Our volunteer numbers hit a new high

Published : Tue 1st Oct

A record number of more than 70,000 people are now volunteering for us, according to figures released this week in our Annual Report.

This landmark figure equals the number of Games Makers that were on hand during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Volunteers support our work by performing a huge range of different roles. These include helping with overnight toad patrols during the mating season from Leith Hill in Coldharbour, to getting out the dusters for a mega spring clean at Tyntesfield near Bristol.

Helen Ghosh, our Director-General, said: "Volunteers are vital to organisations like the National Trust. When you visit one of our properties, for the most part the people that welcome you, explain the history of the place and look after it are all volunteers. On the coast and in the countryside, it is often volunteers who restore habitats, care for wildlife and maintain footpaths. They are skilled and committed and we are lucky to be able to rely on their support."

Caring for local places

The number of people volunteering at the Trust, who combined would fill the O2 Arena more than three times over, shows the public’s growing interest in caring for their local places.

From room guides to membership recruiters, from bird counters to beach cleaners, the roles of our volunteers shape the places that we care for across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The South Lakes in Cumbria currently claims the top spot for the highest number of volunteers, with a staggering 937 people volunteering across this breathtaking area of the Lake District. A large number of those are involved on an occasional basis through volunteering groups or corporate partnerships with the Trust.

Following hard on its heals is Tyntesfield near Bristol. This Victorian Gothic revival house and its 540 acre rolling estate are now kept alive by 845 regular volunteers.

A growing number of volunteers

Our volunteer numbers have grown by 30,000 in the last decade. One of the Trust’s newest recruits is volunteer photographer Maria Greenshaw, 24, who joined as part of the OakMobile project.

Maria said of her experience: "When we moved to the UK from Russia when I was 13, my step-father used to take me to National Trust places at the weekend. So when I saw that there was a photography role available at the organisation for a new initiative, it was perfect. The work has really helped my photography skills. I’ve also found it has really built my confidence."

Helen Timbrell, our Volunteering and Community Involvement Director, said: "Over the last ten years, we have seen our volunteering community grow substantially. The work that our volunteers do is fantastic and we strive to ensure that the experiences the volunteers have are fulfilling and enjoyable. There are many ways in which we are doing this at the moment, with the growth of opportunities for families, young people, such as internships, group volunteering and working holidays. Over the next few years, we aim to continue our pledge to maintain and improve the volunteer experience so that we can all continue to look after special places, for everyone."

Republished through kind permission of the National Trust

Original article here