The Volunteer Centre team brought a group of 12 LSE student volunteers to Ham House in Richmond on the 14th of November to help wrap Christmas gifts for the National Trust. It’s quite a trip from LSE campus to Ham House, but fortunately the students had lots to talk about so it gave them a chance to get to know each other. The ‘where are you from?’ question was, as always, a good ice breaker considering the, not surprisingly, mix of nationalities.
We were met by Jen from the National Trust, who brought us to the room in Ham House where we’re going to spend the day wrapping gifts. The room was packed with wrapped and unwrapped gifts and wrapping paper. Plus, we had access to an old-school CD player with typical (British) Christmas songs. Luckily some of us still remembered how it worked!
Let the wrapping begin…
After everyone settled in around the big table and a quick explanation by Jen, the wrapping could begin. It was soon clear that we had some professional gift wrappers in the group who’re more than happy to share their tips and tricks with the not so professional wrappers (that is, the VC team). The wrapping continued for about an hour with Christmas music in the background, a hot cup of tea, mince pies and cookies. And, not less importantly, whilst chatting away with other LSE students.
A private tour
We’re fortunate enough to get an architectural tour of Ham House by Adrian, one of Ham House’s dedicated volunteers. Learning more about the Ham House and its history was fascinating. We discovered among others that one of the previous owners of Ham House was one of England’s early feminists. Ham House clearly has a rich history to offer which goes beyond its beauty.
Back to work
After the tour and lunch, the students headed back up to continue the wrapping. By wrapping hunderds of gifts the National Trust can give gifts to children visiting their Father Christmas event. They couldn’t do this without the help of our student volunteers!
One of the student volunteers, Kate Belcher, (BSc Sociology 2018) said:
“It was great to take a break from usual LSE life and get to see a different part of London with new people from a huge range of backgrounds. The positive impact of the volunteering work was clear and the staff at Ham House were very friendly and accommodating as well as extremely grateful. It was a pleasure to give back to such a clearly remarkable place with centuries of history to it.”
All in all, it was a great day for the students and organisation.
Also want to volunteer?
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