Young volunteers at Greenway
Volunteer Reporter, Scarlett, met up with two inspiring young volunteers; 16-year-old Chelsea, a keen historian and Prefect at a nearby college, and talented musician Adrienne, who is in Year 10 at the nearby grammar school. They told her about their experiences as volunteers at Greenway, and the impact it has had on their lives.
Chatting with Chelsea
'It really boosted my confidence. I was very shy and I wouldn’t have been able to talk to strangers' says Chelsea. 'I think it’s definitely helped with the social side and speaking in front of people, which I’ve never done before. It was very scary. I did my oral exam in English, which I would not have been able to do before, and I actually did it on Greenway.'
Chelsea started volunteering in April 2017 as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Award. 'I finished my Duke of Edinburgh Award in October 2017 actually but I decided to continue at Greenway. I’ve been here over a year; it’s very strange! It doesn’t feel like a year. I’ve enjoyed it so much!'
Variety is the spice of life
Chelsea regularly volunteers at the weekend at Greenway, but has also helped with special events. Her love of history is what first drew her to volunteer at Greenway: 'anything to do with history is good for me. I’m going to take it as an A level next year.' Asked about her role as a volunteer at Greenway, Chelsea explained it is quite varied: 'I have had lots of different experiences, I’ve dressed up as an elf for Father Christmas, I was an usherette in the 1950’s cinema, I dressed up as a land girl on D-Day. I also volunteer all around the house. I’ve done lots of different things that I would never have done if I hadn’t of come to Greenway. But what I enjoy best is the people; I like just talking to people.'
'The volunteers and staff are all really lovely people... all the volunteers say that I’m different to when I first met them because I actually talk! I didn’t do much of that before. Volunteering has had a big impact, even though it’s something quite small in a way.' Speaking to Chelsea, who is warm and charming, it is hard to believe that she was once so shy. She takes pride in her role as a volunteer and its clear to see that it has had a great impact on her.
What does Chelsea think young people have to gain from volunteering?
'There is a lot to be gained; social skills, confidence, and general knowledge. The number of questions that I’ve had and I thought, ‘oh I know that answer!’ I think volunteering is something that lots of young people don’t consider doing. They usually go straight into work, but with volunteering, you’re not just helping yourself, your helping others and you are giving back and it’s something that you can always put down on something like a CV… you’ve done this. It is rewarding to you and it’s good for somebody else to see that you’ve done something like that, that’s quite nice.'
New volunteer Adrienne says, 'I think that a lot of the time there is a common misconception that National Trust places and history is for older people. If we got more young people involved in volunteering hopefully it would convince more of them to come here and visit as well... I would definitely recommend coming and volunteering at a National Trust property. It is really nice to get in touch with history and it’s a really nice atmosphere to be around. It is a really calming way to spend your time.'
Doing something a bit different
Adrienne is a brilliant pianist and clarinet player. At Greenway, she splits her time between playing both instruments in various room of the house whilst visitors listen and explore. 'I enjoy the chance to play in different rooms on different pianos because it’s really interesting to sort of get more experience of different places and performing. I think that I am more confident and I know that when I settle down, I can perform to a good standard that I’m happy with.'
'I really like the atmosphere. It’s just a really nice atmosphere to be in, everybody is really kind and welcoming. It’s just nice to get away from a busy life. Meeting new people as well, I’ve gained more experience with people and talking to them and getting their opinions. It’s really nice when people say that they really enjoyed my playing. It’s just a nice confidence booster that I wouldn’t get if I wasn’t here.'
If you'd like to talk to us on the phone about volunteering, why not give Volunteer Officer, Laura Rugg, a call on 01803 842382?
If you'd prefer, you could drop Laura Rugg an email about volunteering.
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