There are plenty of worthwhile opportunities for community volunteers in Nelson, you'r sure to find something that fits in with your schedule and needs. Some potential opportunities are listed below.
Have Fun at Founders
With many of Founders Heritage Park 's volunteers off on holiday, retiring, or moving, roster numbers are suddenly greatly reduced. If you have a free morning or afternoon every week or fortnight, you may enjoy taking a turn at being the Park's front-line host: greeting visitors, taking admissions, and making sales in the gift shop. Interested volunteers please call the staff at Founders today on +64 3 548 2649.
Isel House Needs You!
Stoke's stately home, Isel House, reopened in 2003 after a make-over that maintained the authentic Victorian look of the house while giving it a new role as a community exhibition space.
Now you can play your part in keeping this part of Nelson's history alive.
Over 11,000 people visited Isel House last year, all interested in the colonial history of the house, and attracted by the changing exhibitions. These have ranged from a touring show on 100 years of midwifery in New Zealand, to a textile exhibition by the local Spinners and Weavers Collective. Getting Isel House to this stage has taken hours of input, and now there is scope for more people to become part of the Isel family.
Would you like to take your place in the 'best seat in town' in the Isel foyer? More people are needed on the roster to keep the house open daily. Volunteers give two and half hours of their time for a shift, but this can be weekly, fortnightly or monthly. The role is to greet people, give them information, tell them about the history of the house and answer questions. Full training is given, and there is a manual with information. Curator Sally Papps says it's an opportunity to meet people from all over the world: "We have people who range from garden lovers and heritage enthusiasts, to people with historical connections to the house or its namesake, Isel in Cumbria in the UK."
Functions are held a couple of times a year for all the volunteers to get together.
Now that John Douglas is retired he has time to 'put something back into the community'. John has been a volunteer at Broadgreen for the past five years, adding Isel House to his weekly routine as soon as it reopened.
He enjoys the peacefulness of Isel but says there is still plenty of opportunity to talk to visitors. "I'd encourage anyone who has the time, to give it a go," John says, "particularly anyone living alone. Once they take the first step they will find they have a very rewarding way to get out, meet people and find out more about Nelson's heritage."
The exhibition programme at Isel House changes several times through the year. Sally Papps says there is scope for more groups to use the space: "We would love to host more exhibitions, displays and workshops. The historical context makes Isel a great place for a group to hold a retrospective, and staff are happy to help with displays."
Groups are eligible for a return on the door take, so with word of mouth networking, the hire cost can be reduced.
To find out more about getting involved with Isel House, call Sally Papps on +64 3 547 5222.
Other volunteer opportunities
Volunteer Nelson has a number of other community volunteer opportunities - you can visit their website to find out more.