Volunteering with The Children's Country House

A volunteer on the floor of the Long Gallery playing with two children

Our Volunteers bring energy, inspiration, and a wealth of knowledge about Sudbury, its history and much more. If you are thinking about volunteering, keep an eye on our website for available opportunities or contact our Volunteer Recruitment Team via sudburyhall@nationaltrust.org.uk (or phone us on 01283 586800). Read on to discover how you can get involved with volunteering at The Children’s Country House.

What makes The Children's Country House special?

The Children’s Country House at Sudbury is a place to share stories and let imaginations run wild. We encourage creativity and curiosity across the property, creating a warm and relaxed, yet engaging atmosphere so that children and their families feel free to explore.

Our committed team of around 70 Volunteers are at the heart of everything we do here at The Children’s Country House. From welcoming children and their grown-ups to the property, to supporting with craft activities or keeping the Fundraising Shop running smoothly, Volunteers are visible at every part of the visitor journey. Their passion, knowledge and experience help us to look after The Children’s Country House, its history, and its visitors.

What could volunteering here do for you?

People volunteer with us for a whole host of reasons. For many, it's about trying something different. Some of our Volunteers want to meet new people, make new friends, and learn new skills. Others want to use some of their existing skills to give something back and to help us as a charity. Taking a key role in engaging children in heritage, while helping the National Trust to care for special places like Sudbury Hall, can feel like a wonderful way to do that.

Volunteering at The Children’s Country House is a fun, flexible way to access great training and experience. This might be in retail, volunteering in our Fundraising Shop, or administration by supporting our Business Services team. Other people might prefer gaining hands-on gardening experience in our outdoor spaces with the Garden Volunteers, supporting the Collections team while learning more about history and heritage, or honing customer service skills by volunteering in the Experiences team.

Volunteers are a valued - and valuable - asset to the team. Many staff members have progressed from volunteering roles here or elsewhere in the National Trust. It's a fantastic introduction into a friendly, hard-working team while boosting confidence, accessing quality training, and learning more about the heritage sector.

Whether you're looking to offer your skills, pursue your passion or simply have fun, The Children’s Country House at Sudbury is an incredibly special place to get started.

Make new friends and do something different
Volunteers laughing in a dance rehearsal at Sudbury Hall, Derbyshire
Make new friends and do something different


What does the role as a Volunteer look like?

No two Volunteers are the same and to reflect this, we have a variety of different roles available. Many of our team members support us in more than one role, while others volunteer occasionally – during school holidays, for example. Using our online booking system for shifts means that volunteering can be as flexible as you need it to be. Here are some examples of roles at The Children's Country House:

Experiences Volunteer

Our team of 40+ Experiences Volunteers, breathe life and passion into The Children’s Country House. Whether spending time in the Hall or Museum engaging with children – maybe encouraging them to try something new or chatting about the latest craze – to signposting families to the toilets or the picnic areas, Experiences Volunteers are friendly and approachable. They often find that every day is different, taking real pride in knowing they’ve made a visit to The Children’s Country House memorable for children, families, and all visitors.

A different perspective at The Children's Country House
Volunteer talking to children, viewed through glass cabinet
A different perspective at The Children's Country House

Business Services Volunteer

Our Business Services team are busy behind the scenes in the offices, providing essential administrative support for all departments. Part of this role is looking after telephone and email enquiries, as well as responding to (or passing on) messages. Business Services Volunteers keep things in the office ship shape – this could mean checking stocks of essential supplies but might also involve cash handling or data input. Working closely with staff members is essential, so Business Services can be a great place to meet new people.

  

Door bell pull and instruction plate on the north front of Sudbury Hall, Derbyshire
Close up of the door bell pull and instruction plate / Sudbury Hall, Derbyshire
Door bell pull and instruction plate on the north front of Sudbury Hall, Derbyshire

                                                                                                 

Collections Volunteer

With a building and a collection as large as Sudbury, it's no easy task keeping it in tip-top condition. Volunteering with the Collections team is a fantastic way to learn about the practical side of conservation. This role taps into the science behind the conservation! From day-to-day cleaning, to focused conservation work with our staff, you could be rotating the pieces on display to minimise sun damage, checking for pests, caring for precious items in our collection and helping to look after incredibly pieces of history. Some of the Collections team even get involved with archiving and cataloguing, which can be done very flexibly around other commitments. Collections Volunteers are passionate about history and are fascinated by the different approaches needed to conserve and restore important objects. Life in the Collections team can be summed up by saying “we handle things – carefully.” 

Volunteers cleaning books in Sudbury's library
Volunteers cleaning books in Sudbury's library
Volunteers cleaning books in Sudbury's library

Fundraising Volunteer

Our Fundraising Volunteers are key players in helping to connect visitors with our cause. All money raised here in our Fundraising Shop, stays here and goes towards supporting the vital conservation work at The Children’s Country House. Our Fundraising Volunteers are involved in every aspect of maintaining and running the Shop. Some come in when we are closed to restock, clean and price items ready for sale. Others prefer to help out when we are open, greeting children and their families in a welcoming environment, helping them choose the perfect book to take home. Our Fundraising Volunteers do an amazing job and in the first two weeks of opening in 2022, our dedicated team raised almost £1500! All of which goes directly towards maintaining The Children’s Country House for everyone, for ever.

Our bookshop heroes
Volunteers at Sudbury's second hand bookshop
Our bookshop heroes

Garden Volunteer

For those who love being outdoors, the chance to spend time volunteering in the gardens here at The Children’s Country House is a wonderful opportunity. Our Garden Volunteers work extremely hard to keep the lawns, beds, hedges and woods looking their best, while making safety and accessibility for visitors a priority. They also have a keen interest in conservation, with their work in the gardens helping to build and maintain diverse wildlife habitats. Garden Volunteers will be welcoming to families into our outdoor spaces, taking the initiative to bring out toys and games when it’s sunny – and signposting to the undercover picnic areas when it’s not! They’re happy to chat to families to help them learn about the important work they do in caring for the natural world.

Help our young visitors to learn more about the great outdoors
A volunteer chats to two young girls in the gardens
Help our young visitors to learn more about the great outdoors

How do I get started?

Keep an eye on our website see what volunteering opportunities we have or contact our Volunteer Recruitment Team via sudburyhall@nationaltrust.org.uk (or phone us on 01283 586800) for further information. All volunteers will be asked to attend an information session before attending a selection event. This helps to ensure we can build the strongest possible team to help us engage children in heritage with passion and enthusiasm.

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