Volunteers’ Week: Meet our new Volunteer Coordinator, Philippa

This week is Volunteers Week, an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering in their communities. Here, we introduce you to Philippa Markou, our new Volunteer Co-ordinator to have a chat about her role and the benefits of overseeing our wonderful volunteering team. 

Phillipa Markou, Volunteer Coordinator

How did you get into this role?

My background is in teaching, however, more recently I was a volunteer at a charity called West London Action for Children. I’m very much a people person and like nothing more than seeing people come together to enhance their community and, at the same time, benefitting from working in a team. I’m a Chiswick House & Gardens Trust Member and, after attending a Members event, was inspired by the Trust’s plans to develop new spaces for the community. I was caught up in the excitement of the what the future holds for what I consider to be Chiswick’s ‘jewel in the crown’ and I feel incredibly privileged to be a part of the journey ahead.

Give us a flavour of your work at Chiswick House & Gardens Trust so far..

I’ve been spending my first few weeks as Volunteer Co-ordinator observing the various roles that our volunteers carry out in the Kitchen Garden, the wider gardens (the team known as the ‘Goosefooters’) and the visitor welcome team. I have many more volunteers still to meet and hope to find out more about their experiences and needs. I’ve also been taking part in some of the community group activities and seeing the fantastic opportunities that such workshops provide. I’m getting to know systems and procedures so that I can continue to keep the volunteer sign-up procedures a smooth operation. I’m going to be planning a summer BBQ which will be one way that we can share our appreciation of the valuable work and contributions our volunteers make.

What are you looking forward to most?

I’m excited to draw in and encourage members of our community who might otherwise hold back from getting involved. I hope to create opportunities for those looking to increase their confidence, skills and social interaction with the public and fellow volunteers.

What has been your highlight of working at the Trust so far?

It’s early days but I’d say it’s been working alongside our incredible garden team and meeting just some of the100 of volunteers that we rely on so heavily to keep the Gardens looking beautiful. Hearing the stories of how people chose to volunteer here and their experiences, some of whom have three decades under their belts!  Also, just coming to work in such a stunning environment surrounded by woodlands, landscaped gardens and wildlife wrapping around an 18th century Neo-Palladian villa – it’s an honour!

If you are interested in volunteering for Chiswick House & Gardens Trust and working alongside Philippa do get in touch at volunteering@chgt.org.uk. We’re currently recruiting for volunteers to work in the Visitor Welcome Team in the House. Sign up here.