With National Volunteers’ Week taking place this week (1st – 7th June), South Somerset District Council wanted to thank all those residents who volunteer or are part of Friends groups with Council services.
Volunteers in South Somerset help to maintain the wonderful award winning Countryside sites across the district; help to ensure artefacts at the Community Heritage Access Centre (CHAC) are kept in a good condition for other visitors and also help you to your seats at Somerset’s premier theatre, the Octagon Theatre.
Katy Menday, Countryside Manager at SSDC said, “Each week hundreds of hours are donated by practical volunteers to help us manage sites; improve them for nature conservation, protect the heritage and make them suitable and safe to access for the visiting public. Volunteers are integral to the way we operate, and they enable us to deliver a huge range of events from community bonfires to Halloween trails. We also have two fabulous Friends Groups at the Country Parks that fundraise and support the site ranger teams across a great array of projects, working tirelessly, often behind the scenes, to ensure that the green spaces are supported and protected. Individual volunteers also bring a whole wealth and experience and expertise with them”.
Clare Robinson, CHAC Co-ordinator said, “Volunteers are integral to the excellent care of the historic collection at the Community Heritage Access Centre. Many of the 28,000 records we hold just has basic information on an item, e.g. ‘dress’ for a dress. No colour, size or what it is made of or its condition. Our volunteers help to update the information on the old records but are also cataloguing recent donations to CHAC to excellent standards. By doing this, it enables staff to have time to complete projects like the WWI booklet issued to 22,000 school children”.
Adam Burgan, Arts & Entertainment Manager added, “Our fantastic Foyer Club donates around 14,000 hours every year to The Octagon Theatre and without them we simply wouldn’t be able to operate. There are very few theatres were patrons are still shown to their seats or given the warm, personal greeting our Foyer Club offer. From taking tickets, raising money to support the theatre, selling ice creams during the interval to helping us stuff 20,000 brochures three times a year – our Foyer Club passion, dedication and love of the theatre is something very special. The Octagon just wouldn’t be the same without them”.
Councillor Sylvia Seal, Portfolio Holder for Leisure & Culture, whose services benefit a lot from the hard work of volunteers said, “We are indebted to the hard work of volunteers across the different council services and we would just like to say a big thank you for all your time and effort that you put into what you do. Without you, many of our Country Park sites would not look as wonderful as they do, nor would we be able to put on as many shows as we do at the Octagon Theatre for example. Thank you very much for all that you do”.
Photos: Volunteer 1 – Octagon Theatre Foyer Club; Volunteer 2 – A CHAC volunteer auditing the collection; Volunteer 3 – Countryside volunteers (purple tops) with Countryside staff.