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Returning to Volunteering post Lockdown

Harewood_House_SamVolunteer‘After what seems like a really long time I returned to volunteering in the Terrace Gardens this week. it’s awesome to be back at Harewood!’

‘Three months have passed and I have finally been able to help out at Harewood again, on the Terrace, in the Bird Gardens and the Walled Gardens this week.

Although it is still a strange time with the restrictions and what has been a tough time for all, I feel that returning has been the shining light for me and I am so happy to be back. I have worked with some volunteers who I had not met previously which has been great and my roles have been varied to help get Harewood ready for reopening. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed completing the set tasks each day.

To be surrounded by the beauty of the Harewood Estate has always been inspirational to me, the sounds and sightings of the amazing wildlife also make me feel privileged to be back. I have worked very hard as have the other volunteers and staff in preparation for the reopening which has been both fun and rewarding, I love visiting Harewood and volunteering has enabled me to play a part in making it the special place it has been for years.

I have felt very safe with the new procedures which everyone has been following, I’m sure when Harewood reopens it will enable people the opportunity to make special memories they can tell others about just as I do.’

Sam Booth has volunteered with Harewood on and off since 2016. He came to volunteering after suffering a head injury some years ago. You can read Sam’s previous blog for Harewood and why he volunteers here. 

Nurturing students through volunteering

Whilst we celebrated National Volunteer Week last week, one of the most positive stories to come out of this year is that for the first time we welcomed four students from the University of Leeds, who then went on to gain full time employment at Harewood.

Students Lucy, Rachel, Emma and Hannah all came to Harewood for different reasons. They are now fully employed members of the Visitor Experience team for the season and we are delighted to have them on board and with such knowledge of Harewood already.

Lucy Bowley studied Fine Art at the University of Leeds. She joined us after a university trip to Harewood. She started as a Room Steward.
“I volunteered in the house. I loved chatting to visitors from around the world and sharing the interesting facts about each room. I’m now a Visitor Experience Team Member.”

Rachel Tonks was on her third year of studying Fine Art with History of Art, when she started as a volunteer. She explains that being a volunteer at Harewood House was a good way for her to join her interest for Country Houses and Heritage with her job, while learning more about it.
“I really enjoyed having the opportunity to learn in detail about the house and it felt good to be a part of giving visitors an experience of Harewood that was meaningful and interactive.”

Emma Hunt Shelley is a Classics student who came as a volunteer Room Steward over Christmas.
“I would encourage everyone to volunteer because I really feel that it gave me a once in a lifetime opportunity to work in a place like Harewood and continues to do so every day that I go into work!”

Hannah Lee Hargreaves was in her last year at the University of Leeds when she attended a volunteer open day at Harewood.
“I fell in love with the place, and became a volunteer Room Steward over the Christmas period, allowing me to learn more about the history of the house and the estate. “

These students are a good example of how being a volunteer can lead to a job. We are continually looking for new faces to join our team, you can find out more information online

From budgets to birds, shadowing volunteers during National Volunteer Week

This week saw National Volunteer Week celebrated far and wide at Harewood House Trust, as we aimed to showcase many of our diverse and vibrant volunteers each day, both online and across the House and gardens.

As part of the celebrations, a number of staff from the administrative offices chose to donate their time to shadow a volunteer and learn more about a different department, whilst making new friends of course.

From Director of Finance, Martin Horbury, chopping up fruit for the birds in the Bird Garden, to other Executive team members Hannah Obee and Edward Appleyard driving the shuttlebus, it was an engaging and enjoyable week for those who took part.

Comments included; “There were over 50 different varieties of meal preparations for the birds in the morning, each bird getting their special diet, and it was so impressive to see the team reel off exactly what each bird was having by sight. I’d have happily eaten some of those dishes, if it wasn’t for the mealworms.”

“I particularly like the contrast between the modern and old art which gives a great ambiance to the House.” 

With a Volunteer Open Day to recruit potential new volunteers also, it has been a high energy and great tribute to Harewood’s army of volunteers this National Volunteer Week.

If you are interested to find out more volunteer@harewood.org

Volunteer Margaret – Room Guide

As part of National Volunteer Week, we’re celebrating the many interesting and valuable characters who contribute to making Harewood the place that it is….

Why do I volunteer?

I volunteer because I enjoy meeting people.

What brought me to it?

After being retired a while I wanted to do something different and enjoyed Historical Houses.

What did I do?

Financial Controller

What three things do I enjoy?

Meeting different types of people
By sharing the history of the house and its contents hopefully making it more enjoyable for visitors
The friendship of staff and other volunteers.

What do I love most about Harewood?

What I love most in the house are the ceilings and its contents.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact volunteer@harewood.org 

‘Volunteering has made a positive difference to my life’

SamBoothGardenVolunteerAs part of National Volunteer Week, we have been showcasing many of the great characters who give their time so generously to Harewood House Trust. Here Sam Booth, volunteer gardener, tells his story.

“I have been volunteering at Harewood House Trust as a gardener since April 2016 and will sadly be leaving this June as I am moving to Australia.

During my work I have met some wonderful people, the other staff and members of the public all have made my time there a fantastic experience. I’ve even been fortunate to meet Lord Harewood, he was very friendly and it is clear how much I was appreciated by him and all the team at Harewood.

I have gained a lot of confidence, knowledge of gardening and taken many photos of all the inspirational things Harewood offers!!

I suffer from nerve pain following a head injury and memory problems, I kept a photo diary of the varied work that I’ve done and I will look back at this to remind myself of the great experiences I have had at Harewood. The team have been really supportive and made me really welcome, also understanding my condition and helping me whenever they could. I really appreciate this and it has made a positive difference to my life, I will miss them all.

I recommend volunteering at Harewood, you are really valued as a volunteer, I hope others have the same positive experiences that I have had.

Good luck to the new volunteers.”

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering, email volunteer@harewood.org