I was visiting the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct with friends. As one of the group didn’t want to walk across the Aqueduct, we decided to go into the visitor centre where I picked up an application form for volunteers. It was a life changing event.
My volunteer role is important to the day to day running of the Trevor Basin Visitor Centre - as are all the other volunteer roles here. We prepare the museum for visitors from all over the world. There's a variety of things to do, from re-stocking leaflets to checking artefacts from bygone times for wood worm.
There is always something new to learn, from finding answers for visitors who want to know where to rent a bicycle or researching information for a visitor who wishes to know an obscure fact about the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. I am now able to direct walkers, on to the Offa’s Dyke path in the right direction.
This is now my third season at Trevor Basin. Initially I volunteered one day a week, but for the last season I have been volunteering for two days a week. We have badges awarded when a stipulated number of volunteer hours have been completed. These tokens of achievement to me say, I am appreciated as a volunteer.
It is recognised that being near water and in fresh air has a positive effect on our wellbeing. For me, volunteering has provided structure to my weekly routine which I lacked after I retired.
Having no family and a husband whose job involves world travel, I lacked interaction with other people. I now have the opportunity to share my knowledge and passion for the museum and its surroundings with our visitors. I have also met other volunteers and built a good team relationship with them.
Being a volunteer has increased my self-worth and self-esteem. I feel I am doing something useful, we all have something to offer whether it's local knowledge or a task-based skill. I enjoy speaking to the visitors as they arrive in the museum, and I know for some visitors I could possibly be the only person they have a conversation with that day. To see them go away smiling makes me feel good.
I have recruited a friend as a volunteer. She too enjoys the sense of belonging, being part of a community of likeminded people. It is an excellent way for young volunteers to gain confidence in speaking to people and learning about team work. To be able to add to their CV that they volunteer is a positive attribute when applying for a job. The area in which we volunteer is a beautiful place and I always feel a sense of calm and enrichment when we open the doors on another day to visitors.
The variety of volunteering opportunities on the Llangollen Canal offer something different for everyone. From a towpath ranger walking a linier stretch from Llangollen to Trevor Basin, aqueduct rangers who give information to visitors on the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and patrol the local canal, all the way to gardening opportunities on the World Heritage Site.
Volunteering here offers opportunities to meet new people, work as a team and feel a sense of community. Many of our volunteers have been at Trevor Basin for over five years and we feel that they do a wonderful job for the Trust, the visitor centre and local community, as well as benefiting from beautiful surroundings and outdoor spaces.
Last date edited: 6 July 2018