Here in the West Midlands, the Museum Development Officer’s have been working hard to carry on expanding the vast skills and knowledge of volunteers, and continue to aid the sustainability of volunteers across the sector. The six Museum Development areas of the West Midlands (Herefordshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and the Birmingham Conurbation) recently began ‘Project Jump Start’.
This project has been steered and implemented by Glenis Williams (Heritage Consultant), who has used her experience in the sector to start raising the confidence of our museum and heritage volunteers through tailored sessions.
Glenis explains the project further:
Thinking differently about volunteering
Volunteering is one of the most important ways we can reach our communities and engage with local heritage.
Volunteering is about local talent and local knowledge working closely together bringing our histories and stories alive. “Project Jump Start” is an exciting project complementing the work already undertaken across the region by Museum Development Officers developing opportunities to increase and sustain volunteers operating in Museum and Heritage organisations in the West Midlands.
Project Jump Start aims to raise the confidence level of staff and volunteers by consultation and community mapping and invites heritage sites to start thinking differently about volunteering. Volunteering shouldn’t be about giving up something: it should be about having something to gain. Having worked for the National Trust for the past four years as a heritage consultant, one thing I have learned is that volunteers are individual and come with unique skills and talents. If they are matched well, it is not only rewarding for the organisation, but the volunteer has an opportunity to learn, develop, experiment and discover new skills through involvement, as well as providing roles in which they help us get the job done.