Before Claire got onto if, she felt really stuck in rut, and really shut off and isolated, with very low confidence…she felt like she had no plan, felt very self-conscious and had few friends.
“I needed to try and interact with people I hadn’t met before, and new audiences. if gave me that, I felt trusted and respected, and that I was making a difference to visitors…I carried on volunteering on object handling and then after a few months I successfully applied for a new volunteer role in research (at the Museum of Science and Industry) and helping with the school groups as well.
I know now I can do this on my own, trust my capabilities more as I can see results and they are believable for me personally, so that boosted my self-belief…for example I wouldn’t have been able to run that class just now a year ago! I’m really pleased with how that went, I’d do it again”. (Claire ran a key training session for the new cohort on the day we interviewed her).
“And without if, I’d be much less clear on my direction. I do part time work as a sales assistant which is good, but I’d say I’ve been enlightened by the if experience, and discovered something I could do all day and feel really happy throughout. In future, perhaps if I work step by step I can get a paid role but would obviously prefer that to be a at museum or heritage research role, or similar to facilitation / Museum training environment. I just really want to share knowledge, teach and mentor to support other people where I can.
My volunteer work at the museum also involves helping out the volunteer co-ordinator directly (a volunteer role I applied for before I started on the research stuff), which led me to being involved with helping out with the next round of if participants at the museum – I don’t think I would have gotten the opportunity to help out with if it wasn’t for this role so it’s really important. It has also greatly helped my networking skills (for example people in different parts of the museum know my face as well as people from the partner museums such as IWM North and Manchester Museum) which I felt had always been lacking in me.
Claire has now gained part time employment as an admin assistant to support the volunteer programme at Museum of Science and Industry.
I’d just like to say, I feel so privileged to have done this, especially given how low things had got before.”