Home > Case Studies > I Learnt New Skills Volunteering With National Trust: A Case Study

I Learnt New Skills Volunteering With National Trust: A Case Study

By: Lynne Conner - Updated: 31 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Volunteering National Trust Conservation

Terry Trent works in human resources but at the weekends she has discovered a whole different side to life by volunteering with the National Trust. “It was an ex-boyfriend who first dragged me along” she smiles. “The last thing I would ever have thought of doing was getting up early on a Sunday morning and setting to work with a spade!”

On her first conservation outing she helped clear an old overgrown kitchen garden in the grounds of a local manor house. “It was hard work but I found it strangely satisfying. The grounds themselves were stunning and the sun shone. It just felt good to be out in the fresh air.” Terry’s ex-boyfriend was less keen but Terry decided to return on her own. “I was impressed by how well the leader showed us how to do the tasks and the opportunity to explore parts of the grounds that the public don’t readily see”

Bonding With Other Volunteers

The group that Terry went out with soon bonded and the social side of the volunteering developed. “We soon had pub nights and started going out for meals together once a month. Sweating over a hot spade together is a great bonding experience!” Terry also began to learn a whole new set of skills. “I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn about tree planting and then as time went by there was the chance to learn other skills too.”

Terry and some of her new friends from the local group went on a week’s holiday with the National Trust to learn about dry stone walling in the Lake District. “It is very hard work and quite painstaking but it was fascinating to learn about and the scenery was breathtaking. It rained most of the time but it was only a drizzle and really didn’t matter as we were having such fun.”

Learning New Skills

The skills that Terry has learnt have turned her into a keen gardener. “I was a confirmed flat dweller before this but have since bought a house with a garden and love to spend hours working in it and landscaping it” Terry has even incorporated a small dry stone wall at one end of her garden. Friends now ask her for help and advice with their own gardens and Terry is only too happy to share her skills. “Spending time in the gardens of local country houses gives you loads of ideas for planting flowers and plants in your own garden. The muscles I’ve developed helping out the NT mean that I am ready to tackle most things in my own garden.”

Most recently Terry has been learning about coppicing and pollarding. “This is part of woodland management and helps to sustain the trees development and growth.” As a long-serving volunteer Terry gets the opportunity to keep learning and developing new skills. She also gets a special deal on National Trust membership and makes the most of it by visiting as many properties as she can throughout the year.

“Volunteering to do conservation with the National Trust has opened up the world of wildlife and gardening to me, the fact that it keeps me fit and has brought me new friends is a fantastic bonus.”

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Jan
    Re: Working for Citizen's Advice
    I am a 60 yr old with many life skills. I have worked for the nhs all of my working life unfortunately due to health issues I am…
    19 November 2019
  • Kazza
    Re: Becoming a Samaritan
    Hi my name is Karen I'm a 59 year old woman I am interested in your volunteer role as a Samaritan or any role that I can help people Please…
    18 November 2019
  • Reeny
    Re: Volunteering to Help Premature Babies
    Does anyone know how I can volunteer to work with babies.
    17 November 2019
  • Kira
    Re: Volunteer as a Dog Walker
    Hey I’m 14 years old and starting my bronze DofE award in January 2020. I have put down dog walking as my volunteer work so I would…
    15 November 2019
  • Ljenk
    Re: Working with the Homeless
    I am based in wakefield, my daughter who is 9 and i are wanting to help any lpcal homless shelters or soup kitchens any advice would…
    14 November 2019
  • Nads
    Re: Volunteering for a Telephone Helpline
    I want to give back to the community and there is no better way then this. I would love to help with supporting anyone…
    13 November 2019
  • Kru
    Re: Volunteering With Meals on Wheels
    I would like to volunteer for the Meals on Wheels service within the Swindon area. I would discuss the number of days I…
    11 November 2019
  • Sultana
    Re: Working with Children or Adults with Special Needs
    Hi, my name is sayda... I'm interesting for work with special needs children because I need experience.
    8 November 2019
  • Atlantis
    Re: Volunteer With Your Local Fire Service
    Is they any cadets to do with firefighting for 27 year olds or volunteering on hull
    4 November 2019
  • Joe
    Re: Working With Animals
    I am currently in year 10, starting my Duke of Edinburgh Silver award and would like to know if you have any kitten socialisation volunteer…
    3 November 2019