What would a week without volunteers look like?

  • Blog
time 3 min read
Ripon museum volunteers

For Ripon Museum Trust and many other organisations and services it would be a very different week. The social and economic impact of volunteering across the UK is immense and Ripon is no exception with a wide variety of volunteering opportunities available.

Volunteers are the glue that holds our museums together. Enabling us to share the stories of those who lived and worked here, to preserve and protect our three historic buildings and collections as well as reaching all sorts of people in all sorts of ways.

A week without volunteers would mean:

The three museums wouldn’t open – our front of house volunteers give over 5,000 hours a year in order to give a warm welcome to visitors from near and far. Over 30,000 people coming to Ripon, thanks to our volunteers, enjoy a great day out.

The unique buildings would stand empty and fall into disrepair, perhaps becoming derelict or converted. Our maintenance volunteers are talented painters, plumbers, carpenters and electricians who are supported by local trades to maintain our museums.

School children and young people would no longer experience first-hand what life was like in Victorian times by learning outside the classroom seeing history come to life. Our learning team deliver a huge volume and variety of hands-on activities throughout the year to schools from all over the north of England.

School holidays would drag as parents and grandparents would have to search for alternative educational and fun days out for their children. Our volunteers love sharing their skills and experiences with families and friends every holiday with activities such as baking, crafting and sewing.

Wildlife would lose a protected haven in our Workhouse garden if the garden volunteers stopped cultivating and protecting the open space by growing heritage fruit and vegetables with traditional methods.

Memories would be forgotten and lessons from the past not learnt as there would be no volunteers to research, record and collect the unique stories and objects relating to Ripon’s history.

Opportunities to gain work experience and develop new skills for employment would be lost. The friendships formed through volunteering would fade as the shared goal of volunteering together disappeared.

BUT thankfully we do have an amazing team of volunteers who work tirelessly and enthusiastically every week! And they love to welcome new volunteers to the team.

At this time of year lots of people’s thoughts turn to starting something new or making some changes to their lives such as “I want to start volunteering” or “I want to make a difference to my community”.

But taking the first step can be difficult so we would like to make it as easy as possible for you to get involved, ideally at Ripon Museums, or with volunteering in general.

We’ve produced some videos which give a flavour of our volunteering roles and how people benefit from volunteering. Watch and then:

  • Have a think about what you are interested in and what you would like to gain?
  • Have a think about what you can offer?
  • Check what opportunities are available. The Where to Turn directory is a great starting place.
  • Talk to family and friends to find out if they have volunteered or if they would like to get involved with you.
  • Talk to your employer as many organisations support employee volunteering or they may be interested in setting up a programme.
  • Get in touch and come and give volunteering a try!

Ripon Museum Trust has a YouTube channel where you can view the videos made by the volunteers and others about Ripon Museums. We hope you enjoy them.

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