Family volunteering at Ickworth

Helen and Freddie in the Servant's Quarters

Helen and Freddie show that volunteering at Ickworth is a great experience for all the family. At Ickworth we'll always work to find the best opportunity for you.

How did you first get involved in Volunteering and what part do you play at Ickworth?

At the beginning of 2019 my youngest son, Freddie, wanted to undertake his Bronze Duke of Edinburgh which comprises of a skills, physical activity, expedition and volunteering section.

We considered a few different volunteering options, but we both kept on coming back to Freddie’s love of Ickworth and history.  Freddie went to primary school at Ickworth and over the years had been involved in the allotments, school tours of the newly refurbished kitchens and basements, sampling new menus at the Ickworth Hotel as well as years of enjoying the walks and countryside around Ickworth Park.  Freddie’s eldest brother had also undertaken volunteering for his Bronze Duke of Edinburgh with Ickworth and his Grandmother was also a volunteer, so it seemed a natural path to also look to Ickworth for his volunteering role.  Freddie knew that he wanted to develop his communication skills and considered being a room guide the best fit for his love of history as well as developing his confidence in public speaking. There was just one hiccup – Freddie had an August birthday which meant he was the youngest in the year and wouldn’t be turning 14, the age when he didn’t need parent supervision, until the middle of 2019.

We discussed options with the volunteering team, and they were really accommodating. Although they hadn’t had a parent and child volunteering team before they were happy to trial the approach and to see if it could be a possibility. 

Was Volunteering at Ickworth what you expected? Anything that you weren’t expecting?

In the March of 2019, we started our induction with the wonderful Mandy. Her knowledge of Ickworth is amazing.  She took us both under her wing and guided us expertly on the key points for the Drawing room – our first room.  Both myself and Freddie were staggered by the number of people who mentioned the chandelier and the infamous Only Fools and Horses sketch.  This prompted a showing of the said clip to Freddie on our return home.

Our second volunteering session saw us down in the basement – we loved the south passage and the various rooms.  It was greatly noticeable how the children interacted with the various living history items and that prompted more questions and discussions. Time seemed to fly, and we still think this is one of our favourite areas of Ickworth.

What’s your favourite thing about Volunteering in this team?

We have now done quite a few of the rooms and Freddie has since turned 14, so is now ready to start his Duke of Edinburgh Silver award and go solo on the room guiding; although I still plan on joining him every now and then. The team are wonderfully supportive and so knowledgeable it makes it so enjoyable and interesting.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of volunteering at Ickworth?

We would both encourage anyone, young or old to volunteer – it’s a great opportunity to meet new people and be part of the wider community.

Get in touch with us and search our opportunities

How about joining our team? You just need to be warm, friendly and have a love of people - we'll teach you the rest. To find out more about getting involved, pick from one of the following:

Whichever you choose, you'll get plenty of advice and information to help you decide.