The week beginning Monday the first of June is National Volunteer Week. Cogges relies heavily on its volunteers and I thought I’d take this opportunity to write about the roles played by our dedicated team of volunteers.
I’ve been a volunteer at Cogges since it re-opened in 2011. I work on the welcome desk and also pop in five days a week to feed the three farm cats, Patsy, Bonnie and Clyde. This year I’ve also started doing Downton Abbey tours of the site. Over the past three years I’ve drawn enormous pleasure from my time at Cogges. I’ve met Lynda Bellingham and Alexander Armstrong and even watched a bit of filming of a certain ITV period drama filmed at Cogges. But the best feeling of all, is knowing that I’m helping to keep Cogges alive and well, and helping to preserve it for future generations.
There are many varying roles played by our volunteers. From looking after the animals; working in the walled garden or woodland; helping to welcome the visitors; giving tours of the house; and helping with events, such as the popular beer and music festivals. This year we have branched out and now have a team of volunteers who make craft and edible goods, to sell in our gift shop.
Volunteering at Cogges, you never know whatyou might be asked to do. This time last year I would’ve laughed if you’d told me that I would sometimes be seen chasing chickens and ducks in an effort to put them to bed for the night. But now I love it. Other volunteers have been known to dress up or put on a puppet show.
Many of our new features, such as the log cabin sand pit and the shelter for Toffee and Treacle, the Shetland ponies, have been made by volunteers. We are a mixed bunch, with many differing, but complementary talents.
I’ve made many new friends through volunteering at Cogges, both with other volunteers and regular visitors. I think it would be fair to say that we are almost like a family.
Working alongside the staff, the volunteers work hard to make sure that our visitors have a lovely time. A recent visitor commented, “It was just heavenly – peaceful, calm, fun, varied, so much to do, all so enjoyable for both the children and the adults. Thanks for creating a great space.” With comments like this, we must be doing something right.
This is just the tip of the iceberg as there are many volunteers who work behind the scenes doing administration, organising and other unseen jobs. But whatever contribution our volunteers make, Cogges wouldn’t be the place it is today without them. I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank to the volunteers for all their hard work and dedication. I’m sure that Colin and Laura will wholeheartedly agree.
Photos courtesy of Isabel and Cogges.Isabel