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Unicorn Shortlisted for Prestigious Award

"WaveMakers" shortlisted for the Museums Association "Museums Change Lives" award

The Unicorn Preservation Society has been shortlisted in the Best Small Museum project category for the Museums Change Lives award. The awards celebrate the achievements of museums that are making a difference to the lives of their audiences and communities across the UK.

After a competitive shortlisting process, HMS Unicorn’s volunteering programme, “WaveMakers”, has made it to the final three, alongside other examples of best practise from across the UK. The WaveMakers volunteering programme is based on three principles to maximise the benefit to Unicorn’s volunteers:

  • Partnerships allow us to do better work with more people.
  • Put interpersonal relationships first: volunteers work with people not with heritage.
  • Volunteers are not 'ours'. If they move on to further things, we've done our job.

We spoke to our charitable partners to identify which communities in Dundee had the greatest need for volunteer opportunities. We focussed in on younger people, people with disabilities, and people out of work, many of whom face barriers to work, education or engagement.. At the end of the year, 44% of our volunteers were aged 16-25, 69% identify as having a disability, 40% went on to further employment, and 23% on to further education.

One volunteer said of the programme:

“To me, volunteering at the Unicorn was the best decision I've ever made, it's improved my confidence massively, my mental health has been so much better, it really gives me a reason to leave the house and I always look forward to coming on board ... I am super grateful to everyone on board for making me feel like I can achieve what I want to do and inspiring me to have the confidence to want to apply to uni at last!”

Museum Director Matthew Bellhouse Moran said:

“Just to be nominated for this award is a leap forward for Unicorn and represents the huge changes undergone over the last year. I am proud of the team on board delivering world-class experiences on Scotland’s oldest ship”. This year’s awards will take place in Edinburgh on Thursday 3 November as part of the Museums Association’s annual conference.

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