Tag Archives: volunteers

We need your help!

25 Jan
bark-house-volunteering-by-jonathan-mcmeekin

Join us for a cuppa and find out more about volunteering

The National Trust is looking for people to donate their time and skills at Wordsworth House and Garden, in Cockermouth, where I live, and in the North Lakes countryside.

The Trust cares for over 20 per cent of the Lake District National Park together with many beautiful houses and gardens. As well as helping a fantastic cause, volunteering is a great way to make new friends or broaden a CV.

Zoe Gilbert, Visitor Experience Manager at poet William Wordsworth’s childhood home, said: “As a charity, we’re entirely dependent on the generosity of our members and supporters for everything we do.

“We wouldn’t be able to open the doors each day without our wonderful volunteers to welcome and chat to visitors, lead tours, assist in the café and garden, and ensure everyone has the best possible visit.”

No special knowledge or abilities are needed. Zoe explained: “We’re looking for people with a warm, friendly manner. You don’t have to be a history buff or poetry expert, although either would be a bonus. If you’re a pianist and would like to play our harpsichord, that would be great too.”

Meanwhile, the North Lakes outdoors team is seeking people to meet visitors from all over the world and share their love of the Lake District at Bark House Mountain Base at Ashness Bridge, near Keswick.

Helpers are also needed to welcome people and chauffeur them by Land Rover on the off-road track to Force Crag Mine on five open days each year, and to walk high-use paths in Borrowdale, noting any large repair or maintenance jobs and fixing small problems with a bit of DIY.

There are vacancies for people with research experience to work on plans for commemorating the end of the First World War and the Great Gable war memorial, and there is a three-month internship for someone keen to build a career in heritage management, arts and tourism.

Anyone who can spare a few hours on a weekly or even monthly basis can call into Wordsworth House for coffee and a chat on Saturday 4 February between 9am and 1pm or on Tuesday 7 February any time from 1pm to 4pm. Alternatively, email wordsworthhouse@nationaltrust.org.uk.

For more details of countryside volunteering, drop into Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake on Saturday 11 or Thursday 16 February between 10am and 1pm, or apply at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/volunteer.

Wordsworth House and Garden is is open Saturday to Thursday, 11am to 5pm (last entry 4pm), from 11 March to 29 October. Find out more at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wordsworth-house.

Join our volunteer team!

16 Jan
Service with a smile in Wordsworth House café

Service with a smile: Café volunteer Helen

We’re looking for new people to join the lovely volunteer team who help run Wordsworth House and Garden.

There’s no need to have worked in a historic house or garden before. You just need a warm, friendly manner and a desire to learn something new – and to have a few hours a week to spare.

We have vacancies for room guides to chat to visitors in our fabulous working 18th-century kitchen and elsewhere in the house, and for people to lead our new guided tours.

We also need extra help serving our delicious homemade cakes, scones and light lunches in the café – and there’s even a much-coveted vacancy for a garden volunteer to work outside with me in William’s childhood playground!

So whether you want to improve your CV or to do something a bit different now you’re retired, why not pop in and find out more?

We’re holding an informal open morning at the house on Tuesday, 28 January, from 10am-1pm. I look forward to meeting you then!

Or if you can’t make it, email wordsworthhouse@nationaltrust.org.uk or call 01900 824805 and arrange to see us another time.

Volunteer Kat among the runner beans

Happy at work: Volunteer Kat among the runner beans

Ode to Billy Paul…

21 Aug
Bill Paul

Volunteers: Bill, far right, with Amanda, far left, and members of the house and garden team

I’m feeling quite sad at the moment, as one of my closest friends has moved away. Bill Paul, who was a volunteer room guide at Wordsworth House and Garden for 11 years, has moved to live in Yorkshire.

As well as being a knowledgeable room guide, Bill is a very talented musician and I’ve spent many a happy afternoon listening to the sound of his harpsichord playing drifting out of the house.

You could always tell when the last visitors had left because he would switch from classical melodies to his favourite Abba tunes. You’re lucky there’s no audio on this blog, so I haven’t been able to share with you the “melodious” sounds of Head Gardener Amanda singing along!

