Over 300 volunteers contribute to the daily operations of the cathedral

Owen Towndrow, Visitor Engagement Officer, said: “Volunteering is about giving, and we are very fortunate at Hereford Cathedral to have a wonderful team of volunteers who support our work and help us to deliver our mission and ministry. If you’re interested in becoming part of one of the county’s top tourist destinations – welcoming worshippers, tourists, music enthusiasts, and many more – we invite you to come and introduce yourself. You may be surprised at how much your experience, enthusiasm and talent can enrich and enhance our devoted volunteer teams”

Volunteers‘ Week is a celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering in their communities. The celebration starts on the first Monday in June every year and it’s a chance to recognise, celebrate and thank the UK’s incredible volunteers for all they contribute to our local community.  

Hereford Cathedral is a diverse community whose members participate in its mission and ministry in a host of ways. More than 300 volunteers play their part in the day-to-day life of the cathedral. The cathedral recognises the immense benefits that volunteers bring and by becoming a volunteer you become part of this vibrant and welcoming community.

Jenny Brooks, who joined the volunteer team at Hereford Cathedral in 2022, helps out at Messy Church. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with her for a chat.

Hereford Cathedral: Jenny, what motivated you to start volunteering at Hereford Cathedral?
Jenny Brooks: I had been actively involved in another church for many years, including Messy Church, which I loved. When I arrived at the Cathedral I cast around for a 'slot' that I could usefully fill and, after a fairly short time I spotted a notice in the weekly pew sheet wanting volunteers for the newly-started Messy Church. For me, this was a 'yes!' moment - something I could offer, something I felt confident to do, something I felt passionate about and a good way of getting to know new people. I love the inclusive nature of Messy Church, the welcome to one and all, the all-age nature and the lack of any expectation of church background or Bible knowledge. It is absolutely 'church' with loads of fun, mess, hospitality, food and joy!

HC: What do you enjoy most about volunteering at Hereford Cathedral?
JB: They're such a lovely bunch. Messy Church comes under the banner of the Education and Families department with some Marketing and Events thrown in, a mixture of staff and volunteers. We plan together and have got to know each other better as the months have gone on. As Messy at the Cathedral only takes place in the school holidays the commitment is not so regular as I have been used to, freeing up time to do other things. I have also found myself helping out on school visits.

HC: What advice would you give to someone considering starting a volunteer role?
JB: Be open about giving things a try - you might reveal previously undiscovered talents.

There are many ways to be involved from cathedral guides and welcomers to shop helpers and volunteers for one off-event.
Peter O’Neill, who joined the volunteer team at Hereford Cathedral in 2020, contributes weekly to the Exhibitions.
Recently, we had the chance to sit down with him for a chat.

Hereford Cathedral: Peter, what motivated you to start volunteering at Hereford Cathedral?
Peter O'Neill: Volunteers allow the cathedral to thrive. I wanted to help cathedral after Covid, especially in the summer of 2020. As this is my local cathedral, I feel responsible for contributing a few hours a week. It's a small effort for a meaningful cause.

HC: What do you enjoy most about volunteering at Hereford Cathedral?
PO: I especially enjoy meeting visitors from around the world and welcoming them to Hereford, as they often head straight to the cathedral. It’s wonderful to learn from people and it’s fascinating to help out and see the Mappa Mundi every week.

HC:  You launched the Stained Glass Tour. Can you tell us more about it?
PO: I love Stained Glass. I always thought it would be lovely to give people tours, so I worked with Owen and we launched the Stained Glass Tours last year. It’s a less frequent tour but more specialised. We focus purely on the stained glass of the cathedral and we can highlight the windows’ symbolism and history from the medieval age through to the 21st century.

HC: What advice would you give to someone considering starting a volunteer role?
PO: I would say it’s an excellent opportunity—many volunteers become good friends, forming strong friendship groups. David and Owen are fantastic at organising events, and anyone looking to engage and support a local place will meet new people and learn from them every week. I can't imagine a better place to volunteer, surrounded by such historical beauty. Every time I walk from the Cloisters to the Mappa Mundi, I feel privileged. How many people in the world would love to experience the Mappa Mundi without an entry fee?

As part of your volunteering experience with Hereford Cathedral, you will be given the full support, training and opportunities you need to make your voluntary role with us a great success. A Welcome Pack has been designed to provide you with more information about volunteering at Hereford Cathedral and includes the volunteering application form.

If you would like to discuss volunteering opportunities at Hereford Cathedral further or think you might like to become a cathedral volunteer, please email or call our Volunteer Team for more details at [email protected] or call 01432 374 202.