Why do we need volunteers?
Volunteering with the Museum of Freemasonry (MoF) provides opportunities to try new things, gain new skills and meet new people.
The MoF is keen to improve access to its museum, library and archive resources. Volunteers provide highly valuable additional support, working alongside qualified and paid staff. Volunteers are not expected to undertake core MoF service delivery tasks or to replace the specialised roles of staff.
- To engage volunteers in helping to provide all users with an excellent service, a warm welcome and a safe experience
- To offer fulfilling volunteering experiences and opportunities that support skills development
- To foster ambassadors for the Museum within the wider community, and beyond.
Volunteer role descriptions will be prepared for all roles. These are to help us and volunteers to be clear about the various tasks that we expect volunteers to carry out.
We will only take on as many volunteers as we can adequately support and supervise at any time. This means we will only recruit when a particular role becomes vacant.
We will work to attract a diverse body of volunteers – including both freemasons and non-freemasons – and will decide how to advertise vacancies on a role by role basis. Vacant roles will be posted on the Museum website. Additional advertising methods may include:
- Posting on external volunteer websites or online museum forums
- Posters or other recruitment material distributed to target or interest groups
- Social media
- Through United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) media and press channels
- Through Provincial Grand Lodges
Anyone interested in a volunteer vacancy will be able to access a role description, the volunteer policy and background information about the museum on our website. They will be asked to complete a simple application form and suitable applicants will be invited in for an informal interview. We will endeavour to reply to all applicants including unsuccessful ones.
Following the informal interview, if both volunteer and MoF are in agreement, we will seek two references. Volunteers will be asked to provide ID and proof of address. Once satisfactory references have been received the volunteer may then start a one month’s trial period. This is as much an opportunity for the volunteer to find out if they will enjoy the role as for us to be sure that the volunteer is right for it.
Our recruitment will be to specifically advertised, vacant roles. On rare occasions we may take on volunteers who have something to offer outside of these roles, but we can only do so when there is a genuine benefit to us and where we can provide adequate support to the volunteer.
What tasks can a volunteer expect to be allocated?
We currently have five volunteer roles:
- Archive Volunteer
- Events Volunteer
- Library Volunteer
- Museum Collections Volunteer
- Visitor Assistant Volunteer
Role descriptions give further details of the duties. Suitability for a role will depend on the individual volunteer’s experience and preferences.
Induction, training and supervision
All volunteers will receive an induction including:
- Introduction to the Museum
- A tour of the building and introduction to the wider team
- Health & safety, security and emergency response
- Equality and diversity policy
- Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults as appropriate to role
- An induction pack
This will be supplemented by on the job training specific to the role. On occasion volunteers may be expected to attend staff training sessions on general issues, such as health and safety.
Each volunteer will have a named supervisor, who will support them on a day-to-day basis. Volunteers will be able to discuss progress and problems with their supervisor on a regular ongoing basis. Volunteers are welcome to ask their supervisor for a reference.
We will aim to conduct an informal exit interview with volunteers leaving MoF, or encourage the completion of a leaving questionnaire. This will help us monitor how well we are involving volunteers, and whether volunteering with us has helped people move into paid work or other activities.
Health and safety
We have a duty of care to all volunteers and will take all reasonable steps to protect their health and safety at the Museum. Volunteers are required to follow all MoF’s health and safety procedures and to adhere to the safety policy of UGLE, who manage the building:
United Grand Lodge is committed to pursuing excellence in everything it does and this includes the management of health safety at Freemasons' Hall for our staff, members, our tenants and visitors.
All our staff, members, tenants and visitors must have an awareness and understanding of health and safety hazards and risks that affect our organisation and building and UGLE expects everyone to be responsible for the day-to-day arrangements to ensure that work in and visits to Freemasons' Hall are conducted in an efficient and safe manner.
Any accidents or near misses involving volunteers will be recorded in the Museum accident book.
