Building a career with volunteering

Arts enthusiast Lily Green volunteered for the Trust New Art commission ‘Withdrawn’ alongside her part-time restaurant job to help develop her career.

I wanted to get involved with arts in the city and even though the ‘Withdrawn’ project was in its final few weeks, I sent an e-mail of interest to the Leigh Woods team.
 
The next thing I knew I was guiding visitors around five old fishing boats with a lanyard and a clipboard in hand. As part of the project, which raised awareness of the ocean and climate change, old boats were installed into Leigh Woods for the public to view.
 
When the project had finished I decided to stay on with the National Trust. The time I had spent out in the woods made me remember how much I loved being outdoors. Also, the people coordinating me were so lovely and it was quite something cycling across the Clifton Suspension bridge to get to and from the site.
 
Luke Jerram's Withdrawn installation at Leigh Woods
Withdrawn installation in Leigh Woods

 
I'm no stranger to volunteering and in my other roles I was used to being around lots of other volunteers my age. It was only after shadowing at Tyntesfield that I realised my younger age made me an exception.
 
At first, I felt a little out of place, but I soon realised that I have so much to offer with my new ideas, such as the drawing group, Gone Sketching, I came up with. What's more, there is a lot to learn from the other volunteers— they have seen the old house develop over the years and have many stories to tell.
 
 
" Many people at my stage in life volunteer because it’s a great way to develop their career and gain experience"
- Lily Green

 
Although it is difficult working part-time as well, volunteering is a way to reward myself and do something out of the ordinary. In particular the events at Leigh Woods are all so different and inject some variation into my schedule. One day I’m serving coffees in a busy restaurant and the next day I could be on top of the Avon gorge doing a recce for the drawing group or assisting with the construction of dens.
 
I think many people at my stage in life volunteer because it’s a great way to develop their career and gain experience. As there is no financial reward, everyone is there with a shared passion, doing something they love.
 
I hope one day I will find a position that will pay me to do the things I love, but even then I hope I will still find time to volunteer.