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Posted 25th July 2016

The Watts Experience

by Ronald Cork

I became a Watts volunteer in 2011, shortly after the Gallery reopened and following the successful completion of the Hope refurbishment project. Since then I have been drawn into what I call 'the Watts experience'.

Watts Gallery Trust is a dynamic organisation which does not stand still, offering many opportunities for volunteers. For example, volunteers welcome visitors and act as stewards in Watts Gallery; they help with gardening and assist front of house staff in the Visitor Centre.

For my part, since becoming a volunteer, I have trained as a tour guide, assisted with annual customer surveys and taken part in volunteer recruitment days and in initiatives to sign up more Friends of Watts Gallery – Artists' Village.

There are regular meetings between volunteers and the staff of the Trust, and quarterly collection training is also offered to volunteers.

Volunteering here is prestigious. In 2012, Watts volunteers gained the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, and the newly refurbished Gallery was shortlisted for the Art Fund Museum of the Year.

More recently, in January 2016, Watts Studios — comprising three new galleries — opened to critical acclaim, attracting extra visitors to the Artists' Village and offering more opportunities for volunteers to become involved in the Watts experience. 2017 will see exhibitions and events to mark the bicentenary of the birth of G F Watts.

Watts Gallery Trust is an independent charity, and we rely on the commitment of over 300 volunteers. Thank you to all our volunteers for your hard work and commitment to making the Artists' Village a great place to visit!

Interested in joining our volunteer team? Visit our volunteers page or attend the next Volunteer Open Morning on Friday 29 July at 11am.