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Volunteers Week spotlight – Sarah from our Board of Trustees

7 June 2019 by Rachel O'Malley

Volunteers are an integral part of National Museums Liverpool, and without them, important work would not be able to take place. To celebrate Volunteers Week we are meeting more volunteers as part of a bumper Volunteer Spotlight series so we can really celebrate the different contributions that our amazing volunteers make.

Volunteering comes in many forms, especially here at National Museums Liverpool. From Education to our Finance department, but we even have volunteers at senior level. Our Board of Trustee’s all support the organisation in their own time and are passionate about culture and museums, as well as the Liverpool City Region. Trustees offer useful and practical advice to our Executive Team regarding the organisation’s strategies, as well as smaller meetings with departments regarding specific issues.

Sarah Dean is one of the most recent additions to the Board of Trustees; her day to day role is as a senior member of the finance team at the Grosvenor Estate Family Office, but she has been a keen volunteer since her teenage years. Sarah was a volunteer Expedition Leader and Assessor for the Duke of Edinburgh Award for fifteen years; as well as being a Trustee she is also Chair of Governors at a Cheshire primary school. She rightly said that volunteering is a good thing for you to do, for your mental health and wellbeing and it’s good to be able to give something back.

Originally hailing from the Wirral, Sarah has a strong affinity for the city of Liverpool and its surrounding areas: she describes it as a diverse hub of northern culture. I’m sure a lot of us will agree that we are lucky to have such a large organisation like National Museums Liverpool on our doorstep, and Sarah is happy to have been able to experience our venues as a child, student and parent, and now as a Trustee.

When the opportunity to join the board arose, Sarah wanted to be a part of such an important cultural environment (in Liverpool, the UK and globally) and help to build an organisation for the future.

When asked about a favourite memory from her time as a Trustee so far, Sarah said that it had to be her induction day as it was mind-blowing (as well as part exciting and part terrifying!) She was able to see how all of the roles within the organisation marry together, from funding to finance to the collections and the impact that these have on our society. Digging a little deeper, Sarah also told me about a particular experience from her time volunteering with a Duke of Edinburgh team; Sarah loved being able to support them during a particularly tough weekend and at the end of it they all gave her a massive hug to say thank you for the help; the group also nominated Sarah to go to Buckingham Palace with them to receive their awards.

Every time I meet one of our volunteers, it amazes me how much they fit in to their time, which they offer so freely. Sarah and her family are currently restoring a home in North Wales, were she can be found happily in the garden or playing with her three children. She is a fan of the theatre and ballet and when she can sneak a minute, Sarah enjoys the escapism of a good book. On top of all that, she has also recently taken up burlesque, which she recommends if you would like a good laugh!

I always love hearing why people volunteer and why they choose to volunteer with National Museums Liverpool. Sarah explained that it’s about being part of something bigger, something for the city of Liverpool and the North West region; not only are you helping the organisation but you are helping society and the communities around us. Furthermore, if you have leadership skills, being a Trustee is a great way to use your knowledge to support others.

  1. Liz Millman says:

    Hi Rachel

    Please can you phone or email me about support for an NLHF project in Wales which is called “From Sheep to Sugar”

    I came to the Maritime Museum last week to see how we could best promote volunteering opportunities to help research the shipment of a cloth called Welsh Plains as part of the Slave Trade.

    I had phoned, emailed and left messages before but got no response and even when we visited, we were just told to email again. So that was not good . The Maritime Archives were helpful, but we need to recruit interested volunteers from Liverpool and area to do research into the specific part of the trade through Liverpool .

    Can you help us? A colleague said she thought you might be able to.


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