What volunteers do
Volunteers are involved in all aspects of our work and in all our projects: delivering workshops, tour guiding, researching our archive, cataloguing, reception, admin work, literacy and numeracy tutoring and much more.
We always try to find a volunteer role which matches our volunteers’ interests and motivations. Some volunteers come with particular skills, others may not have worked before but are keen to learn and try new things. Whatever our volunteers’ experiences and skills, we are keen to find a way to involve them in our work.
What we offer
Our Volunteer Programme is rooted in our Core Values and ensures women from all walks of life can contribute and get involved in our work. All volunteers receive a full induction when they start, ongoing support from staff and more experienced volunteers, and training as required.
The support we offer is tailored to each volunteer and takes into consideration their motivations for volunteering, whether that’s to meet people, learn, play an active role in the community or share skills and knowledge with others.
It is difficult to sum up all of the ways in which volunteers benefit from volunteering, so below are some quotes which illustrate the difference volunteering can make to women’s lives:
“Having not worked for a number of years it has given the confidence to apply for jobs and to build my confidence in a work situation doing work I really enjoy.”
“Allows me to engage with art in a space where I feel comfortable and confident. Makes me happy just being in the library and feeling part of it. Provided a routine and regularity to my week.”
“It has really been a whole amazing experience for me l never thought volunteering could have made me feel so alive and wanting to learn more. Pushing me but in a good way. Helping with the amazing work that the GWL does and being part of this organisation who value their volunteers.”
“Volunteering helps my reading, learning about the archives and about history, meeting new people, getting involved in events, learning new skills”
You can read more about our current and previous volunteers’ experiences here.
We also refund travel expenses (up to £5.00).
What we are looking for
Sometime we will recruit for volunteers with particular skills or experience but above all we are looking for:
- Share GWL’s vision and values
- Are familiar with our work, through borrowing books, attending events, groups or exhibitions
- Are flexible, friendly and fun
- Have a positive outlook and optimism
- Value others contributions and views
- Are supportive team members
And who are interested in developing:
- Communication skills
- An understanding of the GWL team structure and function
- An understanding of feminism, the importance of ‘women’s space’ and the history and uniqueness of GWL
- A willingness to learn
- A desire to make their experiences of working as enjoyable as possible
- An awareness of equalities issues: racism, homophobia, disability issues, mental health issues, the impact of violence against women etc.
There is no set requirement in terms of volunteers’ time commitment, this ranges from a few hours per month to a full day per week. In addition, we would ask volunteers to make time for an induction (1.5 hours) and to attend one of our regular This Is Who We Are sessions (3 hours) to find out more about our history, values and work.
How to apply
If you are interested in volunteering with us, please come along to our next Volunteering Information Day when you can meet current volunteers and our Volunteer Coordinator, Gabrielle Macbeth, find out more about the ways you could get involved, and tell us more about what you hope to get from volunteering.
We do not currently have a date for the next Volunteering Information Day but please keep checking this page for an update.
Who can apply?
GWL recognises that women can thrive and foster skills and knowledge in spaces which are orientated around women and their lives and experiences. We also seek to redress sexism, discrimination and misogyny by promoting the lives, work, histories and achievements of women from a range of backgrounds. For these reasons, our Volunteering Programme is for women only. Like all our women-only activities and events it is inclusive of trans and intersex women, as well as non-binary and gender fluid people who identify in a significant way as woman or female.
In line with our Equality Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan 2016-2019 we particularly welcome interest in volunteering from women from our neighbourhood (G40 postcodes), and from women who may be facing barriers to volunteering or to participating in their community such as women with English as a second language, women with disabilities or women with a mental health problem.
We also prioritise applications from women who have already visited us and are already familiar with our work, through borrowing books, attending events, groups or exhibitions.