Volunteer tour guide and publicity co-ordinator
Tell us a bit about yourself – what do you do when you’re not volunteering?
I’m a fibre artist, working with natural and recycled materials. I grow Japanese indigo in my garden, which I use for dyeing, and I use leaves to print on items I buy from charity shops. I also make felt and baskets – and I’ve run workshops on these at Art in the Park.
In addition to all this, I build websites – a hangover from 25 years I spent as a journalist!
What sort of volunteering work do you do with FoWG?
I head up the communications group for the Friends, sending out newsletters, updating the website and running the Twitter and Facebook accounts, among other things. I’m also a trained guide and a trustee.
How did you get into volunteering with FoWG?
I came across their stall at the Lambeth Country Show in 2010, when the Friends had just succeeded in getting a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore Brixton Windmill. I thought it would be good to write a blog recording the restoration of the windmill, so I started doing that.
Then when the windmill reopened after restoration I trained as a guide and became a member of the executive committee.
What is your favourite thing about volunteering?
It’s made me feel more rooted in the community – I’ve met and worked with a lot of local people, and it’s great to feel that we can make a difference by working together.
What is the one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to volunteer?
As well as the “front of house” roles on open days, like guiding, there are lots of things you can do behind the scenes, like events management, fundraising, publicity or gardening. So if you have existing skills that you think you can share, we’d love to hear from you!
How do you feel you have benefited from volunteering with FoWG?
As well as meeting new people I’ve also learnt new skills – for example, co-ordinating the crowdfunding campaign to raise money to fit out the new Brixton Windmill Centre.
Finally, tell us a surprising fact about the windmill that people may not know.
Brixton Windmill is the only survivor of 12 windmills that once existed in Lambeth. It survived because the Ashby family, which owned it, installed a set of millstones that were powered by steam in 1902. These are the same stones that we now use to grind flour in 2019 – only they are now powered by electricity.