The custodians at Plas Mawr are supported by a number of volunteers. Together they are the face of the visitor experience.
Activity of volunteers
After the initial welcome by the custodians, the volunteers are the next point of contact for the visitors to Plas Mawr.
It is very important that visitors to the house are met in a welcoming, friendly manner. The volunteers act as room stewards and will explain the function of various rooms and the items within it. The volunteers offer snippets of interesting information about the house that are not on the audio or information sheets and this helps enhance the visitor experience.
They direct visitors into areas they may have missed and have an important role in maintaining security and safety. The volunteers keep a watchful eye on items contained in the rooms and can quickly alert custodians if a visitor is taken ill or has the misfortune to have an accident. They can also raise the alarm if we have a visitor or group behaving in a manner likely to cause damage or annoyance to others, which fortunately is rare.
Some of the volunteers have joined in activities such as the sewing group. They have made costumes for children to try on. It helps the children enjoy the experience even more. Some volunteers take on extra duties helping with the education visits. Their interest and enthusiasm inspires the children and we frequently have children returning to the site with their parents because they enjoyed themselves so much.
Benefit of this activity
Having such a group of dedicated volunteers within Plas Mawr is a huge benefit. It is their enthusiasm for the house, coupled with their love of history which helps to promote the signature of the site and its relevance to Welsh culture and history. They answer visitor questions not only about the house, but about other interesting places in the area.
Visitors having a positive experience will often return for another visit and will spread the word to friends, relations and work colleagues, which in turn encourages more visitors to the area helping the local economy. Their work with the school groups help to inspire a love of history in the children which can only be beneficial in maintaining interest in Welsh culture and history. The positive feedback on social media and the in-house comment sheets is second to none.
The volunteers at Plas Mawr are an integral part of the visitor experience. Many have given their time for a considerable number of years to promote Plas Mawr and Welsh culture. They have encouraged friends and acquaintances to volunteer. Although the house is open on a seasonal basis, it can be extremely cold early and late in the season but the volunteers still attend, giving their time freely and in all weathers.