Celebrating 15 years of volunteering at The Workhouse

Workhouse volunteer in costume

Volunteers have been at the heart of The Workhouse since it opened to the public 15 years ago and even before. Without volunteer research which started when the National Trust acquired the property in 1997, we would not have been able to build an accurate picture of what life was like in the institution from its foundation in 1824 to the 1970s when it finally closed. Through their different roles volunteers have made an essential contribution to the day to day running of the property. Their skills, knowledge and enthusiasm have enhanced the visitor experience over the years and they are now increasingly involved in shaping the future development of the property.

This year 28 volunteers have received their 15 year long-service medals, together with many others who received awards for 5 and 10 year service. In 2017 alone 19,500 hours of voluntary activity has been recorded ranging from room guiding to gardening and catering to education.

New Year’s resolution?

Have you made a resolution to do something different in 2018 and have been inspired to find out more about volunteering then follow this link.

We are holding a Taste of Volunteering event on Saturday 20 January 2018 where you can join a tour of the outside of The Workhouse, talk to volunteers and learn more about the building's fascinating history. Pre-booking required, please contact Emma Michalak on 01636 817263 or email emma.michalak@nationaltrust.org.uk

We are currently looking to recruit to the following roles:

Volunteer serving in the new cafe
volunteer serving at cafe counter

Café Volunteers welcome people,help prepare, serve food and drink with a smile. They help keep the café clean and tidy. They understand the importance of a little sit-down, help visitors to relax, refuel and refresh during their visit to The Workhouse.

Volunteer putting out plants for sale
Volunteer working at plant sales stand

Visitor Service Volunteers are the first face that the visitor sees when they visit. Volunteers welcome visitors to The Workhouse, check membership cards and enrol new National Trust members by promoting the benefits of membership. This role is absolutely crucial in the day to day running of The Workhouse as it raises funds which are vital in keeping the property open for future generations.


Volunteer gives a helping hand to a young visitor
Costumed volunteer shows young visitor how to wash clothes

Learning Team Volunteers consist of a number of roles (costumed and non-costumed) who deliver educational tours and workshops to schools and colleges. Learning Team Volunteers may, if they wish, take part in a wide range of events aimed at families too. All volunteers offer a welcoming presence to the children, young people and their teachers who visit us, and provide accurate information about The Workhouse in an appropriate learning environment.

The Workhouse Storytellers are a group of volunteers with an enthusiasm for sharing the tales of the building's former occupants.Each story is inspired by the wealth of information in The Workhouse's records, which include census documents, punishment and medical records and correspondence with the Poor Law Commissioners in London.

Volunteer room guide shows a visitor the water pump which still functions today
Volunteer explains the workings of the water pump to a visitor

Room Guides help supporters/visitors to enjoy and learn more about the Trust property they
are visiting – so playing a key role in making visits inspiring experiences. At The Workhouse, Room Guides are the first point of contact for our visitors and as such are key in helping people to engage with the property, past and present. They enable visitors to understand the visitor route and the various interpretive tools. There is no typical day for a Room Guide as the experience is as varied as our visitors, making it a rewarding and interesting role.