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Meet the Volunteers: Ryan Sanders

Ryan standing on the Weather Deck talking to a colleague


Image credit: Zoe Parry.

From guiding people around the ship, improving access to the library Collection to helping with our educational activities, meet the people making a difference and find out what it's like to volunteer at Brunel's ss Great Britain.

'When I left college I never thought I would be volunteering at one of my favourite childhood places!

I volunteered at Brunel’s ss Great Britain after I finished college a year ago and had not found full-time work. So, instead of sitting around at home, I decided to volunteer at a place of interest.  I would say it is the best thing I’ve done to date!  I get to meet great people, volunteers and staff, who are all so kind, helpful and welcoming. They’re always happy to help you out with any of your problems or needs.

I am a Visitor Services Volunteer. In this role I try to make the visitors’ experience of the ss Great Britain as good as possible. I have learned so many amazing stories from the other volunteers and from the visitors themselves, and I enjoying using this to help make someone’s visit even more fascinating. I help out on the welcome desk nearing the end of my half a day shift, to welcome people to the ss Great Britain and help them plan their visit.

Once you’re comfortable in your Visitor Service role you can take the next step and become a Meet and Greet Volunteer, which is something I am training for now. The role is to greet tour groups that are visiting the ship.  It’s not long now until I finish my meet and greet training.

Another part of my role is to assist the tour guides if they have a large number of people on the tour. I help people use the lifts and answer any questions on the tours.

I volunteered at the ss Great Britain to gain work experience and to increase my social skills, because I have autism/aspergers.  I have certainly gained confidence since volunteering here. I have learned many new things about Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the ss Great Britain and Bristol Harbour.

I would recommend volunteering at Brunel’s ss Great Britain with all my heart, it’s a great place to learn new skills, you meet new friends and many amazing people'.


Our volunteers play an important part in all that we do. Having our volunteer team provides more opportunity for visitors to engage with a person, ask questions and to learn more.

If you are interested in volunteering at Brunel's ss Great Britain, please visit our volunteers page for more information and news. The opening of our new museum in 2018 will create new roles and opportunities. More information on how you can get involved will be updated soon.

Read more blogs written by our volunteers: