'It is satisfying to give something back'

Photo of volunteer Alice Morden and National Trust staff member giving out certificates to children

As part of Volunteers Week (June 1-7) we wanted to shine a light on one of our treasured volunteers, Alice Morden.

Alice first came to volunteer with us 15 years ago, having made her home in Northern Ireland. One of the reasons she wanted to volunteer for the National Trust was having grown up in New Jersey, she says she had first-hand experience of overtourism spoiling a coastal area and she is a passionate advocate of conservation.

Q: Why did you decide to volunteer?

A: I thought it was the perfect activity for someone retired with an abundance of time.  My husband, Harold, and I retired 27 years ago and almost all our holidays have been walking holidays. Seems only prudent that I help protect the environments we enjoy. Being raised in New Jersey, I've seen how a coastline can be destroyed by excessive commercial development.

Q: What did your role involve?

A: I enjoyed doing my bit to give tourists the best possible experience. That could be consulting the bus schedule, telling someone in a wheelchair about Portaneevy Car Park where they can view the bridge, giving directions and information about other National Trust sites, and many other little things that make a difference. I also did the usual reception jobs as selling tickets, answering the phone, and selling certificates. 

Q: What did you enjoy the most about your role?

A: I loved visiting with people from all over the globe and doing my best to make them feel welcomed and valued. I made friends with colleagues, whose friendship I value to this day. They're the best!

Q: Would you recommend volunteering?

A: Absolutely. Volunteering gave me a sense of purpose. I made friends and enjoyed "my office" in an amazing location. I believe in conservation and National Trust gave me an opportunity to do something positive for conservation. Volunteering, to me, was a very satisfying experience. 

Q: What is your favourite memory from your time at Carrick-a-Rede?

A:  My favourite memory of Carrick-a-Rede was when I could persuade one of "the kids" assigned to the "Steel Steps" to trade assignments for a shift. That was my absolute favourite location. The sounds, the views right off the bridge were for me a natural buzz. I also loved the delighted tourists who were awed by the experience, and Pre-COVID, I got many a hug in thanks. It was so good to see the other end of a ticket sale and see people really enjoying themselves and connecting with nature. Once in a while I coaxed a reluctant visitor over the bridge when they otherwise wouldn't have crossed. That also felt especially good.

Want to get involved?

If you think you have time or skills to offer, we would love to hear from you.

Making new friends, working in amazing places and knowing that you're helping a great cause are three great reasons to get volunteering.

We have a wide variety of roles available at the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede.

If you would be interested in helping to look after these special places for future generations to enjoy, please contact Laurence, who will help find a role suited to you. You can email Laurence at: Laurentiu.Ghisoiu@nationaltrust.org.uk to express an interest in volunteering.

You can also browse the volunteer search engine for some of the volunteer roles available: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/find-an-opportunity