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How it feels to be a volunteer – Trust Director, Jane Marriott

Trust Director, Jane Marriott working in the gardens.

I have always been impressed by the dedication and passion our volunteers demonstrate through everything they do for us at Harewood. However, digging up old tulip bulbs on a sunny afternoon with the garden volunteers in the Walled Garden, I also realised that there is a camaraderie and generosity between the volunteers that makes even the most mundane tasks enjoyable.

Our volunteers come from such a variety of backgrounds and with different reasons for volunteering and that is why they are such a fascinating group to spend time with.

In our garden group, there was a huge diversity of backgrounds which was reflected in our conversations, ranging from the weather’s impact on gardening this year (we concluded that we had leapt from winter straight into summer, with no time at all for the spring season!) ….. to new ways of working being championed by a major retail bank. This particular company had banned mobile phones in the workplace and conducted all meetings standing up. Perhaps something to consider….?

As we turned over the soil, chatted in the sunshine and worked our way up the borders, I was struck by two things: how lucky I was to have a job where everyday I get to meet fascinating new people, outside in such a glorious setting and secondly how fortunate we are, that even in the frantic pace of life today, people are still prepared to give their time up for our charity and make such a difference.

The volunteers are a great advert for Harewood – they are passionate about the place, warm in their welcome and they share our ambitions for Harewood, which we are all determined and excited to realise over the next few years. It was a privilege spending time with them, even if I did perhaps, do more talking than digging!

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