Vital volunteers urge others to sign up with arts charity this Volunteers’ Week

Volunteers who play a vital role in the running of Warrington’s leading arts charity are urging others to consider signing up this Volunteers’ Week.

Debra Carnell and Emma Williamson, who have both been with Culture Warrington since 2016, are using Volunteers’ Week to highlight how much they enjoy working with the charity and have benefitted personally from the experience.

Volunteers’ Week, which runs 1-7 June, is a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.

Debra, from Warrington, is unable to maintain a paid job due to her disability but she enjoyed her first taste of volunteering with Culture Warrington at Warrington Festival 2016 and now regularly works shifts at a wide variety of events held at Pyramid and Parr Hall.

The 51-year-old explained her passion for the job: “I’ve been going to events at Parr Hall since I was three so it’s got a special place in my heart; now I get to work there!”

“I used to think ‘what can I do?’ because I couldn’t do paid work but now I’m working at Culture Warrington I’ve been able to meet the most fabulous people; it’s an amazing team.

“Everybody’s so lovely and understanding of my disability and it’s got me out of the house and doing something worthwhile.

“I’ve got something to look forward to, a reason to get up in the morning; it keeps me motivated.

“I do it for free for the love of the place.”

Archaeology graduate Emma, who volunteers at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery (WMAG), has been looking for a paid job in the field since completing a master’s degree in art history and museum curating at The University of Sussex.

She believes her voluntary work with Culture Warrington was crucial in securing a new paid position as document officer at Williamson Art Gallery & Museum, which she starts in June.

The 26-year-old said: “The team at WMAG have given me a lot of advice, they have all gone above and beyond to support me and I’ve gained great, hands on work experience.

“It’s set me up on my chosen career path and I’m so grateful for that.

“To anyone who is considering volunteering with Culture Warrington I’d say just go for it; not only will they work with you but they’ll work around your needs.

“They’re great people and it’s been a fantastic experience.”

During 2018/19 Culture Warrington supported 2,780 volunteer hours and had over 30 volunteers registered.

The majority are placed within the heritage and archives team where research and transcription volunteers work to transcribe documents from the archive collection but whatever an individual’s interests or availability, there is a wide variety of opportunities.

Cheryl Siddall, people, performance and resources director at Culture Warrington, said Volunteers’ Week was a great opportunity to say thank you to the charity’s volunteers for the contribution they make; she commended the passion and commitment of volunteers like Debra and Emma.

“Volunteers play a vital role here at Culture Warrington and we as an organisation are so appreciative of the time they give us,” she said.

“Their efforts are invaluable in creating, delivering and enhancing our services to promote art, heritage and entertainment in Warrington.

“We are indebted to every individual who volunteers with us and we aim to, in return, offer hands-on, meaningful and rewarding work experience.

“Without volunteers a number of our programmes would not take place and our collections would remain hidden.”

To find out more about volunteering with Culture Warrington visit culturewarrington.org/volunteering-at-culture-warrington or call Box Office on 01925 442345.

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For more information or interview requests, please contact Rebecca Mundy, Press & Communications Officer, on rmundy@culturewarrington.org or 01925 443255

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