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The joys of Volunteering

Thinking about volunteering in 2020? Why not take a look at Engage in Gloucester’s exciting website? We have nearly 200 volunteers at Gloucestershire Archives, and we share some of them with other heritage groups in Gloucester, many of them recruited through “Engage in Gloucester” which offers a whole range of volunteering tasks for those interested in history. Please read this blog from one of these volunteers, Anna from Abbeymead, who tells us about her self-imposed year of challenges in 2019:

The challenge I set for 2019 - as a family - was to fit in 365 hours of volunteering around full time work and family commitments. Engage in Gloucester’s Volunteer Makers website is the perfect place for choosing tasks that can take a few minutes to a few hours.  I popped in what my interests are and received alerts for upcoming volunteering events then I have the option to accept or not, depending on availability.  

This year, I met lots of great people along the way who invest even more than I have in promoting Gloucester, and every experience has been very rewarding... and different. Highlights include: 

- I kicked off 2019 helping with the reopening of St Mary de Crypt.   I carried out numerous tasks, from photographing hundreds of paper wishbones made and annotated by children for display at the opening ceremony, to cleaning and buffing up the pulpit of George Whitfield fame.  

- Working alongside Miss Gloucester as welcoming host for the coaches arriving for the Tall Ships, and then wandering around ensuring that everyone had a great time

- A spot of conservation with weeding outside Llanthony Priory in readiness for the Gaia Earth exhibition, and hedging and tree planting in a number of special interest sites that I didn't even know existed in my local area of Abbeydale/Abbeymead; shame I didn't show as much attention to my own garden and weeding!

- Helping set up the Gloucester Museum Moon Exhibition was a real treat, and I learnt a lot from Nigel about how the museum is run and some of the amazing artefacts they have on display

- Who knew that the Jamaican Independence Day is celebrated in Gloucester Park each year; with my husband on the gate directing cars, me positioning community stalls and my son dashing around with messages and further directing of traffic.  Just generally mucking in where the organisers needed it.

- In September the Heritage and History Festival was massive .... with Green Room hosting and auditorium management, again with sessions to suit my availability in the evenings, and weekends, and the chance to meet some delightful history authors. 

- And later I squeezed in a few more hours inputting data from the History Festival feedback forms, affording me the chance to visit our fabulous Heritage Hub in Alvin Street, home of Gloucestershire Archives ... now I know where to go to get help with my family history quest - challenge for 2020

- I finished the year with a spot of marshalling at the Santa Fun Run - not sure that the elf hat that I had to wear was really my thing! 

I cannot wait to see what pops up on the phone next and what lovely people I get to both help and meet. If you would like to check out opportunities for volunteering, in Gloucester, in 2020, please check out the Engage in Gloucester website at  https://engageingloucester.volunteermakers.org/ 

Anna from Abbeymead

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