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Volunteers

afternoon tea florentineGet Involved

The New Forest Centre is a great place to start your visit to the New Forest and find out what it has to offer.  We extend a warm welcome to local residents and visitors alike and through our museum, library, gallery and events and exhibitions programme, try to give everyone an understanding of what makes this area so special.

Our philosophy is simple; if people know and care about a place, they’re more likely to look after it and respect it whilst enjoying all the benefits that it brings.  Our volunteers are an essential component of making this happen and that’s where you come in.

What do volunteers actually do?

There are many ways you can volunteer:

  1. Join our growing team of Gallery Stewards.  Gallery Stewards play a vital role in helping visitors get the most out of their visit.  You’ll work alongside our busy Front of House Team and get involved in a variety of activities from helping families find their way around the displays to perhaps taking part in school visits or helping out at events.  You don’t need to be a mine of information, just have an interest in the New Forest and be keen to share that with others.
  2. Become a Library Volunteer.  If you have a particular interest in the Forest, you might want to become one of our dedicated team of Library Volunteers.  Under the guidance of our staff, you’ll undertake cataloguing and research tasks and perhaps go on to assist members of the public with their enquiries.
  3. Help us care for our collections.  As a busy accredited museum we desperately need people to help us care for our collections.  You don’t need to have specialist knowledge, just an enthusiasm for museum objects and a willingness to learn.   You might want to simply help with the housekeeping of the stores and displays or be inspired to help curate an exhibition.  Speak to us about your skills and ideas and we’ll help you find your niche.
  4. Assist our Administration Team.  This could involve anything from stuffing envelopes, to distributing leaflets or serving refreshments at our events.  Many of our Gallery Stewards combine the two roles by helping to office staff when the Museum is quiet.
  5. Support our Friends group.  Our numbers of Friends are growing steadily and surely and we now need people to help administrate it and allow it to grow.  It could be fundraising to help sustain the activities of the New Forest Ninth Centenary Trust or organising a programme of events and activities.  Could that be you?

There are lots of different ways to help and new opportunities arise all the time.

How do I volunteer?

If any of the ways of volunteering appeals, you can start by contacting the Centre Office or by filling in the volunteer application form. One of our members of staff will contact you to have a chat about the type of volunteering you’d like to do and perhaps ask you to pop in and have a look around the Centre. Assuming that you’re still keen to volunteer, we will then ask to take up references. Once that’s done we’ll guide you through induction training and you’ll be on your way to becoming a fully fledged volunteer. It’s all very simple.

How much time do I need to commit to?

We like to stress to prospective volunteers that they can volunteer as much or as little as they like. Depending on the type of volunteering you do, you may want to come in on an irregular basis only, or be happy to be part of a rota. Either way, flexibility is key. Volunteers are often busy people with a variety of other commitments!

Will I be given training?

All volunteers are given induction training and instruction in the tasks they’ve been asked to perform.  Sometimes more specialist training is given if there is a particular volunteer task that needs undertaking.

What will I get out of volunteering?

All our volunteers share a love of what they do and a desire to share their time, skills and enthusiasm with others. We’re a small and friendly team at the Centre and volunteering here is a great way to get involved with your local community. Our volunteers all have their own reasons for volunteering, but they all tell us it’s great fun! So if you’re inspired to give it a go, get in touch and get volunteering at The New Forest Centre!

Can anyone volunteer?

We would love to hear from you, whatever your skills and interests.  It isn’t always possible to find a volunteering opportunity straight away if, for example, there isn’t an immediate need for certain tasks to be done.  Sometimes we have to keep a potential volunteer ‘on ice’ until we can match a task to a volunteer.  However, we will never forget that you have volunteered your time and skills and we will be back in touch as soon as a suitable task arises.

It’s a great way to get involved with your local community and it's great fun, so get in touch and get volunteering at The New Forest Centre!

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