Volunteers' Voice #13: Volunteers' Week 2014

Written by Rob Davies, Volunteer Coordinator.

This week is the time of the year we stop to think about and celebrate volunteering across the country, whether you are a volunteer yourself, an organisation who works with them, or indeed is entirely run by volunteers, this is the week in which we say thank you on a national scale.

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Throughout the University Museums and Special Collections Services we have about 120 volunteers who regularly give up their time to support us. Without them we would struggle to complete major archive projects on time, we wouldn’t be able to deliver major events and our output would be significantly smaller. I am extremely lucky that my role is completely focused on our volunteers as it means I get to work with a wide variety of people, I learn about a myriad of projects and I am never sitting still.

Here are all the reasons I love volunteers:

I love volunteers because they are passionate and want to be here. Sometimes, during a wet Monday morning, work can be the least exciting place but when our volunteers walk through the door they instantly cheer the place up. Their warmth and cheeriness inevitably rubs off on to us.

I love volunteers because I get to meet and work with a variety of people from across the local community, such as students, people looking for work, people with a special interest or people who have retired. Everyone volunteers for a different reason and I think it is great that we as an organisation can offer so many diverse opportunities, from gardening to archiving.

I love volunteers because without them we wouldn’t be able to deliver nearly as much as we do. Volunteers help us deliver large projects, helping as teams on our archive projects such as the Macmillan and Longman project. Volunteers also provide valuable support on the front desk welcoming visitors and helping out on the shop. The visitor experience is also enhanced through our volunteers, as they can go on a tour with a volunteer tour guide and learn more about the collections and see behind the scenes.

I love volunteers because they bring so much to an organisation. Not only do they bring time but they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience which benefits us. Whether this is through knowledge of a particular collection, experience of marketing or managing, or even being a dab hand at knitting, everything a volunteer contributes strengthens us.

Knitted wigs
Our volunteer, Jan, knits sheep for our shop, and also knitted wigs for the judge in our recent (vounteers’) production about the Swing riots

Finally, I love volunteers because they make me smile.

Find out more about Volunteers’ Week

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