Poltimore House and Grounds would not be open to the public today without the massive volunteer attention and commitment it has received over the past few years. Volunteers have cleared the overgrown grounds, brought the house up to a standard of safety to let the public in for open days, and continue to work tirelessly to maintain and develop the site.
Volunteer activity is essential to the Poltimore House restoration project and is greatly valued by Poltimore House Trust and the several thousand members of the public who come to visit. A volunteer may give varying amounts of time and commitment depending upon the role, or the roles, they are willing to take. Volunteer involvement can entail anything from taking on a specific role on Tuesdays and/or Wednesdays, to attending Saturday work parties - where there is always a range of projects to chose from, to helping with events or general upkeep, to giving specialist or professional advice. You can also help more ad-hoc at our many open days and events.
Poltimore House - The Vision
The Poltimore House Trust is working to secure the future use of this great house, and to make sure that it plays a full part in the lives of the local communities - as well as taking the Poltimore ethos and 'brand' into and beyond the region. The vision for Poltimore House is that it will have a mixed use that includes:
- A significant visitor attraction for the growing audience for heritage buildings and historic landscapes
- A centre for education, training and research
- An active business partnership supporting studios and workshops for arts, traditional crafts and the creative industries
- A venue for arts events – exhibitions, performance and projects
- A venue for conferences and events
- An innovative learning hub for enterprise and creative businesses
- A congenial meeting place for business, for charities and for the community.
What impact can you have?
If Poltimore House is to reach its aims for the future and to become the cultural landmark that many people envisage it becoming, it must continue to engage new audiences and gain support. Volunteering at Poltimore is extremely fulfilling. The wide reach of our aims mean that you will gain valuable experience and skills in your field of interest or, indeed, something entirely new to you. Some of the existing Poltimore volunteers have said what they enjoy most about volunteering is:
"Seeing the progress and knowing you are a part of it."
"The feeling of working towards a successful outcome in restoration; facing the considerable challenge; working with other volunteers; the enjoyment of being part of a lovely home and garden"
"Working with others who are here because they want to be here"
In 2004, The Friends of Poltimore House was founded, and worked on the House and grounds to make them accessible to the public for the first time in many years. Many more volunteering roles have emerged as the project has developed. Volunteering at Poltimore is a way to become part of a community with a meaningful cause and to build experience and contacts to further your career or personal interests. There is room for volunteers who are able to give all levels of commitment and have different skill sets at Poltimore.
Volunteering opportunities at Poltimore
There are lots of different ways you can volunteer at Poltimore.
- Gardening, grounds maintenance, painting, cleaning, furniture moving
- Open days and Events: house stewards, grounds guides, refreshments, admission assistants, sales assistants, car park attendant, meet and greet
- Administration, assisting the Visitor Services Manager
- Events planning group: logistics planning, sponsorship, publicity
- Saturday Work Parties with the Friends of Poltimore House
- Fundraising: organising a small fundraiser with friends, helping with sponsorship fundraising
- Learning: working with school groups, planning family activities
- Become part of the Poltimore Estate History and Archaeology Group
- Documenting: photography, archiving, writing reviews of events
We work with community groups and companies on volunteering projects which result in rewarding days for both the groups and Poltimore.
The Shilhay Community working to repair the new Project Centre
EDF Energy working on the Sensory Garden, Nursery
King's School - Maintaining the Lime Tree Avenue
Royal College of Nursing laying the foundation for the new nature walk path
Volunteers working in the grounds on one of many Saturdays
I volunteer for the satisfaction of knowing that I am doing my bit to save a slice of history for future generations. I mostly work in the grounds and I "discovered" the pet grave stones. We are making discoveries all the time which makes the work more interesting and fills in some of the missing details of the development of the site.
Barbara, Friend of Poltimore House
Poltimore House is such a worthwhile project although it sometimes feels a bit overwhelming. As a Trustee at Poltimore House my volunteering covers all sorts of activities, making tea to writing minutes, taking photos to clearing woodland, writing letters to making grant applications: all rewarding and absorbing.
Claire, Poltimore House Trustee