Our sad loss is the Yorkshire area of the National Trust’s gain, as he’s already making enquiries about volunteering opportunities over on that side of the country.

Amanda, the team and I wish you all the best, Bill – come back and see us soon!

Industry in the garden

18 Jun
Coal tits feeding in the Greenup's pippins

Spot the birds: Coal tits feeding in a Greenup’s pippin apple tree

Amanda loves the early morning, when all’s quiet in the garden and she has a chance to stop and observe the creatures we share this beautiful place with.

Last week, she happened to be carrying her camera when she saw a gathering of coal tits in the Greenup’s pippins. She was especially happy to see them as they were busily feeding their young on her aphids!

Early mornings are also a time when she can take a few minutes to reflect and plan. On a recent stroll, when she was thinking about all the positive comments from visitors about the roof slates she has recycled into labels for the fruit trees, she decided to extend the scheme to include some of the more unusual and striking varieties of perennials.

Although the idea was hers, her handwriting is not up to the task, so her lovely volunteer Kat has taken up the pen once more. She’s been enjoying the job so much, she’s even taken slates home to write at night.

Here are some of the fruits of her labours…

Slate label: Angelica

Slate label: Teasel

Slate label: Globe thistle

Meet the Wordsworth family’s servants

5 Mar

Costumed interpreters dressed as servants in the Kitchen at Wordsworth House, Cockermouth, Cumbria.

I’m looking forward to seeing my friends the costumed servants back at work in the house and garden – and getting to know the new members of this and our other staff and volunteer teams.

As I get to meet them, I promise I’ll introduce them to you too!

In the meantime, here are some picture of last year’s team hard at work in the house!

Costumed interpreter dressed as a servant in the Dining Room at Wordsworth House, Cockermouth, Cumbria.

Costumed interpreter in the Back Office at Wordsworth House, Cockermouth, Cumbria.

Dunstanburgh in all its glory

13 Feb

I know I keep saying how talented all our wonderful volunteers are here at Wordsworth House and Garden. But it’s true – and here’s another great example.

Room volunteer and gifted harpsichord player Bill Paul has had one of his photographs shortlisted in a national competition celebrating our special places.

My close friends gardener Amanda and costumed servants’ supremo Alex have already voted, as they have both visited Dunstanburgh and love the place.

If you’d like to see the other entries – and maybe cast a vote yourself, log on to our volunteering website and create a profile (it only takes a few seconds).

Northumbria 2012 016a-BillPaul

Bill says: “I was born in the north, and have always loved the north-east coast.

“Historic castles are a special favourite of mine, and Dunstanburgh is an excellent example. We see them now as ruins, but I like to imagine them bustling with military might in their heyday and full of activity.

“I hope this photograph emphasises the dominance of the setting. The evening light and the sepia tone gives a feeling of timelessness.”

Lazy housewives and rat-tailed radishes

11 Dec
Scent sensation: Matacuna sweet peas with Painted Lady runner beans

Scent sensation: Matacuna sweet peas with Painted Lady runner beans

I hadn’t seen Amanda for a day or two as she’d been indoors at the computer, busily ordering her seeds for next year. When she popped out for a chat, she told me about all the wonderful things she’s chosen to plant around me.

All of our vegetables and annual flowers are heritage varieties so they have to be grown from seed. Many have the most fabulous names – with appearances to match.

My particular favourites include the curious red-and-white stripped beetroot Tonda di Chioggia – and its cousin, the glowing golden variety – which the garden volunteers assure me taste as good as they look. (Amanda can’t comment as she hates beetroot.)

The gloriously coloured Purple Cape cauliflower is another stunner. We also grow Lazy Housewife kidney beans and, confusingly, two forms of Painted Lady – a runner bean and a lusciously scented sweet pea.

Amanda would also love to grow rat-tailed radishes, simply because of the name. Sadly, the variety is just too modern.

Definitely not a lazy housewife: My friend Alicia, the maid-of-all-work busy in the Wordsworths' kitchen

Definitely not a lazy housewife: My friend Alicia, the maid-of-all-work, busy in the Wordsworths’ kitchen

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