Chris Mitchell: Why I volunteer

Chris Mitchell, Volunteer retail assistant, Kingston Lacy, Dorset

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Chris Mitchell - Chris Mitchell, Volunteer retail assistant

Chris volunteers as a retail assistant at Kingston Lacy, Dorset. In this story adapted from our summer magazine, he tells us about how he finds his role rewarding helping to keep the shop running smoothly.

The house at Kingston Lacy

My daily routine

Every Thursday you’ll find me in the shop at Kingston Lacy – normally behind the scenes in the storeroom. I keep everything moving so that visitors can find the best of what we have on offer when they’re looking for a special memento of their visit. I unpack new stock deliveries and keep everything organised so we can provide excellent customer service.

It’s not like the rugged ranger work to look after our countryside, neither is it as challenging as being a room guide, bringing history to life. But being a retail assistant is highly rewarding, making sure people get the most out of their visit.

Chris at Kingston Lacy, Dorset
Chris at Kingston Lacy, Dorset
Chris at Kingston Lacy, Dorset

My volunteer journey

I started volunteering at Kingston Lacy unexpectedly just over a year ago. When I was visiting with my wife one day, I got chatting to the shop manager who joked that I should volunteer when I mentioned that I was retired. The rest is history, and I’ve enjoyed being a part of the team ever since.

" There’s never a day when I walk away and don’t get a ‘thank you’. I really feel valued, and hope it’s reflected in the service I offer."
- Chris Mitcheel, Volunteer retail assistant

I spend most of my time in the shop, but I sometimes help out in the café and on reception if it’s busy. I’m also training to lead visitor walks. There’s so much to get involved with and I’m always happy to get stuck in wherever I’m needed. In return, I’m learning so much about the estate and discovering its hidden gems. Volunteering here has expanded my knowledge of what the Trust does, and has given me a great sense of purpose, too.

Gifts on display at Kingston Lacy shop, Dorset
Gifts on display at Kingston Lacy shop, Dorset
Gifts on display at Kingston Lacy shop, Dorset

Feeling valued

There’s never a day when I walk away and don’t get a ‘thank you’. I really feel valued, and hope it’s reflected in the service I offer. I like to think I contribute to visitors’ enjoyment of coming to this amazing place.

This article was first published in the National Trust Summer 2018 Magazine.