A Stoneywell Conservation Volunteer

Conservation volunteer Chris restoring a sewing machine found at Stoneywell, Leicestershire

Chris joined the volunteer conservation team at Stoneywell in late 2015 and since then has created an inventory for items in the collection. We caught up with Chris restoring a sewing machine that had been forgotten about in the woods, to find out more about his volunteering experience.

Why did you start volunteering?

Having been made redundant and spent too long doing nothing having been unable to find employment I thought I ought to be doing something positive and 'giving a bit back'. Quite by chance I came across the Volunteer Recruitment Day at Stoneywell and came along to the event. Initial interest was gardening but no garden volunteers were required so I went for conservation which I am really enjoying.

What is your role and what are you involved with at the moment?

I'm a conservation assistant. I've been doing a lot of inventory work, recording details by hand. Just started some training on the National Trust's collection management system (known fondly as CMS), and I'm looking forward to getting more involved with that side of things and getting items logged in to the system. Every object in the collection needs to be included on this online inventory and, as we're a fairly new property, we have to start all this work from scratch.

What's your favourite thing about volunteering?

Getting out of the house and meeting new people and learning new skills - I'm finding that I am enjoying it possibly more than I thought I might!

What makes Stoneywell special for you?

The fact that it is a small property and I can get to know the property and contents maybe better than would be the case with somewhere larger. Having said that I wouldn't pass on the opportunity to try working somewhere larger although Stoneywell is the closest property to me geographically speaking.

What advice would you give for anyone who's thinking about volunteering with the National Trust?

Go for it! There are various roles available to suit different people - I personally wouldn't want a predominantly visitor-facing role, which is fine as the role I am supporting with does not require this on a regular basis.