All volunteer roles will be risk assessed, using a standard template and covering both the tasks involved and environment in which they will be conducted.
Prior to taking up a volunteer role, we will request information from all volunteers on any health issues, needs and access requirements relevant to helping ensure their safe involvement. This information will be requested and held securely in line with our data protection policy.
Volunteers are covered by our insurance cover.
Length of placement
The length of the placement will be agreed with a volunteer before they start. Usually, placements will be at least two months full-time or at least six months if the volunteering happens one or two days per week. All voluntary placements are subject to review every six months.
Volunteers are free to stop volunteering whenever they like but it is appreciated if some notice is given.
Equality and diversity
The Museum of Freemasonry is committed to embracing diversity and promoting equality and inclusion.
We are committed to making our volunteer opportunities as accessible as possible. We will discuss any access needs prospective or existing volunteers may have to help identify appropriate volunteering opportunities and ensure their safe and full involvement.
When representing the MoF we expect volunteers to support our commitment to promoting equality. We will not tolerate abusive or discriminatory language or behaviour from any of our volunteers or paid staff.
Safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults
Volunteers likely to be in contact with children or vulnerable adults will be required to undergo a criminal record check. This information will be confidential and only relevant convictions will be taken into account.
Safeguarding information will form a part of the core training and induction programme for any volunteers working with children or vulnerable adults.
We will repay the cost of travel by public transport within Zones 1-6 in the London area to Freemasons’ Hall. Volunteers are expected to use the cheapest payment method available and make use of any discounts or free travel to which they are entitled. Volunteers travelling outside Zones 1-6 may claim for the cost of a journey from up to Zone 6.
Proof of payment must be submitted for every journey claimed. This could include a receipt, a ticket, or a highlighted Oyster card history or bank statement (if contactless card payment has been used).
Any other out of pocket expenses to be claimed must be agreed in advance with the supervisor.
Behaviour, attendance and breaks
Volunteers represent the Museum of Freemasonry to the public. We expect our volunteers to behave professionally at all times and to support our mission, vision and values.
We value the time that volunteers invest in their activities with us and we rely on volunteers turning up when they agree to do so. We ask that volunteers let their supervisor know in advance, or as soon as possible, if they are unable to attend for any reason.
We understand that from time to time volunteers may have other commitments which prevent participation in the programme. We will endeavour to work with volunteers to help overcome any difficulties preventing volunteering.
If absence occurs repeatedly where a volunteer activity has been agreed, we will assume the volunteer is no longer interested in working with us.
We encourage volunteers to take a regular morning, lunchtime and afternoon rest break. For health and safety reasons volunteers should not carry out activities for more than 6 hours without at least a 20-minute rest break.
Confidentiality and security
Volunteers may have access to confidential information or to irreplaceable publications, archives and museum items. Volunteers have a responsibility to maintain the confidentiality and security of such material, and to follow any relevant data protection or security procedures.
Under data protection legislation, personal details of volunteers will be retained for administrative purposes relating to the role in accordance with the Museum of Freemasonry privacy policies covering both staff and members of the public. Supervisors will point out the relevant sections of these privacy policies at the start of the placement and copies are available on the Museum website and staff intranet.
All creative work produced as part of the volunteer role is copyright of the Museum of Freemasonry. Volunteers must not remove any materials in any format without the permission of their Supervisor
We will try to resolve fairly any problems, grievances or difficulties volunteers may have whilst on their placements. Volunteers should raise any problems with their supervisor initially but should refer any unresolved issues to the Director of the Museum of Freemasonry.
Recognition and reward
We could not do the work we do without our volunteers. To acknowledge this we will always say thank you and show appreciation for a job well done.
We will hold social events each year to celebrate our achievements. During these events volunteers will get an opportunity to meet other volunteers and supporters of our work and share in our plans for the future.
We will take opportunities on our social media and other external communications to praise the achievements of our volunteers.