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Meet the Volunteers

Meet Coralie, Kat, RichardMark, Sally and Sonia. They're all giving their time to help care for and celebrate heritage near them. Find out why they do it and what they've gained by volunteering at Historic England.

Would you like to find out more about volunteering? We've made a list of some of the top heritage organisations in England to volunteer for.

Coralie Acheson, Volunteer on Centenary War Memorials listing project

Why do you volunteer?

I started volunteering because I was interested in war memorials and wanted to find out more about the listing process. I found that I really enjoyed visiting the memorials - they made me think differently about places I had known all my life and never given a second thought to. Being able to record them and help get them added to the list felt like something I could do to continue to honour the memory of the people named on the memorials.

How long have you volunteered with Historic England?

2.5 years

What's the most enjoyable thing you've done while volunteering?

Doing the site visits for the records has definitely been the most enjoyable thing - I've loved tracking down these memorials.

Would you recommend volunteering to others?

Definitely! It's been a really interesting and, I hope, really useful thing do be involved in.

Being able to record them and help get them added to the list felt like something I could do to continue to honour the memory of the people named on the memorials.

Coralie Acheson, volunteer
Historic Enland volunteer holding a notepad inspecting a war memorial

Kat Pearson, volunteer on the war memorials listing project.

Why do you volunteer?

I volunteered because I am studying Conservation of the Historic Environment at Birmingham City University and this project was an excellent opportunity for me to learn more about the listing process and get practical experience. I attended some Civic Voice workshops and then submitted draft listings for 7 memorials which were subsequently listed at Grade II.

How long have you volunteered with Historic England?

Attending the workshops and completing my listings took around 8 months.

A Historic England volunteer standing up and giving a presentation to a group of people

What's the most enjoyable thing you've done while volunteering?

I really liked the Civic Voice workshops because someone from Historic England was there to talk us through listings and let us know the conventions of writing a list description and what they would need to have and why. This has helped me to understand more about listings in general which is good for my professional development.

Would you recommend volunteering to others?

Yes, definitely.

This project was an excellent opportunity for me to learn more about the listing process and get practical experience.

Kat Pearson, volunteer

Richard Gyselynck, volunteer for the Historic England Archive

Why do you volunteer?

For the intellectual challenge and because I have a historic interest in landscapes and buildings.  

It's a change from the daily routine of work and you can do it at your own pace.

Richard Gyselynck, volunteer

How long have you volunteered with Historic England?

Four months.

What's the most enjoyable thing you've done while volunteering?

Research into the archives of historic photos, identifying buildings that are hard to find, or disappeared!

Would you recommend volunteering to others?

Yes -  it's a change from the daily routine of work and you can do it at your own pace.

Mark Fox, Archive volunteer

Mark volunteers on the Enriching the List project, matching up pictures in the Archive with List records for West Somerset.

Why do you volunteer?

I volunteer for Historic England as the project can be undertaken at home, using my laptop and the internet, with no time pressure. Since my disability I have been unable to write or type with both hands. Prior to my disability, I was a Town Planner for 28 years and have a great love of the historic environment. I have also been a Somerset resident for 27 years. This project enables me to combine both my passions and do something worthwhile, subject to fatigue.

How long have you volunteered with Historic England?

I have been a volunteer for the Archive on the Enriching the List project since August 2017. I match up pictures held by Historic England with List records for West Somerset.

Volunteering for Historic England as given me back a sense of self-worth.

Mark Fox, Volunteer

What's the most enjoyable thing you've done while volunteering?

The most enjoyable thing I've done since volunteering for Historic England is identifying and selecting the images of Tarr Steps in Somerset. Tarr Steps is an ancient footbridge and crossing point which will be forgotten about if it is not highlighted in the List. You can see how the images from our Archive have 'enriched' the List description of Tarr Steps here

Would you recommend volunteering to others?

Yes. I love volunteering for Historic England which has benefited me personally through developing my knowledge of historic West Somerset, enabling me to continue to something worthwhile despite my disability. I would recommend others to volunteer for Historic England, perfect for those passionate about the historic environment.

My voluntary role is great as it enables me to continue to contribute to the understanding of the historic environment without any time pressure and volunteering from home within the limitations of my disability. Volunteering for Historic England as given me back a sense of self-worth within my limitations. I find it enjoyable, helping others make more effective of the Historic England Archive. It is a voyage of discovery finding the historic images available within the Archive for List records. Without the contribution of the volunteers on Enriching the List project would take longer and possibly wouldn't have gone ahead. Every time the Archive List is updated the more effective it becomes for users of the list.

Black and white photo of a group of people crossing a river on a stone bridge with cows in the river

Sally Williams, volunteer for the London Historic Environment Record

I am inputting data on parks and other landscapes to the GLHER derived from the London Historic Parks & Gardens Trust (LPGT)'s Inventory of Parks, Gardens, Squares, Churchyards, Cemeteries and other Green Spaces of Local Historic Interest.

Why do you volunteer?

Working with the LPGT since 1999 has given me an enduring interest in London's historic environment, and the importance of protecting and conserving our parks, gardens and other spaces.  Volunteering at Historic England enabled me to extend this work on London's landscapes in what I hope is a meaningful way by participating in this important heritage project. 

The LPGT Inventory currently stands at over 2,500 sites, and adding these to the GLHER is a long but rewarding project. Doing this volunteer project has also given me new skills - particularly learning how to plot GIS polygons!

How long have you volunteered with Historic England?

Since October 2014

What's the most enjoyable thing you've done while volunteering?

I enjoy finding out more about the historic environment and coming across additional nuggets of information in the process of data entry, and looking through the resources that HE has available.

Would you recommend volunteering to others?

Yes, it has become an important and interesting part of my working life.

I enjoy finding out more about the historic environment and coming across additional nuggets of information.

Sally Williams, volunteer

Sonia Matteodo, volunteer at the Greater London Archaeology Advisory Service

As a GLHER Record Volunteer within themed projects, I help to enhance GLHER records for specific types of monuments, or related to the historical environment of particular areas of London, using the GLHER database and its associated digital mapping system ArcGIS.

Why do you volunteer?

I am interested in volunteering at GLHER because I love Archaeology and this could be an exciting opportunity for me to maximize my potential and learn new skills in order to find a job in the Archaeological Environment sector.

How long have you volunteered with Historic England?

Since February 2017

What’s the most enjoyable thing you’ve done while volunteering?

To use the map regression and learn more information about the history of areas in London that I didn’t know before.

Would you recommend volunteering to others?

I would, definitely!

This could be an exciting opportunity for me to maximize my potential and learn new skills.

Sonia Matteodo, volunteer
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