Paula is one of Bute Park Education Centre’s Education Volunteers and helps out during many of the educational events the Centre offers. After volunteering for nearly a year, we asked Paula about her role and how she heard about it.

What attracted you to volunteering at events?

I used to work as a therapist and really enjoyed working with children. Unfortunately I don’t get to work with children anymore, so I was looking for something through which I could still engage with them. It is just something I enjoy and it has become a hobby to me.

How did you hear about the volunteering position?

It was actually at the RHS show where I started volunteering. At that time, the RHS needed more volunteers for their event and since I was a member, they emailed me I was keen to attend the event and thought that through volunteering I would feel even more part of the event. At the RHS Show, I met Meriel who was managing the Wheelbarrow Competition and we started talking. I told her about my background and how I miss working with children. Meriel then told me about the opportunity to volunteer for her at Bute Park as an education volunteer, which I was keen to do.

How often do you volunteer?

I mainly volunteer over the holidays and school’s half terms. The nice thing is that I am an ad. hoc. volunteer. I don’t have to come in when I can’t or when things at work are taking up too much time.

What does it involve?

It starts off with receiving a brief on the activities that will be done in the sessions. Once the children arrive, I usually support them in the activities, provide help where needed and just talk to them about nature and the park.

What is your favourite thing volunteering with us?

My favourite thing is working with the children, especially doing arts and crafts with them. Given my previous occupation and being a mother myself, working with children has become so familiar to me and I enjoy it a lot. It is nice to be able to continue doing this even when my own children are grown-up now.

I also like the fact that this has not taken over my life, I volunteer when I can and it has become a hobby.