Volunteers play an important role in communities as they use their skills and expertise for the benefit of others.
Their unpaid contributions make a real difference, and many community-based projects or voluntary sector organisations cannot operate without them.
We are working to find new and effective ways to help people with support needs to access volunteering at our Ripon based museums. Our ‘Volunteering for the Soul Project’ has been going for a couple of years now and the testimonies from the people being supported are truly inspirational. Volunteers with support needs due to mental health diagnosis/recovery, low confidence and learning difficulties are given close support on real tasks around the museum and in the Victorian Garden.
Over the history of Ripon Museum Trust we have welcomed a wide range of volunteers from researchers, transcribers, front of house visitor hosts and ticket desk operators, maintenance teams, gardeners, workshop leaders, teachers, artists and makers, tour guides and ghost hunters, to name just a few.
Our diverse cohort has shown us that volunteering should be for everybody. Unfortunately, the people who would benefit most from volunteering often face barriers in accessing volunteering roles, and that is why Ripon Museum Trust has prioritised making opportunities accessible and enjoyable for everyone. We welcome everyone, no matter their background or experience to come and get involved.
It is through welcoming people from every walk of life that we, as an institution, develop and learn how to engage with audiences in new ways. Thanks to funding from COINS Foundation, we are able to provide bespoke support to our volunteers in the form of Freya, our Volunteer Support Officer, whose job it is to help volunteers access roles that are beneficial and meaningful to them.
Although this is an unusual role within the heritage world, it is one of the things that help to make Ripon Museum Trust a great place to come and volunteer. It demonstrates our commitment to making sure that volunteers are given the right support to be able to enjoy their work and find a role that is right for them.