Volunteer work supports student’s ‘deep passion’ for history

HISTORY A-Level student Alex Morrell is enriching her love of the subject with volunteer work at one of the finest English Heritage sites in the region.

Alex first applied to volunteer at Belsay Hall, a grand country house estate in Northumberland, as part of her Year 11 work experience, and gave her time there over the summer.

Now in Year 12, Alex has secured a longer-term placement as part of the Sixth Form’s community service programme and supports the conservation and upkeep of the Hall.

Alex says the placement helps fuel her passion for history. “I have a deep passion for all things history, so to be a part of conserving it, no matter how little the task is, deeply fulfils me,” she explains.

Belsay Hall is a beautiful, Regency-style house and14th century castle set in 30 acres of Grade I listed gardens. It is regarded as the first British country house to be built entirely in the new Greek revival style.

As a young heritage volunteer, Alex was working in the gift shop and giving tours over the Summer. Now, as part of the community service placement, she works in the Hall and is developing knowledge and interest in the conservation of the building and its historical artefacts.

Dame Allan’s Sixth Form runs an extra-curricular community service programme to allow students to gain experience and give back to their community through volunteer work.

The school works with a number of partners including care homes and primary schools, although students are encouraged to arrange their own placements in an environment that suits their interests.

Alex, from Newcastle, is studying for A-Levels in Geography, Psychology and History and has always enjoyed visiting Belsay Hall. She says: “To volunteer for a place that brings me so much joy was a no brainer for me. 

“Volunteering and community service is so important because it feels good to give back to the community and to help other people.

“My placement allows me to become a more proactive and helpful individual, while also helping to develop my people skills.”