"The sense of belonging to an organisation such as the National Trust is special. They support you and make you feel part of their team"
Meet Kim, a Volunteer at Wimpole Estate.
Please tell us more about yourself and your volunteering work
When I retired in 2013 I found that I had time on my hands, so I decided to seek out a volunteering role and that’s when I found the National Trust (NT). The NT provided me with an opportunity to get my ‘fix’ of seeing beautiful countryside and the historic houses. I started off as a ‘House Welcomer’, but over time I became a buggy driver, helping at Easter Trails, Christmas Craft Events as well as part of the Conservation Team, where I washed windows, vacuumed floors of a 16th century house and undertook room surveys. Last year, I moved to Bedfordshire and wanted to continue volunteering, so I transferred to Wimpole Estate where I currently volunteer in Food and Beverage (F&B) section. It is something completely different and was outside my comfort zone. This has provided me an opportunity to work as part of a team with a variety of colleagues who have an age range from teens to sixty plus. I find it keeps me young, chatting with a wide range of age groups. Part of my role at F&B is to clear tables, pot wash, serve food and when time allows chat with the visitors. I have also joined the Events Team which provides me more time with our visitors such as having fun with kids during the Easter Trails and there’s an opportunity for engage my creativity through-out the year.
How long have you been a volunteer?
I can’t believe that I have been volunteering for the National Trust for nine years the time has gone by in what seems to have been a few seconds.
What kind of roles are available in Food & Beverage at Wimpole?
The F&B Team allows you to do as little or as much as you want to do. We have volunteers who just clear tables and chat with the visitors.
The key roles in F&B are:
· clear tables,
· wipe tables,
· pot washer (in other words washing up),
· serve food & drinks, and
· talk with our visitors and help them in any way you can.
All volunteers have to undertake formal training as part of working within the F&B environment. Some of the volunteers also take on other roles within the Estate such working on the Farm or the Events Team like me.
Why did you decide to start volunteering?
People choose to ‘volunteer’ for a variety of reasons. For some it offers the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around them. For others it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experiences and knowledge. For me, it was to meet people, to stop feeling so isolated when I retired and I really get a buzz from team working. The sense of belonging to organisation such as the NT is special. They support you and make you feel part of their team, with staff and volunteers all working towards a common goal and of course, it is great to work at properties which I have grown to love, in environments which are beautiful.
Why would you recommend volunteering to others?
So, I would say if you have any time free and would like to meet people and use your skills or even gain some new skills, at the same time giving something back to the community do consider volunteering, it is great fun. Come and check out what the Wimpole Estate can offer you as a volunteer. Just find a role that you are passionate about or something that inspires you. There are dozens of reasons to volunteer; you just need to find the one that feels good for you.