Volunteer Story: Karen

Volunteer Karen at Weston Park Museum © Museums Sheffield

“Volunteering has introduced me to some fantastic new people”

In 2017 I recovered from breast cancer and figured now was the time to see whether my experience and skills could be put to good use in the public domain, and this was the beginning of my journey as a volunteer for Museums Sheffield!

I have had all sorts of interesting roles as a volunteer. At the moment I support the Retail Manager with admin one morning a week. The work is interesting and varied, and something completely new for me. I am brushing up on my IT skills, and working alongside some lovely people. I have done a few other administrative bits and bobs, such as inputting date and checking the local press for articles. Using my ‘teacher head’ I have supported a print workshop for school children (something I previously brought my own class to!) and spent a wonderful morning stationed on a ‘Talking Table’ at Weston Park Museum meeting interesting people.

The staff are always kind and friendly and have provided proper training for everything I have been involved in. Folding origami doves for a fundraising event certainly provided a challenge and a lot of fun as we ‘mastered’(?) the art! Thank goodness for the young high school pupil who patiently put my misshapen efforts right. My first recognisable origami dove has pride of place on the mantelpiece!

I believe the arts are an essential part of life, and not a luxury to be enjoyed by a few. Our city has a wonderful heritage and a rich legacy to be shared. Money is always tight, but this should not be a barrier which marginalises or denies access. If my skills can be used in some small way to support arts provision Sheffield, count me in.

Volunteering has introduced me to some fantastic new people, and given an insight into how a trust is managed. It is fascinating to see teams of people pulling together with the common aim of providing quality artistic experiences and opportunities in our city. I have learned such a lot visiting storage facilities and attending training sessions, and with the mandatory cuppa and cake afterwards, well, what’s not to love?!

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