Volunteering is the spice of life
Over the past year Mark Grimshaw has climbed scaffolding to clean ceilings, opened boxed bug traps and dusted skirting boards on his knees. He now knows more about decorative plasterwork, bugs and hog-hair brushes than he ever thought possible...
How did you get into volunteering?
It all started about 18 months ago when I went along to a recruitment evening at Croome in Worcestershire. I must confess to not having a clear idea of what I wanted to do, I just knew I wanted to be a volunteer and help out in the most useful way I could.
The emphasis at the meeting appeared to be more on what I wanted to do, not what Croome wanted or needed me to do, which was very useful and refreshing.
What sort of things did you do?
Given my interest in classic cars and driving I stared off volunteering as a shuttle driver, transporting people who are less mobile to the house and back.
Quite quickly after starting, it became obvious that volunteers were needed in a large variety of roles, one of which was for those with a head for heights to staff the temporary scaffold which housed the innovative Sky Café. I took this role on for about nine months, every Thursday morning.
During this period I also took on the running of the myvolunteering resources pages for Croome. This has slowly grown from nothing into a resource used regularly by new and old Croome volunteers alike.
When the scaffold was taken down I was offered a role in the conservation team to help with the winter deep clean, hence my new conservation knowledge.
Alongside these roles I also provide website admin support for the marketing team, devise walking routes around the parkland and produce materials used every day at Croome.
Whilst this sounds like I am a full time volunteer, it actually equates to about two days a week, giving me plenty of time to follow my other interests.
What are the benefits of volunteering?
The various roles have brought me into contact with a huge variety of people, many of which have now become friends. Sometimes I work as part of a team and more often I work alone which suits me personally. There is the opportunity to do both.
There is also the opportunity to change or develop roles which can enhance your skill-set and knowledge. You may start in one role and find something that suits you better. You may even find your niche straight away, but that doesn’t mean you are stuck in one role.
The aim is that you find something you enjoy, that helps fulfil you and supports the Trust in its aims.
So if my experience makes you want to get involved why not contact your local volunteer manager and see if there’s something for you?