Pools supporters take top prize.

I popped down to Kensington Meadows yesterday to get a view across the River Avon to where work is well underway on the restoration of Bath’s historic Georgian lido – the Cleveland Pools.

This open-air swimming complex is being brought back to life by the efforts of the Cleveland Pools Trust and it’s good to hear how the work of some of its supporters has just won national attention.

The Interpretation Volunteers at the Trust are the National Winners of the prestigious 2020 Marsh Volunteer Awards, which celebrate the work and achievements of museum volunteers across the UK.

After winning the South West category, the Trust and its volunteers went on to win the National award at a smart ceremony at the British Museum in London yesterday, 1st November 2021.

The British Museum and the Marsh Charitable Trust work in partnership for the ‘Volunteers for Museum Learning’ award which recognises the hugely important contribution that volunteers make to help museums engage with their visitors.

Celebrating the time volunteers have given in the previous year is particularly pertinent as teams and individuals continued to provide support throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

The award forms part of a programme of awards presented by the Marsh Charitable Trust in the fields of science, ecology, conservation, heritage, literature and volunteering and is managed in association with key partners including the Zoological Society of London, English Heritage, Barnardo’s, the Refugee Council and the British Museum.

The Cleveland Pools’ Interpretation Volunteers won for their efforts in the following areas:

  • Creation of display boards and community testing – led by Julie Kent, June Hannam, Amy Feldman Hurst and Jess Politt
  • Development and piloting of heritage learning materials – led by Alison Horgan
  • Intergenerational Film Project with Mentoring Plus – led by Katie Thoburn
  • Creation of films telling the story of the pools and celebrating start of restoration – led by Louise Wirick
  • Development and community testing of our short heritage walking trail – led by Steve Pittard
  • New branding development and community testing – led by Matthew Croft
  • Research on pools history and soon to be published book on the pools – Linda Watts
  • Support for community testing and evaluation of how we tell the story – led by Martin Meredith

Their work was particularly commended for its playful tone. The ‘less facts, more splash’ approach, coined by a volunteer, was highly praised by the head judge.

There were a large number of applications from across the UK, some from groups of volunteers and some from individuals. The judges consisted of staff from the Marsh Trust, staff and volunteers from the British Museum and a representative from National Museum Wales. Due to the British Museum’s involvement in the ceremony and judging, volunteers from the British Museum are ineligible for the awards. 

Muriel Gray, Deputy Chair of the Trustees at the British Museum said “Museums across the UK are grateful for the contribution of volunteers to ensure their collections reach and inspire as many people as possible. The efforts of volunteers up and down the country in 2020 are an inspiration as they gave their time throughout the challenges of multiple lockdowns and museum closures due to the pandemic. The Marsh Volunteer Awards recognise the commitment and enthusiasm of volunteers in museums and we are very grateful to the Marsh Charitable Trust for acknowledging this work.”

Alice Le Page, the Learning and Engagement Trustee for the Cleveland Pools Trust added “We are absolutely thrilled that our Interpretation Volunteer team has been recognised with this National Award by the Marsh Awards for their unwavering commitment to the Pools. It has been a challenging year but continuing to collaborate with volunteers has been essential to ensure our communities are represented and to create accessible, relevant, and engaging interpretation for this important heritage site. Volunteers remain at the heart of this organisation, and we are honoured to have built not just partnerships but friendships with some truly wonderful people. Thank you!”

The winners will each receive a cash prize of £500, donated by the Marsh Charitable Trust. The one overall national winner receives an additional £2,000.


The list of winners for the 2020 Volunteers for Museum Learning is:


Edinburgh Living History Group Volunteers, Museums & Galleries Edinburgh, Edinburgh.

North East

Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery Volunteers, Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery, Northumberland.

North West (Joint Winners)

‘Stories we Share’ Volunteers, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester.

‘Philosophy Café’ Volunteers, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester

Yorkshire (Joint Winners)

The Museums by Mail Volunteer Team, Sheffield Museums.

The Preservative Party, Leeds City Museum, Leeds.

East Midlands

Do You See What I See? Project Volunteers, Charnwood Museum, Leicester.

West Midlands

The Reminiscence Team at Birmingham Back to Backs (National Trust), Birmingham.


Sam Powell, Egypt Centre, Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, Swansea University, Swansea.

East of England 

‘Museum From Home’ activity pack volunteers, Colchester + Ipswich Museums, Suffolk.

South West

The Interpretation Volunteers at Cleveland Pools Trust, Bath.

South East

The ‘Diving Deep: HMS Invincible 1744’ volunteers, The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth.


The Garden Guide Volunteers, Ham House Garden, Richmond.

Northern Ireland 

Ian McLarnon Sinclair at Whitehead Railway Museum, Co Antrim.

National Winners

The Interpretation Volunteers at Cleveland Pools Trust, Bath.


  1. Well done all involved , I remember swimming there in the early 80’s , riding down with my school mate’s on our BMX’s! Also bumped into the guy’s back in July in town ,and helped with a donation.
    Congratulations all

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