Post by Joanna Mead, Volunteer Administrator
Who knew that an hour long history tour of the Palace five years ago would prove to be such a positive life changing moment for me? I came away from the tour with my knowledge of the Palace greatly increased and, more importantly for me, I had been inspired by the enthusiasm and the role of the volunteer tour guide. I decided there and then that I wanted to become part of the volunteering team. My chance came a few weeks later when I saw a call out for volunteers on a local web site forum. I applied and was warmly welcomed into the team by both the volunteers and the members of staff at the Palace. Over the next 18 months I took on a variety of volunteering roles including stewarding on the history tours, running the War on the Home Front exhibition and writing various research projects.
I discovered I found volunteering a very rewarding experience and enjoyed sharing my new found knowledge of the Palace with all the visitors to our activities. And of course, another positive was meeting a whole new group of people and making new friends!
In the Summer of 2015 my life would be changed again when the opportunity came up to help run the volunteering programme – but this would mean committing to being in the Palace office one day per week. How could I do this when I was working full-time for a media company? The answer came from the flexible working policy my employer has in place; through this I was able to adapt my working week to working five days in four by doing four longer days (being an early morning person helps!). I am so grateful for being allowed to do this, and my company benefits too as I find I am much more focused during the days when I am in the office. From a personal perspective my work/life balance has been transformed. Three years later I still look forward to coming to the Palace each week and it is great to be part of the Creative Learning department, who are always very appreciative of the work I do.
Being involved in the running and development of the volunteer programme is hugely rewarding for me and I’m immensely proud of what all the volunteers and I have achieved together over the past few years – we have built a fantastic team of very dedicated volunteers and have expanded the variety of projects we’re involved in. With the regeneration project reaching its completion it’s an incredibly exciting time to be part of the volunteering programme. During Volunteer’s Week, via our Blog and social media channels our team of volunteers will be showcasing the various different ways they have been involved in volunteering at the Palace. Follow us each day and learn about the family activity the volunteers planned for the Haringey’s Weekend of Play, Jane’s visual ‘journey’ of why volunteering is so important to her and see our volunteer led tours. Or what could we learn from you? We also explore our successful volunteer mentorship pilot and the benefits this has for staff members. And what do our Fundraising Volunteers get up to? Find out in Jeannie & Sally’s entertaining blog post.
Feeling inspired? Then get in touch with us, who knows where it might lead you. You could be that volunteer who inspires others and changes their lives – just like Sean, the tour guide on my history tour did for me!
Alexandra Palace is a charity, run for the benefit of everyone. Our Park, Palace and spectacular events have been enriching lives since 1863, but the coronavirus pandemic has hit us hard. To be blunt, we are looking at a £1m shortfall this year and the same again next year. We know this time has been hard on many people but, if you can afford it, your support will help us get through this crisis.