Volunteers’ Voice: Young Volunteers programme

As part of the Our Country Lives Activity plan we have a Young Volunteer’s initiative which aims to encourage young people (14-18) to volunteer at the Museum. We’re working with external partners such as Reading College and Berkshire Youth to achieve this.

During the exterior building works the garden was turned into a builder’s village! The vines were overgrown, the lavender needed tidying up and the once glorious volunteer-run flowerbeds need to be transformed into allotments. This is where the Reading College students come in. They have set about tidying up our back garden with great enthusiasm. Even though the plans for the back garden have yet to be finalised, we need to make a start with the cleaning up and packing down for winter.

Reading College lavender


We started on Friday 25th September, coinciding with our Macmillan coffee morning. After filling up with tea and cake, the team set to work! Armed with shears, hoes, shovels and wheel barrows the students began. With the assistance of their tutor and my limited horticultural knowledge, our young volunteers did an excellent job. They even harvested our grapes, ready to be turned into juice at the Reading Town Meal.

Reading College grape harvesting

Every Friday until winter sets in the team will be here volunteering in the garden.

As well as the gardening project with Reading College, we’re working with Berkshire Youth. They’ll be looking at the lives of 19th century children in the countryside and the Swing Riots. Working with our volunteers who developed the Swing Riots  performance piece, they’ll be creating walks around Berkshire, based on the routes taken by the Kintbury swing rioters in November 1830. They’ll also put on an exhibition in our community exhibition space.

Next year we’ll be recruiting young volunteers (14-18) to be part of the public facing team when we reopen: object handlers, gallery team members, tour guides and front of house members. This will involve after school and holiday volunteering sessions.

There will be plenty of opportunities to get involved so if you’d like to find out more then please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Rob Davies on r.j.davies@reading.ac.uk

Delivering grapes1

Rob delivering grapes for the Reading Town Meal

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