Volunteers’ Week 2016: a time to celebrate the Trust’s great team of volunteers

The annual, national Volunteers’ Week begins today (1st June) and continues until the 12th June. Millions of people across Britain work as volunteers and, this week, the organisations which they work for can really celebrate our volunteers and the massive contribution which they make. The Trust is lucky to have a team of people who work with us as archaeology volunteers, renovation volunteers, circus centre volunteers, garden volunteers, and cafe volunteers – and we currently also have heritage volunteers from the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS) working here at the Roman circus centre every week.

Some of our volunteers have been working with us for over 30 years and some have joined us more recently. Some of our volunteers also ‘moonlight’ as volunteers for other organisations, ie Christine with the National Trust in Coggeshall and Gillian with the Colchester Young Archaeologists’ Club. Several of our volunteers will also be helping at the Colchester Young Archaeologists’ Club archaeology fun day on the 16th July and you can meet some of them, then! You can also meet our volunteers on different days as they work here at the Roman circus centre, including demonstrating ‘archaeology in action’ or giving guided tours to visitors.

Volunteers’ Week explain the celebration on their web-site: ‘… Over 21 million people volunteer in the UK at least once a year and this contributes an estimated £23.9bn to the UK economy. Behind these big numbers is a big contribution. / These 21 million people are a shining example of how we can all make a big difference to individuals and communities every day from improving the environment we live in … and contributing to a range of other essential services and support. We believe such a big contribution is worth a big celebration! …’ – read more at http://volunteersweek.org/ . Volunteers’ Week has been extended to twelve days, this year, to extend the celebration of the country’s volunteers and their work and to thank them. In their new ‘The power of archaeology’ leaflet, the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) state that ‘… There are an estimated 200,000 volunteers engaged with archaeology in England, contributing over 20 million hours per year – with a value of nearly £175 million in economic contribution every year…’. Here at the Roman circus centre, we will be holding another of our volunteers’ events on Saturday (4th June), when Trust senior archaeologist Howard Brooks will present an illustrated talk on prehistoric Essex to our volunteers, to support the prehistoric pottery-handling workshop which Trust pottery specialist Steve Benfield led with the volunteers in April. (The talk will include celebratory tea and biscuits!)

The Trust is, as always, extremely grateful to our great team of volunteers for all their great contribution to the work of the Trust, to the Roman circus centre and to our visitors and customers, and to the archaeology and heritage of Colchester and Essex. Thanks to volunteers Brenda, Callum, Catherine, Christine, David, Gillian, Hannah, Hilary, Jackie, Jane, Kate, Margaret, Martin, Neil, Richard, Ros, Shirley H., Shirley W., and Wendie; to Alex, Andy, Peter H., Peter K., Roger, and Sarah, who contribute to the Trust on a voluntary basis; to the heritage volunteers from NADFAS; to the students and work experience pupils who volunteer with us in the summer; and to all our past volunteers.

Read more about volunteers’ week and volunteers at http://volunteersweek.org/ . Visit the Essex heritage volunteers’ (NADFAS) web-site at http://essex.nadfas.net/heritage-volunteers .

The images show some of the late Trust volunteer Maureen’s flowers blooming at the front of the Roman circus centre on Friday (27th May) and some of our volunteers at work. [Images to follow.]