Thought of volunteering? Think of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway!
- Volunteer Recruitment Fair – weekend of 1st and 2nd April at Toddington station
- Anyone and everyone welcome to find ‘look behind the scenes’ to find out how the railway runs
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust is, for the second time, throwing its doors open to anyone who thinks that they might like to become a volunteer.
The railway depends on an army of volunteers to fulfill pretty much every aspect of running one of the major tourist attractions in the Cotswolds – in fact, the railway carried more than 100,000 passengers last year.
The recruitment fair is on Saturday and Sunday, 1st and 2nd April 2017. It last held a recruitment fair in March 2015 when it attracted nearly 100 new volunteers.
Government statistics suggest that nearly three-quarters of UK adults give their time for voluntary causes at least once per year while a third are regular volunteers.
The former ‘Honeybourne Line’ depends on volunteers to operate its heritage steam and diesel trains over more than 12-miles of the railway through the Cotswolds, between Cheltenham Racecourse, Gotherington, Winchcombe, Toddington and Laverton. It's offering more exciting opportunities for men and women who feel that they would like to offer their time or skills to this dynamic, award-winning visitor attraction.
Volunteer Recruitment Director Philip Young - himself a volunteer - says that although the railway benefits from the effort of some 870 volunteers, there is a 'core' of around 200 who do so on a very regular basis. And, as the railway extends towards Broadway with the new extension expected to open in March 2018, the then 15-mile line it will need more volunteers than ever to keep the trains running.
"That might sound a lot of people - but our railway needs between 50 and 75 people each day to operate successfully and provide enjoyment for over 100,000 visitors each year," he points out. "That's quite apart from the range of 'back office' skills such as finance and marketing that are just as important.
"Our volunteers range from school age to retirement age. There's something to suit everyone, men and women. We are of course very grateful to everyone whether they offer just a few hours from time to time or turn up to get stuck in most weekends."
He points out that the railway runs trains every weekend and bank holiday between March and December, as well as most weekdays during the peak holiday season and school half-terms, although, when trains are not running, there is a lot of maintenance carried out.
Philip says: "You certainly don't have to be a railway buff to enjoy participating in running what is a vital contributor to the Cotswolds tourist economy.
"Increasingly, people are volunteering simply because they enjoy doing so - they might have skills they want to offer or like interaction with the public in the same way as volunteers who become involved with running stately homes or other historic or cultural visitor attractions
"And, most volunteers quickly make a lot of like-minded friends and develop new skills. I think every one of our volunteers goes home after a day at the railway feeling fulfilled and feeling that they have made a real contribution to a worthwhile cause."
The railway is inviting interested people to email email@example.com to register their interest or just turn up on the day at Toddington station.
Visitors will have an opportunity to find out about the history of the line and its development in preservation; visit volunteers of each department ‘behind the scenes’ to find out what they do and how to get involved and to take the train to Winchcombe to discover more.
Potential volunteers don't have to have any particular skill but, if they do, they're certain to find an opportunity to use it, or indeed learn something completely new.
Media contact – Ian Crowder, 07775 566 555 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For much more information about volunteering please click here.