Benefact Trust has recently awarded a grant to Coventry Cathedral and part of this wonderful gift will help fund the volunteering team, which is crucial for the sustainability of the Cathedral, the Ruins and the Blitz museum’s heritage.
Each volunteer has played a vital role in supporting the Cathedral in securing its heritage and ensuring the Cathedral remains in good order to be passed on to future generations. Volunteers help visitors to enjoy their time at the Cathedral, they give a visitor a warm welcome on a chilly morning and make themselves available to answer any questions on the history of the Cathedral. They are essential to the vision and mission of the Cathedral, from the incredible Events Volunteers who help with organising activities at an event, to the indispensable Tour Guide volunteers, and Chaplains who give a few hours each month to provide a ministry of welcome, prayer and listening to visitors.
Thanks to the wonderful grant from Benefact Trust, Coventry Cathedral will be able to recruit more volunteering roles to the volunteering team. One of the new roles is a Volunteer Speaker, who will be an ambassador for the Cathedral providing talks for older people in residential homes, religious groups, and youth clubs. This will have an impact, not only, on many diverse communities, and young people, but also on older people that cannot visit the Cathedral due to ill health and for whom the Cathedral was an important part of their life. The funding has allowed meeting the volunteers on a more regular basis, and the first regular meeting will be in the New Year. The funding has part funded a part-time Volunteer Coordinator who supports the volunteers and their roles for training, monitoring and engagement. The Volunteer Coordinator inspires volunteers to grow within their role and promotes exceptional volunteers for recognition for all that they do.
Jackie, the Volunteer Coordinator, mentions Peter one of their active volunteers:
‘Peter has been an integral part of the Tourism team for nearly 10 years and we simply couldn’t do what we do without him! Having started as a Guide he quickly spotted some opportunities to improve other areas of Tourism and offered his admin skills. We discovered he was a whiz on Microsoft Excel as he redesigned and streamlined the Group Booking process, making it quicker and more user friendly for both the Cathedral and our visitors. Peter now oversees the entire booking journey - checking availability, responding to queries, chasing payments and keeping a record of all of our bookings.
Peter also identified the opportunity to produce MI and KPI reports for the Tourism department and is constantly striving to improve the information reporting process. He is proactive, thorough, and pays great attention to detail. His reports go to all levels of the Cathedral team and have helped to inform some of the changes we have made to opening times, products and staff hours.
Throughout lockdown, Peter continued to volunteer from home - keeping up to date with everything remotely. This continued as lockdown measures eased - despite the fact that he wasn’t able to be here in person his commitment to his role never faltered, and his support was invaluable throughout Coventry’s busy year as City of Culture.
Peter continues to regularly anticipate the needs of the department before we realise them! His work is clear and concise, and his professionalism and dedication to his role is second to none. But perhaps especially important is what volunteering here means to Peter’.
Peter, one of the volunteers, said:
‘Volunteering gives you a purpose, you can give something back to the community. If you have special skills, make use of these or they will be lost. It’s a method of making new friends. You are more appreciated as a volunteer then you were when working.’
Mandy, Head of Fundraising, said:
‘Thank you, Benefact Trust, for this amazing funding. Funding volunteering is so important, unfortunately volunteering comes with a cost, and that’s why we are so grateful to the Benefact Trust for funding our incredible volunteering at the Coventry Cathedral.
It is not only Coventry Cathedral that gains from the awarded funding, there are many benefits of volunteering. Volunteers live longer and healthier, have a better social life and are less likely to feel isolated. Volunteering motivates local people to be part of something important, it gives them a sense of self-worth, helps them overcome loneliness and make new friends. Volunteering can increase a volunteer’s social skills, and offer unique opportunities to learn something new. Volunteering makes a positive difference here at the Cathedral, it provides hope for local people, improves local communities, and can be a positive lifeline to some’.
The Very Revd John Witcombe, MA MPhil Dean of Coventry, said:
‘We are incredibly grateful for the support of Benefact Trust in the life of Coventry Cathedral, to enable us to sustain and develop our mission. Our particular history as a ruined and rebuilt cathedral that offers fantastic opportunities, especially to use our story to influence and shape the lives of our many and diverse visitors, who make the most of our building for creative and imaginative worship. It also presents challenges of property maintenance, of resourcing the worship, and to recruit and develop a strong team of volunteers who welcome and guide our visitors. The Benefact Trust grant has supported the appointment of a new property manager, and to enabled us to create new posts both in liturgical administrative support and volunteer management, which are having a significant impact in our community engagement.’
Coventry Cathedral is a welcoming space that provides opportunities for prayer, reflection, creativity and engagement for all.
Open daily Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm and Sundays 12.30 – 3pm as well as for services.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer you can find out more about our opportunities here: https://www.coventrycathedral.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering
If you would like to donate to help the upkeep of Coventry Cathedral, you can do so here: https://www.coventrycathedral.org.uk/get-involved/support-us/donate