The life of a Volunteering Officer

04 Feb 2019

I am strong believer in doing something that not only I believe in but that has a genuine benefit to people and to society as a whole. That’s part of the reason I considered careers in the police force, ambulance service and why I’m incredibly proud to say my soon to be husband is in the RAF.  However after studying history at University and volunteering at my local National Trust property I became inspired and amazed by the many benefits heritage and the historic environment provides. I therefore decided to follow a career in the slightly less dangerous (unless you’re regularly climbing towers and scaffolding!) heritage and museum sector.

So why historic churches? I have never been brought up religiously, nor do I follow a particular faith.  However, I have an immense amount of respect and love for church buildings, what they represent and the history that is entrenched within them.  I find that regardless of your beliefs, each and every church building does seem to have a certain spiritual element to it.

The importance of religious heritage

Religious heritage, in one form or another, has been at the centre of people’s lives for thousands of years across the world. The churches under our care have been serving their local communities for centuries, being there at the beginning, middle and end of everyone’s lives as they go through each milestone.  I for one find that pretty amazing, and humbling when you consider how long a lot of these structures have been in place, watching the landscape change before them.

I have been very lucky over the past two years to work with some incredible volunteers. It is a genuine pleasure and joy to see the passion and dedication shown for local historic churches by local people.  The North, where I work, has come leaps and bounds from where we were just two years ago in engaging communities through openness, honesty and transparency when it comes to costings and the challenges our churches face in the modern world. None of this would be possible without our volunteers and local communities and my gratitude to them is endless.  I think that being an Area Volunteer would be something I’d really enjoy doing in retirement…

What the future holds...

Historic churches today face a huge challenge to secure their future, and I am very proud to be working to help that cause.  As said in a certain well-known manual, and one that I studied in depth at university:

‘We cannot stop the clock, nor the inevitable deterioration that comes with the passage of time, all we can do is slow down the process as much as possible.  We are merely stewards of these special places and we will do everything in our power to make them sustainable and secure for future generations to enjoy’.

That quote has always stuck with me, and applies to every aspect of our work, from conservation to community development.

Here's to the next 50! Happy Birthday CCT!