Volunteers in Gardens and Arboreta


We were pleased to welcome more than 90 people to this timely conference in the European Year of Volunteering 2011 – volunteers and Friends as well as volunteer managers, co-ordinators and consultants. Speakers from gardens and heritage and volunteer organisations stimulated much discussion. There were talks from gardens and arboreta on developing a volunteer strategy, attracting and retaining a diverse range of volunteers, developing professional gardeners from a volunteer scheme, managing change through volunteers, volunteers giving guided tours, working with students, employer-supported volunteering, and more.

Consultants gave much useful advice and information on volunteers and the law, the Volunteer Rights Enquiry and Charter for Strengthening Relations between Paid Staff and Volunteers, volunteer programmes and policy and monitoring and evaluating a volunteer programme. The importance of having a clear strategy, policy and programme for volunteers, with proper management and training for both volunteers and paid staff was stressed.

On a visit to Westonbirt National Arboretum, we heard about some of the help given by their many volunteers and discussed management, training and diversity of volunteers. Our thanks to Cheryl Pearson and Hugh Angus at Westonbirt for help in organising the conference.

Working in partnership with garden staff, volunteers can bring enthusiasm, unexpected skills and different perspectives. To quote Amanda Le Poer Trench (Volunteer Co-ordinator at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew): ‘Our volunteers are priceless’.

Welcome and introduction

Welcome and introduction

David Rae, PlantNetwork Hon. President
Director of Horticulture, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh


Lantra research on skills and volunteering in the historic and botanic garden sector

Lantra research on skills and volunteering in the historic and botanic garden sector

Pam Smith, Historic and Botanic Garden Training and Development Advisor to Lantra


Welcome to Westonbirt

Welcome to Westonbirt

Simon Toomer, Director, Westonbirt – The National Arboretum
Discussion groups and tours of Westonbirt Arboretum


Volunteer brokering

Volunteer brokering

Link to Volunteering England web site page listing volunteering brokering organisations


Volunteer Focus

Volunteer Focus

Link to the first edition of the Volunteer Focus magazine highlighting the role of English Heritage volunteers.


English Heritage Volunteer Survey 2009

English Heritage Volunteer Survey 2009

Link to the PDF report on the performance of the English Heritage education volunteering programme.


Volunteering England/TUC charter

Volunteering England/TUC charter

Link to the Charter for Strengthening Relations Between Paid Staff and Volunteers: Volunteering England and the TUC PDF


Volunteering and the law

Volunteering and the law

Link to a Volunteering England PDF guide to legal issues for volunteer managers.
Volunteers and the Law covers all the main areas of concern including: Expenses, Benefits, Criminal record checks, Health and safety, Data protection, Avoiding creating employment contracts.


Cares

Cares

Link to Business in the Community (a group of not-for-profit organisations) Cares web site page.
Cares is a network of more than 350 partner companies that address social issues in communities by volunteering their employees’ skills and time during business hours.


Historic & Botanic gardens - Volunteer value (Horticulture Week article)

Historic & Botanic gardens – Volunteer value (Horticulture Week article)

Link to Horticulture Week article by Gavin McEwan who picks out and details five tips for successfully managing volunteers in gardens from the Volunteers in Gardens and Arboreta conference:

  1. Understand the legal context
  2. Appoint a volunteer co-ordinator
  3. Consider giving volunteers higher-value work
  4. Train volunteers to be your public face
  5. Monitor and evaluate volunteers’ contribution

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