Project Volunteers

Project Officer - Kelvin Shewry

 

It was just less than two years ago that I started in this role as Development Officer for the Carved in Stone project. What an enjoyable and educational time it has been!

During my interview for the position it wasn’t my First World War knowledge which secured the job for me - for it was limited (!) at that time - but it was more my experience of working with volunteers and community groups which stood me in good stead. That said, the task of working with over 30 regular volunteers during the project was definitely a big learning experience. It was also the part of the project I enjoyed the most. This is in no doubt due to the fantastic group of people who were part of the team – hardworking, enthusiastic and fun to work with, to name just a few of their qualities. My sincere thanks go to all our volunteers for their efforts throughout the project.

The first of two other elements of the project I particularly found rewarding was the regular revealing of the interesting, and at times joyful, at times tragic, stories of our Mertonians from 100 years ago. Though most of these ended as sad stories, it felt important to bring these stories back into the present and make them known again. It has also spurred me into investigating my own family history during the wartime period.

The second element I have particularly enjoyed has been the staging of planned and additional events, such as our War Story and Discovery Days, and the guided walks and film screenings. Engaging with members of the public has been fun and we were especially glad to know when people learnt knew facts about the area in which we live. Thanks to all of you who have participated in the project one way or another, your interest in learning about Merton’s First World War heritage will keep the project going!

In fact, learning has played a large part of my role as project officer, not least for the project development side of the job. To work on different outputs and objectives simultaneously has been a challenge, and the skills I have learnt will stay with me for the future. (For those who live locally, this future will be with the Living Wandle Partnership team.) This is just one more reason I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work as part of the team on the Carved in Stone project.