Compton Verney certainly isn’t different from many arts or heritage organisations in that volunteering is crucial to achieving its aims. As a result, and to mark the start of the twenty fourteen season I last week arranged a small gathering of grounds volunteers for cake, catch-up and Capability Brown chat! And where did we meet? The atmospheric (and freshly swept!) gun room! I hasten to add that guns stopped being stored there many, many moons ago!
The Compton Verney grounds team might be small by some estate standards, less than ten in total, but we’re certainly a multi-skilled team. Indeed, when we’re out working in the grounds, we’re spread so thinly that you would be hard-pressed to find one of us at all! Consequently, as the team slowly grows it has become more important than ever to gather together so that we’re all reading off the same hymn sheet.
During our meeting I made opportunity to bring the team up to scratch with our business plan for the foreseeable future, and of course we talked about our new Local Wildlife Site status, explaining how this worked and its opportunities. We then moved on to some of our exciting grounds-based events for the year, including digital SLR photography workshops and tree climbing days – and it was great to get such positive reactions from the team.
The most fascinating part however was a chat through the many elements of our exciting Heritage Lottery Funded project, which concerns the chapel and grounds. For this I was helped along by Chris Carter, one of our respected governors with a long association with the grounds at Compton Verney, and we jointly brought the team up-to-speed. This subject alone offers such great opportunity for the grounds, and we’re all really engaged and ready for action!
Following the indoor session, we ventured out to tour many of the locations where change could be effected, and it was really heartening to see the team chatting and laughing. It was a reminder for me of why the landscape and its renovation is so valuable – it really does bring people together. Yes, behind all our light-hearted chat, and in front of our eyes were the tasks that need attending over the coming weeks and months, but our gathering allowed us to see the cause more clearly I suppose, and for me was a real penny-dropping moment.
At this point, before veering towards another volunteer advertisement, I shall draw this post to a close with a huge thank you to the current team. We have already achieved so much over the last few years, and on behalf of Compton Verney we’re thankful and glad that you’re on board!