SEE US IN A NEW LIGHT
Celebrating Our Volunteers – Jen
As part of National Volunteers’ Week, 1-7 June 2020, we are celebrating our amazing volunteers and saying a huge thank you to them for the invaluable contributions that they make to Newcastle Cathedral.
Here we shine a spotlight on Jen, a Volunteer Welcomer at the Cathedral, as she shares a little about herself…
Describe your best weekend
Well I love vintage clothes and last year my 25 year-old niece and I had a weekend at a vintage clothes fair in Whitby which is one of my favourite towns, a true Yorkshire gem. We take an annual trip there and stay in a very quirky hotel with themed rooms, packed full of vintage pieces. Apart from buying far too many dresses we ate at some fab restaurants, tasted some delicious cocktails, laughed, talked and walked a lot. A pretty good weekend all round.
Tell us about a memorable holiday / event
Last year my husband Ollie and I went to Australia on holiday and while in Melbourne I was able to meet up with three flat mates with whom I shared a house in south London in the late 1970’s. We even spoke to another flatmate by phone in Copenhagen.
Post-COVID-19, if you could be whisked away to anywhere for 2 dream days where would you go?
Whisk me to New York for two days please (with my lovely husband of course). Fantastic.
Have you tried any new foods or perfected any recipes during lockdown?
I do not cook, my husband Ollie is a brilliant cook, but I can eat for England and particularly like a good breakfast. Recently I discovered I had high cholesterol and that porridge helps to lower your number. My first attempts at making and eating were not memorable or pleasant, but lockdown has changed all that. I have been able to pursue various porridge related experiments with different types of oats and fresh fruit deliveries from the Grainger Market. I am a nut butter enthusiast too, and a teaspoonful of peanut butter in your porridge is just luscious. During lockdown I have to admit I have become a porridge convert.
Have you got any new hobbies you’ve picked up during lockdown?
I have not taken up any new hobbies but did get out my sewing machine to make some face masks. We have also got into the habit of a daily game of Scrabble usually after tea and cake and before our daily walk. I am not usually competitive but when it comes to Scrabble it is another matter, my dark side shows itself. I like dressing smartly (well I think I’m smart) but with nowhere to go I have a wardrobe of clothes going to waste so I’ve been getting dressed up every day and have discovered skirts and dresses I did not realise I owned.
What’s the first thing you’ll do when COVID-19 is over?
After COVID-19 the first thing I will do is rush to see little Lilia Rose, my great niece born during lockdown on May 8.
How long have you volunteered at the Cathedral / what is your role / what made you choose to volunteer with us?
I started volunteering as a Cathedral Welcomer at the end of last year. I am a member of the congregation and am gradually getting to know the building and its history. I am particularly interested in being a Guide in the future and have done some training. Welcoming is a wonderful opportunity to simply be nice to people and offer them hospitality which of course is what we all look for when we go somewhere new. I have welcomed such a variety of folk from different countries when I’m on duty on Thursday mornings, there are usually a lot of Dutch visitors who all speak good English and love Newcastle. I have been able to share my Cathedral and City knowledge and on occasions learn from the visitors. I always make sure visitors know we have decent lavatories which is the first thing I look for when I am away visiting (I’m not the only one!). I am so looking forward to resuming my welcoming when we reopen after the refurbishment and the Cathedral being warm, more accessible and can be seen in all its glory. I am honoured that I can play a part in making it a place where everyone can be accepted and made to feel special.
How would others at the Cathedral describe you?
How would others at the Cathedral see me? I’m a bit scared to answer that as I can be a bit talkative and fussy at times. I hope they would say I am easy to work with, helpful and do my share.
Volunteering is a fulfilling way to give back to the community and, as well as helping others, volunteering has been shown to improve volunteers’ wellbeing and makes you feel great in return too!
It’s human nature to feel good after helping someone out. Volunteering can also help you gain valuable new skills and experiences, and boost your confidence.
If you have been inspired and are interested in becoming a volunteer at Newcastle Cathedral, please get in touch with our Project Manager, Lindy Gilliland, by email to find out how to get started.
Want to read more volunteering stories to inspire you? Click here.