Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Celebrating International Volunteer Day

International Volunteer Day

A Massive Thank-you to all our wonderful volunteers at Rural Arts; past and present!

Wednesday 5th December is International Volunteer Day where businesses and charities celebrate all of their hardworking volunteers worldwide!

At Rural Arts we have an array of volunteers that help us keep everything running smoothly, so we thought we’d take the time to introduce you to them all and learn a little more about what it’s like to volunteer at Rural Arts!

Helen and Martyn Shakespeare

Helen and Martyn have been volunteering for us for over 4 years now. Martyn began as a Trustee for Rural Arts but wanted to have a more hand on approach so decided to dedicate some time to volunteering. Helen wanted to have the opportunity to support a local venture and find out more of what Rural Arts is all about.

Helen told us that volunteering has improved her self-confidence and she’s really enjoyed having the opportunity to help out in workshops and run her own workshop on rag rugs. She’s also the very talented lady behind all our homemade jams, chutneys and marmalades, which she’s been so pleased to hear such positive feedback about from the customers in the cafe.

Helen with some croutons fresh from the oven!

Martyn has particularly enjoyed being a volunteer at Rural Arts as it has given him the opportunity to help run some of the events, become more involved in working together with Rural Arts staff and getting a better understanding of Rural Arts. Not only is Martyn a trustee and volunteer, but he is also one member of Five Loose Chippings, who perform at The Courthouse twice a year to raise money for Rural Arts. Performing at Rural Arts to a sell out show has been a particular highlight of his as well as being involved in initiating the development of the ceramics and printing collective alongside Alison, Graham and Theresa.

Here, Martyn told us bit more about volunteering at Rural Arts:

In the Cafe and Gallery: Margaret, Jenny and Nina

As well as the lovely Helen we have also been lucky enough to have three other volunteers join us to give us a hand in the day to day running of the Rural Arts Cafe and Gallery; Margaret, Jenny and Nina.

These lovely ladies joined us initially through their involvement in our Processions banner project. They were the backbone behind the marvellous final creation, dedicating hours and hours to stitching, sewing and tacking until everything was completed in time for the procession in London!

(From left to right: Margaret, Nina, Poppy, Jenny and Rural Arts Director Angela) Pictured at Hyde Park before the Procession.

Margaret has attended numerous workshops over the years and her grandchildren attend the Art Club we run in the workshop, as well as some of the half term activities. She says her favourite part of volunteering for Rural Arts has been the chance to meet new people and one of the main benefits of being a volunteer is that she feels she is giving something back to the community. She told us more about why she decided to get involved as a volunteer at Rural Arts:

“I had been involved in banner making workshops for the Processions project and Angela had approached myself and some of the other ladies involved in the project, to see if we would like to help out in the cafe and gallery.” 

Jenny background and Margaret foreground, with Cafe Manager Charlotte.

Through the ladies new-found friendship and enjoyment of textiles they decided to take Angela up on her request and carry on coming into Rural Arts to help out. Not only have they volunteered in the cafe and gallery, but thanks to their love of textiles, they are also behind the gorgeous new cushions you may have noticed in the cafe!

?Take a look at these gorgeous #handmade cushions made for the #RuralArts cafe by our lovely #volunteers ! ?

— Rural Arts (@RuralArts) November 30, 2018

In the studios: Graham, Theresa and Alison

After having joined the printing studios and ceramic studios Graham, Alison and Theresa have always been on hand to help out their fellow crafters.

Alison and Graham volunteer in running the print studio and Graham also kindly helped us assemble the processions banner as well as putting up the shelves in our training room and studio!

They told us that they decided to become more involved in Rural Arts after retiring from an arts related occupation in the local area. Alison’s favourite part of volunteering has been the chance to encourage others to discover their inner artist and share good practice. Graham’s is having the chance to master and adapt technical aspects of the print process. He has happily shared this new-found knowledge and skill with his fellow printers and said one of the main benefits of doing so is seeing the increased skill levels and confidence in everyone that attends the workshop. Here you can see a video tutorial Graeme delivered for us on lino printing, filmed by our Marketing Manager, Namita.

Our Art Club volunteers: Becky, Danny, Charlotte, Harriet and Emma

At Rural Arts we also have a great group of younger volunteers that help out Poppy at our art clubs! Becky and Danny help out at our After School Art Club on Thursdays, Charlotte and Emma help out at our Saturday Art Clubs and Harriet helps out at lots of different things.

We talked to Becky and Danny about their experience of volunteering at the after school art club:

Becky: “I really enjoy art and am quite interested in the idea of teaching so thought it would be good experience. Also I thought it would be nice to help out at a place like Rural Arts.”

Danny: “I decided to volunteer at Rural Arts as part of my health and social care A-Level.”

Becky: “My favourite part of volunteering for Rural Arts is helping the kids and talking to them about the art. It has improved my confidence and given me good experience of teaching. I hope to either become an illustrator or teach in the future.”

Danny: “I have found it rewarding to be able to work with and support younger members. It has given me a lot of experience that I can use in the future as I hope to be a youth worker eventually. It has helped me to become more confident as well.”

Harriet is currently studying at Harrogate College and volunteers at Rural Arts as part of a work placement. She has helped the Outreach team prepare and deliver a variety of workshops; for our A.T.I and Ex-Forces projects, at the monthly Over 75’s Art cafe, Saturday Art Club and assisting the rural arts team with various admin tasks in the office.
Harriet also told us a bit about her experience of helping out at Rural Arts:
Harriet: “I decided to get involved as I really liked the sound of some of the opportunities that Rural Arts has to offer as well as the events they put on that I might have the chance to help out with. My favourite part has been helping out, as well as sometimes taking part in the creative workshops. I especially enjoy the Outreach workshops and helping at Art Club on Saturday. It has been great to meet new people and take part in some new and exciting events.”

The Lovely Harriet!

Thanks once again to everyone that helps keep Rural Arts going, whether the gesture be big or small. If you would like the opportunity to get involved, find out how here !