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Myself in Public

My National Trust Volunteering Role & NT Filming on Diversity and Inclusiuon

My Role as National Trust Volunteer/Day Coorodinator.

National Trust Filming at Fountains Abbey for Diversity & Inclusion with Volunteers

of Which I was Part Of.


09My wife and I are volunteers at a National Trust property near to us. We started in May 2016. I telephoned the property a few days after visiting, yes I did visit in a skirt just like the photos on this site as I do at many other NT properties and other activities in my life. I asked if they needed volunteers. Yes was the reply and my appearance was not an issue. The National Trust is an inclusive employer and organisation. It embraces diversity across the board.

Six months later, opening in 2017 on a new day I put myself forward to be the Day Coordinator for10 that day. Basically I am the focal point for the volunteers of that day to coordinate those who can come in or not, either half day morning or afternoon or full day. Coordinate lunch breaks and cover. By the opening of the 2017 season the team was established with 6 full day and 7 half day, not including myself. Around 80% of this team were completely new and I met them all at an earlier volunteer recruitment day and yes I was in a skirt and yes not one of made any reference to my appearance even though I was to be their coordinator. The other members of the team followed myself and my wife from our previous years volunteering on a different day. There has been an odd isolated visitor to the property who has questioned me to a member of my team the worst being how could you work along side the likes of him. On these odd occasions my team member replied in a very positive, supportive and proactive way about respect, diversity and the fact that I am a great guy to work along side. These incidents are in the handful. Quite often visitors do not want to speak with a volunteer but I am aware of again a small handful who made it obvious they were not going to interact with me. The worst was a woman who each time she entered a room I was in immediately left having on first contact made very obvious laughter. What she didn't know was my role and my role moves me around providing temporary cover ie. tea, lunch breaks even to cover for a "convenience" break. I also help out where we have a bulk number of visitors going through at a point in time. This was one such occassion and I was upstairs. She missed most of the upstairs rooms. I provide lunch covers having my lunch break either ahead or after the team. This day I was after so by the time she got to the kitchen area I was in there and yes she immediately walked out. Her loss not mine. She spoilt her day, not mine. I do get far more compliments than negative looks, usually at least one a week whilst volunteering, mostly several. On the whole I see thousands of visitors in the season and it is as usual just the small minority who make negative overtones or looks and yes 99% women in their modern freedom of choice in clothing and appearance. As, when I was full time stereotypical and society expected male only clothing, I have those who wish to talk to me, interact with me, laugh with me and many a time digressing off the property information and talk about various aspects of life especially if you have something in common.

01In May 2017 I was approached by my line manager and she asked if I would be interested in participating in the National Trust filming “Diversity in Volunteering”. Filming took place on 1st June 2017, at Fountains Abbey, along side 6 other volunteers from North England. Five volunteers from South England had been filmed the day before down South making 12 in total. I obviously said02 yes.

Extensive filming took place with numerous stills both as an individual and as a group. A filmed question and answer session as an individual describing his role as volunteer and day coordinator was also undertaken. The first screening of this film took place at the National Trust Convestival 2017 while further projects from the stills and filming are to be used as advertising for volunteers, training of NT staff and volunteers and other areas where the NT needs to promote its inclusive image.

I had a lot of fun with the filming, a very intuitive day and have said I will be available for future such events. I have learnt from this involvement that the NT are moving away from the word “project” with Diversity. The NT has created a new senior manager role at the National Trust Head Office, a Head of Diversity and Inclusion. This is to take effect from the end of August 2017.

03This role will be to develop and deliver an overall strategy for the change the NT needs to make. This includes in the make-up of staff and volunteer teams and the values and behaviours they demonstrate. It is expected to include a programme of training, plus refreshed content for staff and volunteer inductions, so that at the start of their journey, all staff and volunteers receive clear messages about what’s important to the NT with regard to Diversity and Inclusion and what that means in terms of expected behaviours. The new Head of Diversity and Inclusion will be working to04 a sub Board of the Trustees and the Director General is the personal sponsor for the work.

On the 23rd June 2017 you will know from elsewhere on this site that I had one of what was to be two interviews in 2017 on BBC Radio York. The National Trust drive of Diversity and Inclusion was mentioned and a warm acknowledgement by the station presenter was made for the NT Diversity and Inclusion and on the “front line” of general public interaction.



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During 2017 the Hall continued to increase the number of days open to the public. In 2015 it had been reduced to one day only due to circumstances beyond this article, but the new management put in place in early 2016 have reversed that and visitor numbers. in 2016 our Hall was 3rd best beforming National Trust property in the whole of Northern England. In 2017 we were the top performing property of Northern England for the National Trust. In August 2017 I made a formal request to move to the new day for 2018, I would continue as Day Coordinator. Another Day Coordinator wanted to step down and so after discussions the thr08ee affected days were sorted, and I was moved as I had asked. This really upset my team, knowing I had made this request. The team of varying ages, mixed gender although mainly female, with differing out looks on life really did gel as I team but my wife and I had good reason to make the request. I also pointed out to the team that any one of us at any time could have to change our day even remaining as a volunteer due to circumstances. To my suprise by mid September, the team let me know that they were all to follow me bar three and two of those simply couldn't due to personal commitments. One knew if she moved the other two elderly friends of hers would stop the weekly swimming and so she felt duty bound to continue as their third member of their swimming club. The other even asked her husband to change his day of work at home to allow her to move but moving an independent companies working practice was a bit too far. The third person was to be a Day Coordinator on another day. Now that to me was a massive vote in confidence and respect for me. Remember, this is a team of volunteers who are guided and coordinated by a man in a skirt! A long standing volunteer has moved from one day over to my team for 2018, with the day being more suitable for him. 

The team had an end of season get together organised by myself by using the Halls cafe as a venue, met over the winter periods in varying group sizes and had a pre 2018 season get together again by using the Halls cafe. A team member and myself are now planning social activities for the 2018 team independent of the Hall.

In January 2017 I took part in the Halls volunteer recruitment day and I secured a number of volunteers for my team. I took part in January 2018 volunteer recruitment day which were needed for other days, remember, my team came with me, although I could do with a couple to cover the two who cannot come over. BBC Radio Tees came over prior to prospective new volunteers arriving to talk to a selection of exisiting volunteers and I was one. This link will take you to that page on my web site where the recording is located.