This autumn, we welcomed Putri Sasongko to the INTO team. Putri has been studying for a Masters in Historic Building Conservation at Kingston University here in London and, as a member of BPPI Indonesian Heritage Trust, attended part of the Cambridge Conference. Inspired by what she learned there about the work of INTO and looking forward to the next ICNT in Bali in 2017, Putri offered her services as a volunteer.
Over the past four months, Putri has helped with several projects including setting up an Instagram account (@internationaltrusts #INTOmoments) and sharing her knowledge and experience with other INTO members via our Beginners Social Media Webinar.
Putri’s eye for design was put to great effect in developing a series of promotional postcards for INTO. She also led arrangements for our Winter Drinks at the end of last year – even singing a few songs!
We all know that volunteers help our organisations connect with the communities they serve. The same is true of INTO. And we are particularly passionate about helping young people around the world engage with heritage. There are benefits to everyone from this. They bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to current projects, and in the years ahead they will be the ones looking after special places and passing them on to future generations. For young people, volunteering brings opportunities to develop new skills, interests and aspirations, to connect with wider communities of interest and to have fun!
So this week, I joined Putri and her parents at Ham House the day before her graduation ceremony and a week before she heads back to Indonesia. We enjoyed a special behind the scenes visit with the General Manager, a short gallop around the garden and then a preventative conservation tour.
Ham House, on the banks of the Thames between Richmond and Kingston, was built in 1610 and has a rich history charting the high and lows of life during the English Civil War, thrillingly brought to life for us by the NT team.
I was sad to say goodbye to Putri. Her enthusiasm and can-do attitude has made working with her a huge pleasure and I’ve learned a lot too. It is only au revoir however as Putri will be continuing to volunteer on the 17th ICNT which will be held in Bali in September 2017 so we look forward to keeping in touch after her return home next week. Thank you, good luck and happy travels, Putri!