Have you got a few hours a week to spare? Do you want to spend some of your free time in a really worthwhile way? Wymondham Abbey is looking for more volunteers to act as welcomers and shop assistants. You would be joining an established team of people helping to keep one of Norfolk’s premier tourist attractions open and welcoming.
Wymondham Abbey is the town’s parish church. Founded in 1107 as a priory, it has a rich and fascinating history. A recent £2.5m Heritage Lottery Fund supported development has added much admired new spaces and facilities. The project also allowed many of the Abbey’s archive treasures, some over 700 years old, to be displayed and interpreted. It recently won an award for ‘Most Welcoming Church’ in the Norwich Diocese.
As a result of these improvements, over 30,000 visitors from all over the world come to Wymondham to enjoy the Abbey Experience. With regular events, a pop-up café and much to see and do, the volunteers find the Abbey is always an entertaining place to spend time.
Jill Curtis, lead Abbey Steward, is full of praise for the volunteers. “They all give tirelessly of their time, but enjoy the warmth and camaraderie of being part of a great team. We have volunteers of all ages and from all backgrounds, which makes for a lovely mix”, she said.
She added that the Abbey gives training and support, and no-one ever works on their own. “There are regular social events and other activities that encourage a feeling of community. We welcome people of all faiths or none – you don’t have to be a church-goer to volunteer.”
For more details about volunteering at Wymondham Abbey, ring the Abbey office on 01953 607062 or drop an e-mail to [email protected].
Georgie Hawbrook (28) is a young mother who does several stints each week on the welcome desk and in the shop. She says it give her time out from her usual life, allowing her to meet people and hear their stories. “The visitors love to chat!” She is also learning about the history of the Abbey and town, and feels she is really contributing to her community by volunteering. “My time in the Abbey puts me in a much better frame of mind to deal with the routine of family life” Georgie’s daughter Jasmine (8) agrees. “Mum’s always in a good mood when she’s been at the Abbey!”
Monica Cox is recently retired. She took up volunteering at the Abbey as something to fill her days. It also gets her out of the emptiness of her home now the children have left. “It’s given me a real boost to my self-confidence, which is easily lost once your usual roles have gone,” she comments. “I now have a role which makes me feel useful, while doing something that I enjoy very much.” She added that the people at the Abbey are very helpful and friendly, and the visitors like to chat and have many interesting stories to tell.