Volunteering at Grimsthorpe – FAQs
- What are the benefits of volunteering?
Volunteering is a fantastic way to give back to your local community using your time and skills to the benefit of a charitable organisation. It is an opportunity to make friends, learn new skills and improve your experience and CV. Volunteering can have many health benefits and can bring communities closer together.
At Grimsthorpe specifically, volunteering is an excellent way to learn some local and national history, improve visitor access and services, and be part of the effort to not only preserve Grimsthorpe for future generations, but to share it with visitors and ensure its longevity. At Grimsthorpe you will make friends and connections with similar interests or goals in life, improve skills according to your role, and have access to the Castle, park and gardens in your free time when we are open to the public.
- Who can volunteer at Grimsthorpe?
We welcome people from all walks of life to volunteer with us, no matter how much or little time you can give. We particularly welcome young people, disabled people, those from the LGBTQ+ community and BAME volunteers; people who identify with these groups are less likely to volunteer or have a positive experience volunteering, and so we have extra support in place to encourage and improve access to volunteering.
- How much time do I have to give?
This will depend on the role, and for those taking part in time-limited projects expectations will be different. As a general guideline we hope that our volunteers can help us at least once a month, but we welcome anyone who can give as much or as little time as they are willing to give. Take a look at the individual volunteering roles we have on offer to see what would be ideal for you, and take it from there.
- What is the age limit to volunteer?
The minimum age to volunteer with us is 16. There is no upper age limit to volunteering; a volunteer’s ability to complete a task or role will be assessed on an individual basis.
- What skills do I need to volunteer at Grimsthorpe?
Each individual role description will have any particular skills required listed, however most roles do not require specific skills and training can be given for most opportunities if appropriate. What’s more important is a positive attitude and a willingness to learn!
- Can I claim benefits whilst volunteering?
Yes, you can volunteer while you are receiving benefits as long as the work you do is unpaid, and you meet the rules of your benefit. You can find all the latest information about volunteering and benefits on the gov.uk website.
- Will expenses be paid for?
Expenses are paid for which cover volunteers’ travel up to 20 miles each way, and other expenses agreed in advance in writing by Grimsthorpe. When you begin volunteering, you will receive more information and instructions as to how to claim expenses.
- What training and support will I be given?
Each volunteer will be supported and supervised by a designated member of staff to ensure that your volunteering experience is a positive and rewarding one. There will also be other volunteers and members of staff with more experience who you will have the opportunity to learn from and speak to throughout your time at Grimsthorpe. Volunteers who have support needs are involved wherever possible in order to facilitate and ease your training and ongoing role at Grimsthorpe.
Relevant training will be provided on site and you will be given the support you need to complete this. Training will include health and safety awareness and fire evacuation training for all roles, and any specific training will be detailed to you by your supervisor. You will be supported throughout your training.
Each volunteer will receive a Volunteer Handbook with all the information included which you need to started.
- What support is there for minority groups wising to volunteer?
We actively encourage young people, BAME volunteers, disabled people and those who identify as being part of the LGBTQ+ community to volunteer, as we recognise that these groups as a whole are less likely to volunteer, or indeed have a less positive experience volunteering. As such, we have measures in place to support these groups, such as:
- Developing strategies, processes and policies to improve diversity at Grimsthorpe.
- Asking each new volunteer if they have any additional access needs, and if necessary adapting risk assessments and/or training to better accommodate them.
- Reaching out to specific target groups in the community.
- Creating training materials for equality and diversity in the workplace.
- Making sure communications and images reflect diversity and are inclusive.
- Creating a welcoming and inclusive culture for volunteers and the wider organisation.
- Developing processes and roles which recognise and address barriers – e.g. having a wide range of flexible roles, training and resources to support volunteers.
We recognise that Grimsthorpe is for all, and seek to ensure that people from all walks of life are welcome, whether they be a member of staff, a volunteer or a visitor.
- I am not a British national, can I volunteer at Grimsthorpe?
Refugees who have ‘settled status’ and asylum seekers are allowed to volunteer with us with no restrictions. Visitors to the UK may volunteer with us for up to 30 days. If you are not sure how this works or what applies to you, please do get in touch for more information, and visit the gov.uk website for clarification on volunteering for you.
We have many different volunteer roles at Grimsthorpe. Following our risk assessments, we have identified different PPE requirements for each role and situation. When you meet your supervisor, they will outline all of the PPE requirements as well as how we are ensuring our roles are Covid secure. If your role requires PPE then we will provide it to you and it must be worn.
- How have you made volunteering Covid secure?
To help keep everyone safe, we have introduced measures for visitors coming to Grimsthorpe during our open season, including: encouraging booking online in advance to anticipate visitor numbers; asking visitors to wear masks in the Castle and Gift Shop; placing hand sanitiser on entry and exit points; reducing visitor capacity in the Castle and Gift Shop; installing social distancing markers; and instigating one way systems in the Castle.
We have introduced more rigorous and more frequent cleaning regimes in all toilet areas, the playground, the Ticket Hut and in the Gift Shop. Staff and volunteers are provided with masks to wear in indoor spaces and sanitising wipes and gel are provided for staff to use. We insist on twice weekly lateral flow tests to be undertaken by all seasonal staff and volunteers, with results sent to the Visitor Experience Lead, as well as Track and Trace systems being in place for both staff and visitors.
Additionally, we’re supporting Visit Britain’s We’re Good to Go scheme, an industry standard consumer mark that shows our sites adhere to government and public health guidance. In order to qualify, our site is required to complete a checklist confirming it has the necessary risk assessment and measures in place, including staff training, social distancing measures, and high hygiene standards.
Your supervisor will give you more details on the precautions we have taken and what this means for the volunteer team when you meet. We will provide training for Covid safe measures when you begin your volunteering.
- Why do you need volunteers?
Grimsthorpe & Drummond Castle Trust is a registered charity that relies on charitable donations to keep the historic Grade I-listed castle and wider estate intact and preserved for future generations, as well as to open it to the public. Without the generous and dedicated time put in by our volunteers, we would not be able to offer the excellent services we currently run for visitors for them to enjoy Grimsthorpe recreationally and educationally.
Amongst many other things, having volunteers means that we can accept more school groups, passing on the history of country estates to the next generation; put on more educational events and exhibitions that share the history of Grimsthorpe to the public; work on making Grimsthorpe more accessible to those with disabilities or extra support needs; dedicate more time and funds to the conservation of the Castle, its collection and the wider estate; and continue to make Grimsthorpe a valued and accessible visitor attraction where all are welcome.
We are grateful for all our volunteers and staff who help to make sure Grimsthorpe is run to its full potential to the benefit of the local community, the general public as a whole, and for future generations.
For more information about the Trust, please visit our website.