Every quarter, our amazing volunteers create a newsletter to send out to the world. Even though we have seen some restrictions and delays recently, our volunteers still managed to achieve the summer 2020 newsletter. Here are a two articles from the latest newsletter, the first from the Mayor of Weston-super-Mare and the second from Cllr John Crockford-Hawley. We hope you enjoy the articles and for more information on volunteering click here.
A Message from the Mayor Councillor Mark Canniford
Dear Museum Volunteers,
I hope that you are all keeping as well as possible during these unprecedented times. Some of you will have been isolating and all of you will not have had the social contact that is such a big part of volunteering. Trying to have some normality is a key part of looking after our mental well-being. As we begin to reopen our economy, shops, community and cultural places such as the Museum, we can look forward to being able to get back to doing some of the things we enjoy.
I know that many of you have been helping with the Weston Museum – Digital content. Others have signed up to work on the community response, providing help with shopping, collecting prescriptions etc. I am very impressed with how you have adapted so quickly to the changes that the current pandemic has imposed on us resulting in innovative ways of delivering our service. The Museum can be proud of what it has been able to produce online to help with keeping our children’s education going and providing entertaining and informative items.
None of this would have been anywhere near as successful without you, our volunteers. I hope that you will take a lot of satisfaction from your part in these initiatives and that you may have even learnt some new skills, which will help you in the future. The Town Council has made a significant commitment to the community during the pandemic and the help you have given with the delivery and collections has added to what we have been able to provide for the vulnerable people in our community.
I was informed of the sad loss of one of our Museum Volunteers, Andy Stanley, who had been part of the volunteer team since 2014. Andy and his wife Lorraine are probably best known for their work with Katherine as part of the learning team. I have sent a condolence card to Lorraine on behalf of the Mayor and Town Council expressing our sadness at this time.
The Town Council has re-elected me as your Mayor for a second term of office. I hope to meet you during the year. I am mindful that due to the restrictions we have not been able to hold the Volunteers Awards Evening this year. Please be assured that despite us not being able to formally recognise your contributions, we are extremely grateful for the commitment you have shown over the whole year. I will be planning an event when we can return to some sort of normality, to recognise the contribution made by our Volunteers. Quite simply the Museum could not function without the great team of volunteers that we have.
On behalf of the Town Council, I thank you for what you have already achieved this year and in particular for your efforts and commitment during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Please stay safe and look after yourselves. I hope to see you all soon.
A message from Cllr John Crockford-Hawley, Chairman Heritage Arts and Culture Committee, Weston-super-Mare Town Council
We are living in strange times and, though many of us ‘locals’ will have taken every opportunity to keep fit by walking, cycling, gardening, even baking, others will not have been able to get out and about. During lock-down we’ve all lost relatives, friends and colleagues as a result of enforced isolation. These losses are temporary but some have unfortunately become permanent whether resulting from Covid-19 or other causes. One such loss was Andy Stanley from our band of museum volunteers who died on 5th July. Andy had written many of our information sheets, helped with the resources library in the ‘hub’ and, with his wife Lorraine, was part of Katherine’s learning team. He will be sadly missed and our thoughts are with Lorraine and the girls. Restrictions meant the Museum was unable to be represented at the funeral but our Mayor, Mark Canniford, sent condolences on behalf of a grateful town council.
Volunteering is not just a way of occupying the recently retired. It should be a life style inculcated in childhood and encouraged throughout the passing generations. A world where people offer their talents for no monetary, social or political gain, but for the sheer pleasure of doing so would be a better world. Make no mistake – there are gains, very real gains. There’s plenty of evidence to show how volunteering improves well-being, aids mindfulness, creates friendships, boosts confidence, gives a sense of purpose and sometimes brings out latent talents. Without our volunteers this museum would not exist.
Volunteers are sometimes taken for granted; not so in this museum. Town councillors and staff are constantly indebted to you all. No committee meeting passes without reports of the work you do, work which would otherwise not be done.
Last year we held a Volunteer Awards evening. It was small way of saying ‘thank you’ and a way in which the Town Council could pay tribute to your volunteering spirit and it was sheer joy to see so many in attendance. This year we might need to show gratitude in a more distant manner. Necessity is the mother of invention, and Covid-19 has created some ingenious ways of ‘getting together whilst not being together’, but in reality there’s nothing we want more than to meet and greet museum visitors and share friendships.
We are looking at re-opening the Museum, albeit within strict social-distancing limitations. We are planning the next phase of building enhancements including new galleries. We are developing modern ways of getting our town’s history ‘out there’. We will be open for business once again. You will be required. Your Museum Needs You!