A new look at volunteering

My name is Katie and I am the new Volunteer Recruitment and Development Co-Ordinator for the Norfolk Archaeological Trust. I have been employed for the next 18 months to support the Trust in researching and writing a volunteer recruitment and development strategy as part of its ‘Onwards & Upwards: creating a sustainable future for the Norfolk Archaeological Trust’ project.
My background is in heritage and having started out as a volunteer with the National Trust up in York at the Treasurer's House, I then went on to work for the organisation for the past 7 years as a visitor experience and volunteer manager. I have worked at several sites during my time at the National Trust, including Wimpole Estate, Angelsey Abbey, Polesden Lacey, Claydon House and Chartwell. 
I have been with the Norfolk Archaeological Trust just over two weeks now and they have been a busy two weeks. The Trust manages some beautiful and unique sites and one of my first priorities has been to visit each and every one. Unfortunately the weather was not quite with me in the first week as the fog descended on Norfolk, but by week two the sun was out and I was at risk of getting sun burn! I was delighted to not only discover the heritage aspect of each site but also to learn that they are all brilliant wildlife havens. I think at every site I heard skylarks and it made my day when I saw a barn owl fly past at Burnham Norton. There really is a lot to enjoy at each site.
As well as site visits I have been out meeting the volunteers of the Trust too. Following on from the Imagined Land Project at Tasburgh, the volunteers have established a Friends of Imagined Land group to continue the work the Trust’s project began. I went along to one of their meetings last week and they have lots of exciting events in the pipeline. I have also met with The Friend’s of St Benet’s Abbey who are busy beavering away at exciting projects, all aimed at making the site more accessible to more people.
From my 18 months with the Trust I hope to create a 5 year strategy for engaging communities through recruitment and development of volunteers. The vision is to increase the number of volunteers supporting the Trust so it is more able to carry out its core work of maintaining the sites and then also in making them accessible and enjoyable to the public. I will be looking at ensuring we have all the right structures and policies in place to support the strategy so that the Trust has a team of committed, passionate, trained and confident volunteers.
As members of the Norfolk Archaeological Trust I am particularly keen to hear your thoughts and ideas on volunteering in the Trust. I am currently reviewing where we are now with volunteers and it would be hugely helpful if you could complete this short survey, just follow the link. It’s only a few questions so should only take a minute or two to complete. Thank you!
I hope this is the start of a productive and communicative dialogue with yourselves over the next 18 months.

News in brief

Imagined Land at Burnham Norton

The Imagined Land Local Planning Group invite all in the Burnhams to attend the following events

Thursday 10th May, 7 - 9 pm Burnham Market Primary COMMUNITY ARCHAEOLOGY BRIEFING For all those wanting to join the digs.

21st - 28th May ARCHAEOLOGY WEEK at school and community sites. Get digging!

More information: Simon Floyd, Project Manager Email: imaginedland1@gmail.com Tel: 07896 781574 

Free guided tours 2018

  • The Friends of St Benet's Abbey (TFOSBA) free guided tours 2018 start on Wed 2nd May. Free tours are available on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, May to September​. Meet your guide by the Abbey Gatehouse. Please note all tours now start at 3pm. Group tours of the Abbey Site can be arranged by contacting tfosba@gmail.com
  • TFOSBA will also have a stall at the Horning Boat Show on Saturday 5 May – see www.horningboatshow.co.uk for more information
  • Guided tours of Burgh Castle Fort led by Trust volunteers start on Sunday June 3and continue on every Sunday until September 30th. All tours start at 2.30pm – meet at the information shelter by the main car park.
  • New guided tours at Caistor Roman Town will be available soon – watch this space…

If you would like to become a volunteer guide at Caistor Roman Town, Burgh Castle Fort or St Benet’s Abbey please get in touch. Training provided. Contact natvolunteering@gmail.com