It's been a challenging time for visitor attractions, but they are beginning to bounce back following the Coronavirus lockdown. An unpaid army of volunteers has played a crucial role in enabling this to happen at Painshill Park in Surrey, where MP Dominic Raab saw first-hand how a team of 200 volunteers have helped out behind the scenes.
Mr Raab met members of this team as part of his involvement with the Elmbridge Philanthropy Trust, whose Community Foundation fund has enabled Painshill to recruit a Volunteer Manager.
The MP, who was accompanied by the Trust's chairman Simon Lewis on the visit, said: “Volunteers are crucial to the park’s operation, so it was good to meet so many of them today. It was particularly encouraging to meet Lucy Ward, a Volunteer Manager, whose recruitment was funded by a grant from the Community Foundation for Surrey and Elmbridge Philanthropy. Having helped to set up Elmbridge Philanthropy, it’s fantastic to see it funding such important local initiatives like this.”
Painshill’s team of volunteers help the small Painshill Park Trust charity run the landscape garden taking on various roles from gardening and maintenance to meeting visitors and running guided tours.
Chairman Simon Lewis said: “Painshill Park is an important part of the fabric of Surrey. It is clearly a special destination for the many visitors that enjoy the spectacular views. It is also a community of hardworking volunteers who carry out their work with a passion and comradery that is very impressive.
“Elmbridge Philanthropy was delighted to assist with the financing of a new position of a Volunteer Manager to coordinate the efforts of the many helpers. Dominic Raab and myself enjoyed the hospitality of Painshill’s Chairman, Richard Reay-Smith and his team, and we both enjoyed the guided walk through the park with the opportunity to meet many of its volunteers.”
Director of Painshill Paul Griffiths said: “It was a pleasure to have the chance to show Simon and Dominic what a huge difference the funding has made to Painshill. We couldn’t manage without our amazing volunteers and, in return, want to ensure the beautiful landscape offers them the chance to improve their wellbeing and feel part of a team. It is fantastic to have a Volunteer Manager to give them support.”
Designed in the 18th century by Charles Hamilton, Painshill fell into ruins until it was saved by the Painshill Trust in the 1980s. Hamilton designed the garden as a walk through a work of art, taking the viewer past theatrically placed follies, a Serpentine lake, vineyard and a heritage collection of trees and shrubs. Polymedia helps supports the park with media and strategic communication.
To find out more about Elmbridge Philanthropy visit: https://www.cfsurrey.org.uk/fund/elmbridge-philanthropy/
To learn more about volunteering at Painshill visit: https://www.painshill.co.uk/volunteer-with-us/