A working summer holiday

National Trust volunteer, Natalie Smith

As I was quickly approaching the end of my school life I realised I was going to need something to fill the ten week holiday before I started college in September. I wanted to do something useful and fun, and with a passion in photography and history I thought volunteering for the National Trust would be a great opportunity.

After applying, I found out I'd been accepted for all three of my chosen places— Charlecote Park, Croome and Greyfriars.  I was excited to be going to all three as they are so different and covered a variety of time periods. 

First stop, Greyfriars...

The Medieval merchant’s house in Worcester was looking for another member for their conservation team. I went every Tuesday and helped the team to clean and conserve the collection. I have never before seen so much attention to detail towards cleaning. Even the carpets had to be vacuumed a certain way!
I really enjoyed working with a small, close-knit team of volunteers. They were all very friendly and helped me learn some key skills in conversation. Even now when I visit a National Trust house I'm very appreciative of the work that goes into maintaining such beautiful collections.

Next up, Charlecote Park...

I spent a full week experiencing all aspects of the place, from visitor reception to the Victorian kitchen. I was able to gain so much experience from the place and its amazing team. 
Being a lot bigger than Greyfriars, it was interesting to see how the running of the place changes with its size. I learnt a lot about how the behind-the-scenes operations work; from planning a children's event to briefing volunteers.
I experienced many different roles at Charlecote like room guiding, visitor reception, garden talks and shop work, which all have been great things to add to my CV.

And finally, Croome...

I sort of invented my own volunteer role at Croome. I work as a social media volunteer, which means I help run Croome's four social media accounts! 
I currently still volunteer here and I am now part of the social media team, looking after the Instagram account. We have now reached over a 1,000 followers, which I'm really pleased with. I also set up Pinterest account which is slowly taking shape. 
This is a great opportunity as it combines my love of photography and history into some great work experience. 
In the future I'd possibly like to work at the National Trust; I think it's a great place to learn new things.