Volunteer Development Officer

I’ve been working with the Sheffield General Cemetery Trust since September 2021. My role is to develop and streamline processes and systems that enable people to get involved with Sheffield General Cemetery as volunteers.

How long have you worked with volunteers?

Around 35 years (I think!) I started working at the Central London Branch of the Samaritans in 1990 and moved to a new role as Voluntary Services Manager at Rotherham Hospice in 1994. I stayed there for 23 years but decided I needed a new challenge and moved to St Wilfrid’s Centre in Sheffield in 2017. The pandemic gave me time to reassess my life and goals (like so many people) and I decided that I wanted to work part time. This role caught my eye and the rest is history…

What makes this role special?

Sheffield General Cemetery Trust is a volunteer led organisation and having started my career with a volunteer led organisation, it feels special and fitting to share my knowledge, experience and enthusiasm with them. I love working with volunteers as they are always the heart of any organisation. We can all do paid jobs that we might not be that keen on because, at the end, we get paid. However volunteers choose to support and help an organisation for many different reasons and they want to be there and involved without that monetary transaction. It is a very different relationship to that of a member of staff. Who wouldn’t want to work with volunteers?

Do you volunteer?

Yes, but not at the Cemetery. Over 35 years I have always kept my volunteering very separate to my work life. Volunteering has always been a part of my life. When I was a child, my parents ran and boys’ youth football team and then a boys youth football league. Our Sundays were always spent on cold fields watching football. For the last 13 years I have been involved with my local Scout group, first as a parent rep and for the last 8 years, as Tuesday Scout Leader. I love it (if I didn’t, I wouldn’t do it!) I feel energised and motivated by the Scouts with their enthusiasm, humour and positive attitudes. I normally give up some of my annual leave to spend a week in a field without running water with other people’s children – what is there not to love…….

You are new to the Cemetery – what do you like about it?

I have to be honest and I didn’t know the cemetery existed until I came to do this job. I’d driven past it on Cemetery Road but had never really realised what it was. Now I think it is just marvellous and love spending time just pottering around when I’m there. I love that so many different types of people feel part of it too. From the daily dog walkers and joggers, to the “cut throughers”, the history buffs, the nature lovers, the environmentalists, the bride and grooms, filmmakers, families and children and those just wanting a peaceful couple of minutes – there is really something for everyone.

Meet the team