Meet some of our volunteers
I am volunteering as an illustrator, working on a project called The Jersey Heritage and Culture Map, which will be a very useful book for tourists and residents. It includes an illustrated fold-out map, guide and walking routes. All the illustrations and the map have been drawn by me, which gives it a quirky charm. I am also doing the layout, making it appealing, user friendly and easy to read. Other volunteers have helped too – Guide Alan Ley has been plotting some walks, researcher Jill Stevens provided background information about all the locations and Guide Anne Forsyth proof read the text. The book is almost ready to be published. The previous book for which I provided the illustrations was about the Battle of Jersey, written by Doug Ford and published in English and Jerriais.
I volunteer for Jersey Heritage because Jersey’s heritage is something I am passionate about. I love the island’s history, especially expressing it through drawing. It has been a great opportunity to put my talents to good use and at the same time an enjoyable experience. It is also a good place to network.
After graduating from university, I wanted to do some volunteering to boost my CV. I found Jersey Heritage volunteer opportunities through the Association of Jersey Charities website. When I applied to volunteer, Jersey Heritage’s volunteer coordinator, Julia Coutanche said she liked my artwork and gave me an exciting project to work on – The Jersey Heritage and Culture Map. Doug Ford thought my art work would suit an educational project. I have enjoyed both projects tremendously.
Since volunteering for Jersey Heritage I have gained a strong body of work and a published book! I have also had two exhibitions in the Link Gallery at Jersey Museum show casing some of that work. Volunteering has motivated me and has helped me to keep doing what I love and enjoy.
My name is Nuria and I am from Valencia (Spain), the flowers, light and love land. I have a degree in Tourism and, at the moment, I am working as a hotel reservations agent in Jersey. Moreover, I belong to The Fallas Festival Ambassador’s Club that promotes the most awesome of Valencia’s festivals abroad.
When I decided to move to Jersey, I contacted Jersey Heritage about volunteering. As a tourism specialist, I thought that safeguarding and promoting the cultural heritage of my new home would be a great idea. I was not sure if being a “foreigner” I could join the team but the answer couldn’t have been more positive and so, currently, I am volunteering as a Visitor Host at Mont Orgueil Castle.
Since I was a little girl, I have felt excited by the idea of living in a foreign country. Until now I have lived in Finland and Greece and I have also travelled around the world, but it is not enough. Discovering new places and learning different cultures fulfil a need in me. For this reason, Jersey Heritage is providing a unique opportunity for me to get to know the island culture from inside, its people, traditions and lifestyle.
I strongly believe that volunteering is the perfect complement to my Tourism Degree and personal development.
Volunteering, getting so much back.
I have been a Visitor Host at Mont Orgueil since late summer 2014. I enjoy doing a few hours of volunteering each Friday. This is my regular post as a volunteer. When able I lend a hand in other activities, for example for the Ice Age Island project, I really enjoyed escorting the visitors in the mini bus to the archaeological site at Les Varines.
I am very proud of our lovely Island, the beautiful countryside, historic sites and being from a farming family, our agriculture.
Unfortunately, I have had to put up with a life of renal failure. I had a second living related kidney transplant in April 2011. This has made full time employment almost impossible and I have never had a full career in any walk of life. When I met with the volunteer coordinator Julia Coutanche, I was very worried that I had no skills to bring to Jersey Heritage.
The main skill I use is just to be myself; it’s not difficult to be enthusiastic with so much local heritage on offer. I normally introduce and orientate visitors to the Castle standing by the second gate. This is to help the front of house reception staff when they are very busy. I also get a chance to walk up through the Castle and help anyone who can’t find one of the attractions, or just talk about the other Jersey Heritage sites.
Volunteering with Jersey Heritage has been a huge benefit to my self-confidence and a worthwhile aim to improve my knowledge of our amazing local history. I love to ask the visitors as they leave, "how did you enjoy your visit?" The answer is always positive and glowing, and it gives me so much pleasure to hear. As a volunteer I really do feel I gain more than I give, especially working alongside such lovely fun people at Jersey Heritage.
“If I had known then what I now know…” is a cliché that perfectly sums up the way I feel regarding volunteering with Jersey Heritage. I would most certainly have done it a long time ago if I’d known how enjoyable and rewarding an experience volunteering is.
My main interests have always been Archaeology, History and Conservation and I have always enjoyed meeting people. In the 1990s I was fortunate to meet Olga Finch who at that time was taking over as Curator of Archaeology for Jersey Heritage, based at La Hougue Bie. Through my hobby of metal detecting we were involved in the recovery of a hoard of Bronze Age artefacts and later the recovery of the remains of the wreck of a ship HMS Havick from St Aubin’s bay for the Maritime Museum.
It was in 2012 that I and Richard Miles were the fortunate finders of the rather large Celtic Coin Hoard, which is now being conserved at La Hougue Bie. It was this amazing object and the following long term conservation of it that enabled me to volunteer my time in a completely different way. I began to learn conservation work from the experts and was soon involved in all aspects of the processes required for conserving this treasure - dismantling, cleaning, recording and photographing the individual coins and other items. More new volunteers soon joined the Coin Hoard team doing this time consuming but thoroughly rewarding task; all turned out to be a pleasure to work with and friendships were made. Meeting the many visitors to the museum and sharing the story of the Hoard with local school groups has made it even more rewarding and I could only ask myself why I had not considered volunteering many years ago - one of the main things that I have learnt is the importance of volunteers to any charity or organization.
So if you are not yet ready for the knotted hankie and deckchair, then please give volunteering a try - you won’t be disappointed.