My name is Liz Bartram, and I recently won a place on the Vodafone World of Difference programme. The programme selects the winners from thousands of applicants to work for their chosen charity and get paid for their time.
The past few weeks have flown by since I began my project at my chosen charity, the Mills Archive Trust, so I must be having fun!
My project is to build relationships with other organisations, mainly universities, in order to promote the Mills Archive to a wider audience and encourage participation. I am particularly excited at the prospect of attracting a larger group of young people to make use of the Archive’s treasure trove of documents and images. This might be through research placements or work experience opportunities. One way this could become a reality is by creating the Mills Archive Scholarship Fund, to enable young people to participate.
My main focus so far has been drafting material to present to universities that demonstrates the benefits of developing a relationship with us. This is a first for the Archive in the sense of creating a formal approach to universities, and it is inspiring to work for a charity that allows me to contribute to a new strategy. Consequently I have been researching the advantages and challenges of collaboration between charities and other organisations. I have also investigated other work experience and research placements offered within the Archives sector, so as to get an idea of existing prospects for students and missed opportunities that the Mills Archive could offer.
Since working at the Mills Archive, I have gained an enhanced appreciation for the valuable work that the archives sector contributes to society as a whole, as well as to local communities. I see the value of the Mills Archive every day. The documents and images that are cared for are protected from being lost forever. The Archive provides rewarding opportunities to volunteer and participate in a variety of activities. I am privileged to work with a diverse group of volunteers and staff, who have differing reasons for involvement, but who are all working together for the benefit of the organisation. I hope that my project will contribute to the sustainability of the Mills Archive Trust so that it can continue to offer its services for many years to come.
If you would like to read more about my project, you can visit my blog.