Sheila's Ashridge volunteer story

Sheila selfie at Ashridge, Herts

Sheila has been volunteering at Ashridge for just over a year, welcoming visitors and helping them to have a great time. More about her love of volunteering below.

What do you help out with at Ashridge?

I volunteer on the Visitor Welcome desk and at the Monument. I also used to help run the Powered Mobility Vehicle (PMV) service.

How long have you been volunteering here?

I’ve been here since April 2018, so I’m one of the newer volunteers here (there’s some people who’ve been here over 15 years!)

What do you love about volunteering here?

As soon as I get in my car to come here, I feel an immediate sense of calm. I love coming to the woods and being surrounded by nature, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Furthermore, the staff and volunteers here are so welcoming. They are really lovely and have lots of interesting stories to tell.

Most of all, I love the environment. I’ve been coming to Ashridge my whole life and have fond memories of the estate from when I was a child. It’s always been there for me in the past, as a place to create memories, and now, through volunteering, I get to give something back.

What’s your favourite memory of volunteering here?

We had an exhibition recently about influential women at Ashridge. One was a local lady called Bridget Talbot who lived in Berkhamsted. She was quite eccentric so was well known by locals. It was lovely to hear from so many people who knew her and had memories of her.

What skills have volunteering given you?

As part of my role, I talk to all kinds of people. I love the interaction and it’s definitely improved my communication skills. I also have an improved knowledge of the countryside, nature and what it takes to look after a place like this.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about volunteering at Ashridge?

Try as many roles as you can. I started doing one thing, tried another and then decided that I preferred to do that instead. The team are all really friendly, so get stuck in with as much as you can.