Hear from a Calke volunteer

A Room Guide volunteer at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire

Volunteer coordinator, Emma Thompson, sat down with House volunteer Becky on a chilly January morning to find out what it’s like being a part of the large volunteering team at Calke.

Becky, who has been a volunteer since January 2015, has always had a fascination with historical houses so being a part of the National Trust team was an easy choice to make. She found out about the opportunities of voluntary work at Calke by visiting with her family and engaging in conversation with a volunteer. ‘You’re lucky to spend time in this beautiful place’, she said, to which the volunteer replied, ‘why not volunteer?’ Becky did, and the rest is history.

Due to the growing visitor numbers that Calke is seeing, Emma asked Becky what challenges come with this. ‘I think it’s really good! When families visit, you have to engage and encourage the children, otherwise where will our supporters be in the future? It won’t encourage people to go into careers in conservation if we don’t.’

Becky’s love of history and enthusiasm for large houses stems back to her childhood when she would visit large houses and let her imagination run wild. She recognises this in the children she interacts with at Calke.

Volunteering at Calke provides a platform to making new friends and a sense of being a part of a community. Becky has developed a social group outside of Calke and goes on regular walks with other volunteers as well as meeting up over festive periods. ‘It’s lovely that we all look out for one another.’

From volunteering at Calke, Becky can share her personal interest in marriages and connections, particularly links to nearby families such as the Duke of Rutland. If it wasn’t from volunteering at Calke, Becky wouldn’t have met people with a shared interest and her research and findings would be left un-used.

To conclude their morning catch up, Becky was asked how she would sum up volunteering at Calke and how it had affected her.

‘Definitely the best thing I have done. For anybody that’s recently moved to the area or doesn’t have a family nearby – I would highly recommend it.’