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Volunteer at Sizergh

A visitor with a room guide in the Drawing Room at Sizergh, Cumbria
A visitor with a room guide in the Drawing Room at Sizergh | © ©National Trust Images/John Millar

Sizergh is on the lookout for enthusiastic volunteers to join our team. Volunteering is a great way to make new friends while working in an amazing place and knowing that you're helping a worthwhile cause. Find out more about the kind of roles you can get involved with and what makes volunteering here so special.

Why join us?

There are lots of reasons to join us; making the move to volunteer could be the best decision you ever make.

  • Become part of a friendly and dedicated team
  • Meet people from all walks of life and forge new friendships
  • Utilise your existing skills and learn new ones
  • Strengthen your CV and help to develop your career
  • Enjoy the great outdoors
  • Learn about the history of this special place.

Role call

Hit the shop

We're looking for volunteers to help in the modern, airy gift shop greeting and serving customers and helping with the displays. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, we’d love to hear from you.

Dig it

From propagating vegetables for the Kitchen Garden to making sure the paths are neat and tidy to speaking to visitors, our garden assistants play a fundamental role in ensuring every day runs smoothly in Sizergh’s varied gardens.

In the house

The 100-strong contingent of room guides are looking for new volunteers to join them. Anyone with an interest in history or who enjoys interacting with the public is very welcome.

Ranger roles

Out on the estate, volunteers are wanted to help with conservation work: from fixing walls and footpaths to managing the woodlands.

Volunteers working in the autumn woodland at Wentworth Castle, South Yorkshire
Volunteers working in woodland | © National Trust Images/John Millar

What's it like to volunteer at Sizergh?

After popping along to one of our taster days, Anne-Marie began her volunteering journey with the ranger team, lending a hand on the wider estate to help conserve our habitat for wildlife. Upon falling in love with the house, she now spends her time as a room and tour guide, sharing our history with visitors and helping conserve this beloved family home.

We asked her a few questions on how she's found the past six years volunteering here.

What made you choose Sizergh?

Sizergh was the obvious choice for me as it held opportunities that cover both my interests of nature and history. It was my first time volunteering, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so came for a taster day where I was made very welcome and found it very interesting.

I really enjoyed working out on the estate with the rangers but it was the house that I fell in love with, so I’m now a room and tour guide. When conservation projects crop up, I love to help with those too!

What’s your favourite object in the house?

I think it’s lovely that Sizergh still remains a family home to this day, and the contents are things that the family have collected over the years. This means that we have everything from Romney portraits and Gillows furniture to boomerangs and a duck-billed platypus!

I love the floorboards in the banqueting hall where you can see the old adz marks – revealing their age! But as a favourite, I’ll pick an object that is often overlooked: a table made in 1708 for Winifred Trentham. It has an intricate design of birds and flowers and holds a story of one of the many strong women at Sizergh.

Winifred and her family went to live with the Stuart royal family in exile in France and this is the only piece of furniture belonging to her from that time.

Visitor listening to a room guide at Sizergh, Cumbria
Visitor listening to a room guide at Sizergh | © National Trust Images/John Millar

What’s your favourite room and why?

It’s difficult picking favourites, but I’d have to say the dining room. To me it represents the whole story of Sizergh, right through the ages. It’s located in the medieval tower, which was the first part of the house built by the Strickland family. It also gives visitors their first glance at Sizergh’s glorious Elizabethan woodwork, with an elegant ceiling and skilfully carved ornate over-mantle.

There are also portraits, once owned by the Stuart royal family, hanging on the walls which are here because of historic links between the Stricklands and the Stuarts. The large Victorian dining table with just four legs and the dumb waiter bring visitors right up to the modern day, as these are still used by the Strickland family at banquets and Christmas celebrations.

What’s the one thing that you’ll take away from your experience at Sizergh?

I’ve learned a lot in the last six years, about the house and family, and also expanded my understanding of the conservation of historic objects. But for me I think the most important things I’ve learned are about myself. Volunteering has made me realise I love sharing stories with visitors and helping the place come to life for them, making their visit more meaningful (hopefully!).

Why would you encourage others to volunteer?

All I can say is, if you have the time why wouldn’t you? The beauty of being a volunteer is you can do as much or as little as you want. You will have wonderful support from staff and the opportunity to learn new skills and maybe get involved in something completely different.

It’s a great social activity as you are working with other volunteers and the public. For me working from home can be isolating so this has been a big positive. Even if you feel you are too busy or stressed it is worth giving it a go. It has been my little bit of respite during stressful times, a place where once a week I can forget problems and pressures and just enjoy being in a lovely place with friendly people.

Become a volunteer yourself

If you're enthusiastic, enjoy meeting new people and working as part of a team and, for the estate roles, are reasonably fit, find out more about volunteering opportunities on the National Trust volunteering website and search 'Kendal'.

Thank you

Thank you to all our volunteers who give their time to support the National Trust in many different roles.

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