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Meet Castle Howard’s Head of Operations & Security
Castle Howard
By Volunteer Blogger // Wed 16th March 2022
Volunteering, Operations, Events.
In this first blog you will be introduced to Anne, Head of Operations & Security who takes care of the volunteers here at Castle Howard, this includes their welfare and enjoyment!
Our new volunteering space

A big warm welcome to our new volunteering blog! A new space where volunteers will be celebrated and their vital work at Castle Howard uncovered to the public in a way that it never has been before.

I’m Anne and I like to proudly say that I look after the fun stuff at Castle Howard. This includes the Kelly Car land train, the playground, events, and of course, volunteers in the house. Our volunteers do an amazing job at welcoming thousands of visitors from all over the world.

The beauty of my job is that no two days are the same. Some days can be jam packed with meetings, preparation of key events, and looking at what we can do to offer great experiences for volunteers and visitors alike. Other days can be really busy on the ground, being called out to help with swans stealing pizzas and bats trapped in the Great Hall. I love the variety that the role brings me!

Staff and volunteers enjoying Christmas jumper day on the Kelly Car during ‘Christmas in Narnia’.
Volunteering is vital to the development of Castle Howard

We can invest in digital interpretation, exhibitions, guide books but there’s no substitute for a conversation. There’s no better way to learn about Castle Howard than to have a friendly and welcoming person say, ‘what’s your favourite thing in this room?’ or “can I tell you a funny story about that portrait’. These houses were made to be full of people and having our volunteers truly does bring the place to life.

They turn what could easily be a hushed and reverent experience in to one that is full of fun, wit and wisdom, especially for younger visitors. How many lions can you spot – seems like a tall order, but our volunteers are masters at pointing them out! Volunteers make a visitors’ day and in our visitor feedback the resounding comment is how wonderful they are. Volunteers have a natural passion for Castle Howard, otherwise they would gift their time and skills elsewhere. We are very lucky to have them.

I have personally learnt a lot from our volunteers, who often have many years of management experience and wisdom to share. There’s a great exchange of knowledge and this continues to contribute to the development of Castle Howard.

Volunteers are able to achieve their personal goals with us

If a volunteer mentions that they have a particular goal or aspiration for their volunteering, I enjoy thinking of ways that I can make this happen; whether this is being invited along to meetings I’m in, devising small projects to work on or providing a reference. I feel it’s important that volunteering takes people in the direction that they want to go. I am very proud to work in historic buildings and I know it’s a competitive field to get in to job wise, so supporting people to land their dream job is a rewarding part of my role!


Our volunteers enjoying a guided Mausoleum tour with our curator team in the sun.
Becoming a part of the Castle Howard family

Something I truly adore about Castle Howard is the dynamism of the property; if you have a good idea and feel it will work, you have the permission and support to do it. I also love the body of knowledge within the house; the archives are a fantastic resource and insight into the daily lives of the people who have lived at Castle Howard. It’s a brilliant feeling to walk in their footsteps and understand that although long gone, they had moments of joy and worry in their daily lives, much the same as we do now.

When you work or volunteer at Castle Howard, you do feel a part of a family. It’s an honour for me to see people learn and grow; from meeting people at their inductions (where we get asked questions such as ‘I didn’t like history at school, is this for me?’) to seeing them confidently stood in front of visitors talking about the rooms, portraits and collection items.

If you are looking gain experience within the industry or, are simply looking for a new past time to make friends, volunteering at Castle Howard could be for you. Please get in touch with us, we would love to discuss how we can support you on the rewarding journey of volunteering.

Thank you for taking the time to read my first blog, we hope you’ll enjoy learning about the process and our wonderful volunteers, Anne.