Celebrating volunteers

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

This week is National Trustee Week although I suspect most readers will be totally unaware of the fact.

Brodrick Castle
Volunteers help explain the unique features of buildings in which they volunteer. This is Brodrick Castle © The National Trust for Scotland.

There are about 700,000 volunteer trustees who run charities just in England and Wales. On top of this there are hundreds of thousands of volunteers who provide their time freely to help ensure that our heritage, cultual and tourism sites are open and avalaible for the rest of us to enjoy.

Organisations such as the National Trusts, English Heritage, Historic Houses and many tourist information centres as well as charities, some schools, ambulance support groups would suffer considerably if retired people people didn’t take an active role in supporting the groups.

The first week in June is usually National Volunteers Week and that tries to celebrate the work that volunteers do ands the impact they have.

Remove all the volunteers and who knows how many organisations could stay functionning.

In particular praise should be given to those who aren’t retired but are still working for they have less free time than retirees. That their time and energy should be given over in part to volunteering requires a commitment to planning their lives which is remarkable and so helpful.

Thinking about my village and neighboring towns, a nearby castle has few paid staff; all others are volunteers. To save money, the tourist information centre is not run by council staff but is inside the castle and supported by the few paid castle staff but more especially the volunteers who answer questions from the tens of thousnds that visit the area each year.

Trustees have a more specific role than volunteers. Not only do they turn up to undertake whatever roles are required, they have a duty to ensure that the charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit and that it complies with the law and the rules set upo under which the charity operates.

Involved with two social and charitable groups, I am well aware that without those volunteers, neither would function and far fewer places would be open for tourists to enjoy.

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