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There's Nothing Like This

Chiltern Open Air Museum volunteers praise "structure and variety" it brings

Chiltern Open Air Museum's sheep were helped by volunteers in lockdown

Volunteers at Chiltern Open Air Museum have told Bucks Radio they enjoy the structure and variety it gives to their lives, especially after the year we've been having. 

The venue is fully open again after lockdown restrictions started to ease in England, and volunteers have certainly been busy making sure the grounds and buildings are in top condition. 

Gardeners have been planting herbs and vegetables; while walk leaders have been reaching out to those who've been feeling a bit lonely and vulnerable.

Gardens being tended at Chiltern Open Air Museum, Chalfont St Peter

As part of National Volunteers' Week, Bucks Radio spoke to Paula Lacey - a museum steward who has been leading some of those all-important walks. 

She told us: "I've been volunteering here since July, and I really enjoy being here. It gives a bit of structure to my life, and it's just a pleasant place to be. 

"Particularly with the accompanied walks, I enjoy talking to people and giving them a nice time. 

"We take people who have been socially isolated, usually over-65s. A couple of weeks ago, I took a lady who had not been out of the house for a year.

"We walk around and look at the buildings and just generally have a chat and a cup of tea and a biscuit afterwards.

"Everybody says they're much happier after they've been, and that they've really enjoyed it."

The thatched cottage at Chiltern Open Air Museum - one of the many lovingly-tended buildings 

For Gillian Proctor, a project manager who was furloughed and is now working from home four days a week, volunteering at the Chiltern Open Air Museum gave her chance to feel as though she was making a difference. 

She told Bucks Radio: "I came as a visitor last year, and I was charmed. I was enchanted, and thought: 'I must volunteer here.'

"It was quite a simple application process, and I was slotted in where they needed help - which was the snack barn at the time. 

"There's a lovely group of people, a lovely environment, I like the animals, and I like the focus on the natural environment. 

"Today, we think we've had a rhea running around the woodland - so there's always a bit of excitement!" 

 

WATCH: Marketing and general manager Helen Light did some unusual volunteering of her own last year...

 

 

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