Why Should I Volunteer?

At the heart of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, we have our volunteers. Our dedicated team work hard to provide a great experience for our visitors and keep the house in working order. The task of becoming a volunteer might seem daunting to some, but talking to any member of our staff will make you feel right at ease. The energy our volunteers put in to maintaining the house is what keeps the spirit of Elizabeth Gaskell and her peers alive within our walls.

Our volunteering team is a wide range of hard-working individuals, all with completely different stories to tell about their time at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. We invite you to get to know some of the volunteers that make our house a home.

Front of house flowers

Our Volunteers

“I have been volunteering here ever since the house opened in 2015, just over 4 years ago. I initially started volunteering as I came here for the Manchester literature festival, and just never left! Volunteering at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has allowed me to learn new skills and get me out of my comfort zone. I feel incredibly valued as a volunteer here and would strongly encourage others to step out of their comfort zones and give it a try.” – Jane B

“I’d never volunteered before I came to Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, but as a recently retired librarian, volunteering just seemed to make sense to me. The flexibility allows me to continue focus on my evening classes on radicalism, as well as singing in my choir. The kindness I have experienced as a volunteer at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is unimaginable, and I feel such a strong sense of belonging inside these walls. Volunteering here has been so good for my soul.” – Diana

“I absolute adore everything about Elizabeth Gaskell, so much so that I did my dissertation on her for my BA (Hons) in English Literature. Volunteering at her house was a natural step to take. I also have a great appreciation for nineteenth century history, which is perfectly embodied within the house. Our school programmes are one of my favourite things to volunteer for as I’m passionate about the education system and inviting children to learn about the wonders of Victorian literature and history. Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has truly developed me as a human being and is one of the most uplifting parts of my week.” – Andrea

“As a university student, volunteering has been vital in providing me experience in my chosen degree: Arts Management. While I haven’t been here long, I still feel valued by both the management team and my fellow volunteers. The management team are spectacular at finding your personal skills and home in on them. As I speak several languages, I was able to help translate a lot of the information we have around the house to broaden our audience, as people of all nationalities can enjoy Elizabeth Gaskell. Part-time volunteer work for young people really does expand your horizons for future prospects.” – Katja

“When the doors of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House opened in 2015, I was one of the first to jump on board and begin volunteering. I had first heard of the house opening from a fellow Gaskell Society member, and it checked every box. I had been a librarian for 37 years, so one of my favourite parts of the house is William Gaskell’s study. It’s filled with hundreds of contemporary literature, and I spend my spare time creating book plates with other volunteers. You can also find me gardening around the house in our warmer months, keeping our plants and flowers in immaculate condition. Elizabeth Gaskell’s House was the first place I volunteered, and after four and a half years, I can’t imagine leaving.” – Jane M

“I retired from my job at Manchester airport in 2011, and I have been keeping myself extremely busy ever since. I volunteer at two other local heritage sites, as well as Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. I’m often found playing the piano in the Gaskell’s drawing room, filling the house with music. I feel like I can be my true self amongst the other volunteers, as well as with the guests that visit. This house is filled with so much history, and it truly is a pleasure to relay the past of the house to everyone that steps through our doors.” – Robert

“The variety of people that volunteer here is outstanding. I personally studied clinical biochemistry at university and spent 25 years working for the NHS. Despite this, I don’t feel as if I am lacking in my knowledge of the house. The other volunteers, as well as house management, are such a dedicated team that I picked up information about the house in no time.  I’ve been able to experience and learn things I didn’t even consider when I first started volunteering, such as the conservation cleaning programme we have at the house. I’ve made countless friends during my time here and couldn’t ask for a better team of people to work alongside.” – Diane

“Volunteering alongside my part-time job works perfectly for me, as I am constantly looking for new challenges. After I completed my MA (Hons) in English Literature, I knew I wanted a career revolving around Victorian and Gothic Literature. Volunteering at the house is providing me with the experience I’ll need to further a career in my area. The volunteering team have been kind and welcoming from day one, and I strongly recommend bringing yourself out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself with new work inside Elizabeth Gaskell’s House.” -Ariane

We are always searching for new volunteers to join us, whether part or full-time. We are open to the public on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 11am to 4pm, and we welcome anyone considering volunteering to visit us and fill out our volunteering form online. Everyone is welcome to become part of our lovely team!

Possibly the best second-hand book shop in Manchester

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