Written by Cathy and Lorna, volunteers at Ripon Museum Trust.
When my 14 year old Daughter first mentioned that she wanted to complete the D of E Bronze Award, which was being offered by her School. I was incredibly proud, and decided to support her every step of the way.
We both sat down together, and looked at what Lorna needed to accomplish, and set about deciding on a plan.
1, Physical – Lorna does after school football – ‘tick’.
2, Skills – we have a close friend who is a Chef – ‘tick’.
3, Expedition – School were organising the Expedition – ‘tick.’
4, Volunteering – Now then, what, how, where, ?? – no ‘tick.’
We discussed, working in a Charity Shop, offering her time looking after animals, and other charities which appealed to Lorna – and then just at the right time, I received a generic email from Vicki @ Ripon Museums Trust, about volunteering there.
Lorna loves The Ripon Museums, as do I – Lorna has visited regularly since she was born, so she had the basic background knowledge to make it work.
We both agreed, I would put Lorna forward, which I did, to which we were invited to an informal Volunteering Day.
Over coffee, and biscuits – we spoke directly to Vicki – and yes RMT would welcome Lorna – they were happy to do so, and already capable of offering the support for Lorna, as they already had D of E students attending. Vicki went on to explain (quite rightly so), that I would also need to volunteer, to safeguard Lorna because of her age. Two for the price of one – I jumped at the chance – as I would be driving her across Ripon and waiting around for 2 hours whilst Lorna was there anyway – I might as well be busy.
And that was how it all started – so easy, so welcoming, and so different too – this wasn’t going to be work, it was going to be fun, novel, we were able to dress up, meet plenty of new people and help somewhere, where we were needed.
Vicki took Lorna (and I) through every process, from Health and Safety, do’s and don’ts, where we would ‘work’ – to an Induction.
Another volunteer showed us the ropes and gave us insight into the real history behind RMT – that was really intriguing – ghost stories, real life resident stories, social changes over the years.
I should mention Lorna has a SEN statement – however, that was also considered by RMT, meaning Lorna would really get some great positives from her experience. And she did. Sally was amazing.
So, for the next 7 months (we stayed much longer than the 12 weeks necessary for the D of E,) because we were enjoying it – it was great fun.
Our main role was Front of House Greeters – ie welcoming visitors as soon as they walk through the door. Lorna took a little while to feel comfortable putting herself forward, but when she did – I was ever so proud. Lorna (we) also learnt rag rugging, pumpkin carving, special events, and how to specially cater for people with Disabilities, how to talk to different people, and judge their body language. Lorna’s confidence blossomed, and Her D of E was completed successfully.
On reflection, our time there – found by chance – was perfect for us, and we would say – If anyone reading this is looking for an opportunity to volunteer, whether that be for D of E, or for any other reason – Lorna and I would thoroughly recommend RMT.
We met some fantastic people (both volunteers and visitors alike). We were made to feel we were part of a team, and that we were valued, respected and most of all needed / and wanted.
It is our intention to return next year – and do it all again 😊
We hope that you will too – written by Cathy and Lorna.
If you are interested in volunteering with us join us on Saturday 21 January (2pm – 4pm) for our Volunteer Open Day event at the Workhouse Museum on Allhallowgate.
Meet some of our staff and existing volunteers and chat about what it would be like to volunteer with us. We are specifically looking to recruit volunteers for Front of House and learning roles. If you are interested in greeting and engaging with visitors, selling tickets and providing information or helping to deliver our award-winning learning sessions then we would love to speak to you!