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This museum for kids is looking for volunteers

Words by Abi Scaife

Almost a year on from its dramatic reopening, the Young V&A Museum is once again opening its doors to volunteers. Across its 150-year history, hundreds of volunteers have crossed its threshold in a mission to support young people and their creativity - and now they’re looking for more people to join the team.

The museum is looking for volunteers who love getting stuck in, are passionate about kids and inspiring the next generation of young people. Smiley News caught up with Sumaiya, one of the Young V&A’s current volunteers, about why she loves her volunteering role so much - and why others should join in on the fun.

“I was aware that the museum was reopening and I was eager to go anyway [because] I had been when I was younger,” explains Sumaiya, whose title at the Young V&A is ‘Change Maker’.

The volunteer roles for the Young V&A are split into four titles - Change Maker, Story Teller, Play Maker, and Host. Other than Host, which entails being a friendly and welcoming guide to all visitors, the other three roles have a designated gallery to work in.

Front of House Team

'It's all about creativity.'

“[I work] the Design Gallery, which is targeted at 11 to 14-year-olds, introducing different ideas of design to children,” says Sumaiya. “It's less interactive than the rest of the galleries, but it's more about how design and innovation. We have an artist in residence who makes bags out of household objects.”

“It's all about creativity - they don't have to use things in the way that we want them to.”

Aimed at children all the way from babes-in-arms up to 14 years old, the Young V&A has something for everyone - and a whole host of volunteers who are willing to get stuck in. Children are encouraged to interact with exhibits, engaging with their own creativity and testing their limits.

The Young V&A is designed for children, rather than being a museum that simply has facilities for children. Here, children can adventure, explore, and engage in a safe and nurturing environment that inspires great things.

“Every child can find a place here,” adds Sumaiya. “It's a great introduction to the museum world. Children of all ages are accepted and find a place in the [Young V&A].”

“It's built for children with children [and families] in mind. A lot of museums have facilities, but because it's a museum for children the kids and also adults love it. Which is the main thing that makes the Young V&A really quite important.”


Built with children in mind.

But, as with many of the incredible charities we write about at Smiley News, the Young V&A is fuelled by its incredible and dedicated volunteers. Passionate about children, creativity and education, it doesn’t matter your reason for wanting to get involved with the Young V&A - they want people from all walks of life to bring fresh new energy to their ranks.

“If you're thinking about volunteering, you should definitely go for it - you have so much to gain,” says Sumaiya. “The Young V&A has such an inviting, warm, wholesome environment anyway, but it's it gives you a rewarding feeling.”

If time is your worry, never fear - you can tailor your volunteering hours to your own schedule. Whether you want to do a few days a week, or just an hour or two around a full-time job or even somewhere in the middle, the Young V&A will welcome you with open arms.

“It almost feels like you're just benefiting yourself because you're gaining experience and skills!” admits Sumaiya, who has been volunteering with the Young V&A for nearly a year now. “It fills you with happiness, interacting with visitors, being a friendly face and encouraging them to think creatively.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the Young V&A, or getting stuck in as a volunteer, you can find more information here on their website.

They are recruiting for 2 of 4 roles ahead of the summer. Applications for playmakers and hosts will be going live on 30thApril at this link.

Charity check-in 

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.  

Create. Create is the UK's leading charity empowering lives, reducing isolation and enhancing wellbeing through the creative arts. Support them here.

Save The Children UK. Save the Children is a UK charity for children that works in over 100 countries to make sure children are fed, learning and treated fairly. Learn more here.

Barnardo’s. This is a children's charity that protects and supports children and young people in the UK who need them. Find out more here.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Quality Education, Partnerships for the Goals.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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