3 June 2024

Glasgow Life volunteers enhance lives in the city

Glasgow Life is making the most of National Volunteers’ Week (Mon 3 June - Sun 9 June) by celebrating the outstanding support of thousands of volunteers who help the culture and sport charity.

Volunteers support Glasgow Life in delivering culture and sport across the city either at events – including Celtic Connections, the UCI Cycling World Championships and World Athletic Indoor Championships – or in regular roles at our museums, arts and music venues, libraries, and community and sport facilities.

In 2023/24, over 6,000 volunteers gave over 100,000 hours of their time to support us, helping enhance the experiences Glasgow offers to people who live and work in the city or visit it.

This year is the 40th anniversary of National Volunteers' Week, and the charity – one of Scotland’s largest – is marking four decades of volunteering by one of its most experienced and accomplished volunteers, Margaret Anderson. 

Margaret, who will be 80 this year and lives in Glasgow’s southside, gives her time to offer visitors free guided tours at The Burrell Collection.

Sharing her wealth of knowledge of its treasures, and bringing their stories to life through her love of history, she is respected and very popular with the museum’s team and visitors alike.

An outstanding ambassador for both volunteering and the world-famous attraction, she was awarded an MBE for her services to volunteering, and wonderful support of Glasgow Life Museums, in 2004.

In 1984 Margaret became one of the first people to enrol to become a volunteer guide at The Burrell Collection. Having been a history teacher before starting her family, Margaret had an interest in museums and was keen to see Sir William Burrell’s remarkable collection of historic treasures.

Through the years, Margaret has had many volunteer roles at The Burrell Collection, interviewing and training new volunteers, gathering research, helping shape Glasgow Life Museums volunteering policy and procedures, and acting as the volunteer guide organiser.

Glasgow Life Museums volunteer guide Margaret Anderson says: "Over the course of my years volunteering at The Burrell I’ve seen many changes. The guided tours we offer have evolved and we’ve introduced specialist themed tours. Rooms have been altered, and the building itself has of course been transformed by its major renovation. Displays of the collection have changed considerably too, and there have been many innovations, with digital and interactive displays being introduced to make the experience of visitors of all ages more interactive, accessible and inclusive.

"One thing that has remained consistent though is that as a volunteer guide, you are always learning and gaining new experiences, which is wonderful. I love the opportunity of meeting visitors from all over the world and have been amazed at how far some have travelled to Glasgow – sometimes to spend just a day here – with the sole purpose of visiting the museum, as it’s renowned as a world-class attraction. Showing them around and telling them about the Collection is always rewarding. It’s fascinating to hear their impressions of the exhibits and even after all these years, some of the questions they ask can still be new to me!"

Glasgow Life Head of Museums, Duncan Dornan, said: "Margaret is a wonderful asset to The Burrell Collection and the contribution that she has made, and continues to make, is truly remarkable. She, and all of the volunteers who support our museums teams, help in so many ways to enhance our cultural offering, enabling all of our venues, to offer an exceptional, welcoming and memorable visitor experience."

Glasgow Life Chief Executive, Susan Deighan, added: "We are extremely proud and grateful to have the outstanding support of so many dedicated, wonderful volunteers who help us make a real difference to the lives of people in Glasgow and visitors’ experience of it.

"Our charity’s mission is to enhance health and wellbeing through culture and sport, and our volunteers play a major part in helping us to do that. We are indebted to every one of our volunteers for their assistance, commitment and enthusiasm. They are a real credit to our city. Their invaluable support helps Glasgow Life achieve all that it does across its services, programmes and events to benefit our city and communities. During National Volunteers' Week, we want to ensure they know how much we appreciate all that they do." 

Glasgow Life’s volunteer programme aims to offer diverse opportunities that are rewarding for volunteers of all ages and abilities and from all backgrounds.  Our volunteers’ feedback highlights the fulfilment many feel from having the chance to give something back, and the satisfaction and enjoyment of their roles.

They tell us they feel more connected with their communities, have improved physical and mental health, gained confidence, new skills and experience, and also made life-long friends from volunteering.

Anyone who feels they may be able to donate some of their valued time to supporting our charity’s work should visit www.glasgowlife.org.uk/volunteer-with-us to find out more about the range of opportunities we offer.