Volunteers’ Week 2023: Ann’s Story

6 June 2023

The Brickworks Museum, Bursledon is the only remaining steam-driven brickworks in the country. It is housed in the original Grade 2 listed buildings, complete with the running Victorian steam engine and machinery. Because the site has a very small team of paid staff, volunteers are essential in carrying out the varied work that goes on in the museum.

Ann told the Volunteering Team about her experience finding and doing the opportunity:

Why did you decide you wanted to volunteer?

“I retired from my full-time job about 18 months ago and had always thought of volunteering when I did. I  had volunteered for the covid vaccination programme but with that winding down for the time being I decided to explore different possibilities”.

Were there any difficulties or barriers to finding a volunteer role? Was it easy to apply, what did you have to do?

“I started by making an internet search for volunteer opportunities near me and quickly found advertisements posted by Volunteer First on the Get Volunteering website.  It was simple to follow the links and find out more about the various roles available, then a click of the button took me straight to the Volunteer First website to register my interest in my chosen role”.

“I was promptly contacted by the Volunteer Coordinator at The  Brickworks Museum and arranged to visit and meet her and other volunteers.  I discovered the museum is almost entirely run by volunteers and was immediately made very welcome.  There was a straight forward application form to complete and two references needed to enable me to join the team.”

What have been the best bits about volunteering so far?

“It’s a large, dynamic place and there are a variety of flexible roles available which would suit people with different interests and skills. I’m now working  with another volunteer on collating and displaying the museum’s massive collection of donated bricks! I’ve already learnt so much about the  brickworks history and, believe it or not, the bricks can be interesting, revealing much about our local, social and industrial history. Significant discoveries so far include bricks celebrating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, Charles and Diana’s wedding and the brick that came home to Bursledon Brickworks all the way from the Ilse of Mann.”

What advice would you give other people who think they may want to volunteer?

“I have worked there for a month now, just a few hours a week,  and it has been great to feel part of such a friendly team of people so quickly. I’d wholeheartedly recommend anyone try volunteering. There are many different opportunities for working in small and large teams and the Volunteer First website is very easy to use”.

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