Abbotsford Trust launches volunteer recruitment drive following award win

The Abbotsford Trust is celebrating becoming the first historic house museum in Scotland to land a national award for its volunteer programme.

Friday, 18th January 2019, 9:58 am
Updated Friday, 18th January 2019, 10:35 am
Abbotsford Trust chairman James Holloway and chief executive Giles Ingram giving five-year service awards to volunteers Hamish Reid, Sandra Davies, Keith Crosier, Malcolm Morrison, Jack Scott, Ian Skinner, Maggie Allan, Gill Howes, Margaret Cassidy, Carole Evans, Marian Keith, Nancy Marshall, Joyce Cook and Frankie McBrier. Not pictured but also given awards were John and Margaret Collin, Simon Hemsley, Allan Herd, Derek Martin, Dawn McKenna, Mary Robertson and Linda Murray.

The trust, responsible for author Walter Scott’s Abbotsford home near Tweedbank, has been presented with a volunteer-friendly award by Volunteer Centre Borders.

It’s one of 400 organisations in Scotland to be awarded that accolade, 16 of them in the Borders.

The Abbotsford team being given a Volunteer Friendly Award from Brian Lawson, senior policy and development officer at Volunteer Centre Borders. Pictured are, from left, Sandra Mackenzie, heritage engagement manager; Claudia Bolling, volunteer co-ordinator; and Giles Ingram, chief executive.

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Centre executive officer, Gordon Brown, said: “Volunteers are an integral part of ensuring Walter Scott’s legacy at Abbotsford continues, and this is obvious from their work plans and how they are supported in their volunteering roles.

“At a time when volunteers are needed more than ever before, good volunteer management is essential, and it is obvious the Abbotsford Trust puts volunteering at the forefront of its strategic planning.”

Giles Ingram, chief executive of the trust, said: “As an independent charity, the trust relies heavily on the support and goodwill of our army of volunteers.

“Their enthusiasm and generosity with time is invaluable, and we really appreciate all they do across the estate.”

In 2017, Abbotsford secured three-year funding from Historic Environment Scotland to invest in volunteers, enabling it to appoint a volunteer co-ordinator and introduce a volunteer training programme.

Since then, the number of volunteers there has grown from 45 to 105, with new roles of path wardens, event volunteers and minibus drivers being created to complement the existing guides, room stewards, gardeners and visitor centre volunteers.

To show its appreciation for its unpaid workforce, the trust holds regular social events including a quiz night, Christmas lunch and outings to other visitor attractions.

At this year’s Christmas lunch, 22 volunteers with Abbotsford since it reopened in July 2013 were presented with long-service awards.

Volunteer co-ordinator Claudia Bolling said: “I am always telling the volunteers that we really couldn’t do what we do without them, and it is so true.

“They delivered more than 12,000 hours of service in the 12 months to September 2018, which is invaluable to a charity like Abbotsford.

“We were delighted that in our last survey, 100% of those who responded said they would recommend volunteering at Abbotsford to their family and friends.”

Anyone interested in volunteering at Abbotsford can find out more at a recruitment day being held tomorrow, January 19. Go to for details.