I first came across the Trust whilst studying for an MSc in Historic Building Conservation, when Diana and Rosie kindly invited me to a meeting of key stakeholders looking to save a truly remarkable building, the Tin Tabernacle in Kilburn. Seeing them in action, I got a real feel for the difference the Trust could make, both in terms of saving vulnerable buildings and bringing real social benefits to local communities. This inspired me to approach the Trust and offer them my skills as an unpaid volunteer and I’ve never looked back.
Being a volunteer should always be a two way process with the volunteer, not just the organisation, benefitting from the arrangement and I can truly say that this has been my experience of volunteering with the Trust. They have offered me opportunities to volunteer in a wide variety of areas, utilising the skills I have to give from both my career and my Masters. I have undertaken primary and archival research to uncover the history of a pair of Chapels at South Ealing Cemetery whilst also undertaking a community engagement campaign for the same project. I’ve also been able to input into a project to deliver the Trust’s Strategic Plan, to lead on a rebranding exercise, and to lead on the redesign of the website. I’m also now helping the Trust with developing its stakeholder engagement strategy. Having given up my time and skills to help the Trust I’ve benefited in return by getting valuable first-hand insight into how the process for saving buildings at risk works and from the new networks I’ve been able to develop with the people I’ve met.
I would strongly recommend volunteering with the Trust to anyone that is considering it, particularly if you have skills in community consultation, event management or fundraising as these are areas where the Trust needs help from volunteers in order to deliver its strategic objectives.
Philip Smith (former volunteer and now a Trustee and member of the Building Committee)