Volunteer case study-Penny
Penny Morpeth joined The Weir Garden as a volunteer in early 2018, read about her experience here.
Penny Morpeth-Retail and events
I would describe my volunteer role at The Weir Garden as anything apart from gardening! I chose The Weir as I have fond memories from visiting the garden several years ago and I already volunteered at two other local Trust properties already and have really enjoyed it. I decided to offer my help when The Weir made a call out for volunteers recently.
I work in the shop and tea tent ensuring the environment is clean and welcoming, selling and promoting local and National Trust produce. I talk with visitors answering queries about the gardens when I can and directing them to other sites locally. I also help in Visitor Reception, scanning cards and taking payments as appropriate and informing new visitors about the site whilst ensuring ‘old’ visitors are aware of anything new. Finally, I also help during events, the varied programme means there are plenty of bug hunts, trails and fun to be had.
On a typical day I arrive at 11am and give a brief ‘hello’ to the gardeners who are usually on their break. I then check the site to see if everything is as it should be as well as sorting and manning the small onsite shop. I try to go to the tea tent each time I see anyone in there to welcome them and ensure they are aware where everything is, including the second-hand book shelves. I then take a stroll down to Visitor Reception, give a hand with scanning and selling trails if they’re on. At the end of the day I tidy up the tea tent if necessary, cash up the shop and try to ensure everything is good for the next person.
I decided to volunteer for the National Trust as I like to be doing something and enjoy meeting new people and talking to them. I have had a very full professional life and could not contemplate ‘placid retirement’. Helping other people, however small, keeps you active and makes you feel valued. Doing something new helps the brain to keep active.
I have worked in a voluntary role for over 30 years. I has always given me a sense of worth and added to my life both professionally and personally. Volunteering for the National Trust has given me another dimension. I love it!