Ella's Story

Meet the Team, Case Study

Gallery, Ella

Family Learning Volunteer


Describe your average day…

Paul or Mollie are there when I arrive and they brief me on what’s happening with the family arts session that day. I’ll help Mollie set up and as people arrive, I meet, greet and sign them into the register.

It depends what is on that day e.g. kids club or visiting artist. Most of what I do is to make people feel welcome and help if anyone needs it.

Each day is different, I especially enjoy the days when I meet children that need extra support, and I am able to play with them or teach them something new.

Some days I am there to chat and interact with people there and I find this more of a challenge, but it can be really special.


Why did you want to volunteer?

I felt like I wanted to do something that was community and experience with art that wasn’t just in my school. My mum goes to pottery classes and her friend says she volunteers here and that’s when I found out about it. I remember coming in for the first time and I didn’t know what to expect but everyone’s really friendly.


What’s your favourite part of the role?

Making the children smile. If some of the children feel a bit uneasy or anxious, the most fulfilment I get is when I can help ease their nerves a bit. E.g. saying ‘oh shall we play some music' or asking if they need any help.


What three skills do you think you need in your role? What skills do you bring to the role?

It helps that I know a bit of art stuff. For example, knowing how to split up clay and artsy activities, it helps but not necessary.

Calm energy, if I was one of the children coming into the family arts sessions, that’s what I’d want.


What is the most challenging aspect of your role?

I do find some of the social aspects tricky or tiring partly because of my autism.


How would you describe the team at the Gallery?

So friendly, so open to questions, just really friendly.

Paul and Mollie often talk to me about university art things which is quite nice – the other day it was like Paul was advertising me to someone – an artist – he was just talking about my art being up in the gallery and that I was a really great painter.


What’s your biggest achievement so far?

I had the opportunity to be in the artist of the month space.

I think that’s the other thing about volunteering is the opportunity that comes with it and the community.

I moved to Letchworth at the beginning of lockdown, and I didn’t know much about Letchworth and I wasn’t involved in the community because of Covid so it’s been really nice to have a place where people come together in Letchworth.


Why would you recommend volunteering at Broadway Gallery?

Great experience and opportunities and it’s just, if you’re going to volunteer anywhere I would suggest here. I don’t think in other places or towns you get the same community vibe you get here.

There’s so much talent, e.g. the artists who come and teach, also the Letchworth Open.


What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I do a lot of singing.

Other than school work, most of what I do is hanging out with my dogs, I like being in nature and being at home with my family and being cosy.

And doing art, obviously.


What was the last film you watched?

Bridget Jones’s diary.

It wasn’t my favourite film but it was good.


If you could meet one famous person, who would it be?

Amybeth McNulty – played Anne in Anne with an E. She seems really nice.

I love that show, would 10/10 recommend.


If you could go back into any period of time, which year would you choose and why?

I would have loved to see like the concerts of Fiona Apple and Tori Amos and Lauryn Hill in the 90s.

I’d love the makeup from the 60s.