National Trust volunteer numbers hit a new high

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Latest update 13.09.2013 08:38

A record number of more than 6,500 people are volunteering for the National Trust in Northern Ireland. Collectively they gift almost a quarter of a million hours to the conservation charity.

Volunteers support the National Trust by performing a huge range of different roles. From butterfly counts to financial accounting, blacksmithing and mill hands to helping with film and television productions such as Game of Thrones and Blandings.

Helen Ghosh, Director-General at the National Trust, said: ‘Volunteers are vital to organisations like the National Trust.

‘When you visit one of our properties, for the most part the people that welcome you, explain the history of the place and look after it are all volunteers.

‘On the coast and in the countryside, it is often volunteers who restore habitats, care for wildlife and maintain footpaths.

‘They are skilled and committed and we are lucky to be able to rely on their support.’

The increasing number of people volunteering for the charity shows the public’s growing interest in caring for their local places and learning new skills along the way. In Northern Ireland, Andrew Laverty has just completed a volunteer placement with the Regional Buildings Team, which has lead to him securing a full time role as a Building Surveyor within the Trust.

Commenting on his volunteer experience Andrew said: ‘The chance to work within such a skilled and dedicated team of professionals was just what I needed to build on my qualifications and gain practical experience for industry accreditation.

‘Over the past months I have been fortunate to work alongside colleagues across the region and see the effectiveness of staff and volunteers from all walks of life working together; working on what they love.’

Dave Morton, Regional Volunteering Manager for the National Trust said: ‘In Northern Ireland we have seen a huge increase in the numbers of local people giving their time to help at places special to them. In response to this, our property teams have worked hard across the region to ensure that the experience is as positive and enriching for the volunteer, as it is beneficial for the charity. We are thrilled that for the second year in succession, Northern Ireland achieved top ranking from our volunteers in a National survey to measure just that.’