Volunteers making big difference at Leeds Museums and Galleries

Caption: There is an opportunity to volunteer at Leeds Museums and Galleries sites including historic Kirkstall Abbey.

The fantastic work of volunteers at museum and gallery sites across the city is being celebrated this week.

Coinciding with National Volunteer week which is held this year from 1 June -7 June 2014, Leeds Museums and Galleries are supported by over one hundred unsung heroes of all backgrounds, skills and experience throughout the year, who give up their free time to support a wide range of exciting projects, initiatives and events.

Awarded the Leeds Compact KiteMark by Voluntary Action Leeds (VAL), which demonstrates Leeds Museums and Galleries continuing commitment to delivering a high quality programme, volunteering is a great way in which to use your existing skills, develop and learn new talents, meet new people and importantly have fun! This could include assisting with the documentation and research of collections, helping to identify and label collections, carrying out cleaning and remedial conservation of objects, assisted in the preparation and delivery of Leeds Museums and Galleries Education and Outreach Programme or meet and greet roles.

Diverse opportunities currently available include the chance to be a War Memorial Researcher at Leeds Industrial Museum, working in a Community Garden or being a tour guide at historic Kirkstall Abbey.

Upcoming projects needing volunteer support will also include the ‘Memoria’ exhibition at Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills set to showcase the memories of previous mill workers, and the Grayson Perry ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’ display at Temple Newsam House.

Overseen by Leeds Museums and Galleries Volunteer Coordinator Wendy Breakwell, the programme which now boasts 136 people and has built strong links with organisations including the University of Leeds, is continuing to move from strength to strength. One of the current projects with University of Leeds students involves eight volunteers working on an Oral History project with the Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills. The work of volunteers across the museums sector is incredibly important and this is no different within Leeds Museums and Galleries.

For more information on the variety of volunteering opportunities at Leeds Museums and Galleries, please see: www.leeds.gov.uk/volunteer

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills said:

"Volunteers are very much the unsung heroes of many different groups and organisations across the country, and I am delighted to say that at Leeds Museum and Galleries we have a fantastic team of people from all backgrounds offering great personal qualities and skills.

"Their contribution really cannot be underestimated in helping us develop and deliver a wide range of fantastic events, initiatives and projects, and I would like to thank all our volunteers for their continued hard work and commitment.

"There are currently a number of volunteering opportunities available, and I would urge anyone who might be interested in getting involved to have a look on our website as soon as possible because interest is always high."

Wendy Breakwell, Leeds Museums and Galleries volunteer coordinator said:

"We have worked extremely hard to develop our volunteer programme and I am delighted to say that we now have 136 people assisting us at Leeds Museums and Galleries.

"The different experience they have is extremely beneficial, and as part of our programme they also have the opportunity to learn new skills, develop existing ones, and importantly have great fun."

Notes to editors:

Leeds Museums and Galleries is the largest local authority-run museum service in England and have one of the larger and most significant multidisciplinary collections in the UK. Leeds Museums and Galleries is Leeds City Council’s family of nine museum sites across the city and is responsible for looking after the collections of fine and decorative art, fashion and textiles, industrial and social history, natural science and much more. Leeds museums and Galleries exists to collect, preserve and interpret historic, cultural and scientific collections and historic sites and use them as inspiration for educating, entertaining and inspiring the people of Leeds as well as visitors to the city. Visit www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries to find out more. For more information about our active volunteer programme and current opportunities please visit www.leeds.gov.uk/volunteer

Volunteers’ Week is an annual event which takes place on 1-7 June. It celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK. It’s run by NCVO in partnership with Volunteer Development Scotland, Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland) and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

Visit www.volunteersweek.org for more information

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk