a privilege to wander the gardens with nobody around but the peacocks.

The volunteering experience has been hugely rewarding and fulfilling; it has given me invaluable experience for my CV, at a time when practical experience is especially sought after by employers.

Not only has my role been professionally rewarding, but it has also been great fun and I would recommend volunteering for the National Trust to anyone.