Why I volunteer… Jennifer Edwards

From learning new skills to meeting new people, our volunteers join us for a whole host of reasons. Here we meet House Volunteer Jennifer Edwards who initially volunteered to learn about the history of the House but has gained so much more from her volunteering experience.

Having lived in Chiswick for over 35 years I have long been familiar with both the House and the Gardens, so when I decided to start volunteering after almost 50 years of working life, Chiswick House & Gardens was a natural choice.

My objective was to learn more about the origins of the House, the people associated with it and its role in the history of the area. Of course, I was also looking for something to keep me occupied and motivated in my ‘Third Age’. The pandemic did its best to delay this, but in 2021 my plans came to fruition.

I don’t think I truly appreciated just how significant and rewarding a part of my life it would become!

My time here as a House Volunteer and now Tour Guide has brought me untold pleasure in meeting other volunteers and staff, learning about a period in our history previously overlooked by me and constantly meeting complete strangers with whom I can share my new knowledge.

I am repeatedly struck by the curiosity of the visitors and their positive response if I can provide them with the information they seek. Happily, this is also a two-way street and I seldom leave my shift without some new knowledge about the House, its contents or its history. It is also gratifying to feel appreciated, involved and very much part of a team.

Volunteering is available to, and beneficial for, everyone. There are virtually no boundaries, there is great flexibility and countless opportunities both to take from, and give back to, whichever is your chosen field whether charity, public service or private institution.

Volunteering brings together people with very different backgrounds and experiences, all making a contribution — simply because they want to. It’s fun, stimulating, can be absorbing and completely worthwhile.

I am very happy that I embarked on this new challenge in my life, and I cannot wait for the 2022 season to start!