Category: Volunteer

Spreading your wings…. Volunteer opportunities at historic venue

Kicking your heels post lockdown? Recently graduated or still on furlough?

The Gardens have always been dependent on a fantastic band of happy and hardworking volunteers. Lockdown has been hard on many of them who are itching to come back to enjoy the friendship and the beauty of the site. It’s lovely to welcome many back, but others for various reasons cannot comeback, yet.

We are learning what we can do post lockdown – there are operational changes and we are having to rethink a lot of the ways we provide services and activities. This means we need to reach out for more volunteers too.

Perhaps you’re looking to stretch your experiences for your cv or looking for another way to ‘give back’.

Currently we have new opportunities for volunteers to help our historic Gardens Charity and to accumulate a range of visitor experience and front of house skills.

Our front of house entry sales and small shop needs happy, confident ‘welcomers’ 5 days a week.

We hope too, to be extending some of our family activities and outdoor evening entertainment when we re-allowed.

We are looking for volunteers who can commit to some training and either a regular day each week/fortnight or are flexible over the summer for 5 days or more

Later in the season there may also be Gardening opportunities.

Induction/Exploring Mornings for those interested in finding out more

Tuesday 7th July and Saturday 11th July, 11 am -12.30am

If you are interested please fill in the expression of interest form online first,if at all possible.,,and we look forward to answering your questions and showing you whats involved  on the induction days

(online expression of interest form:  https://forms.gle/iGvKqk6b2oE6UTRW7)

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Kids and BBC Newsround – good as ever

Just sharing another round up of great things for kids to do.. BBCs Newsround has always been good and our national public broadcaster is really working well in the current situation.

Bug houses, Bee B&Bs, smile stones,  birdfeeders and growing veg are all featured on the current Newsround page… all things our Unplug and Play sessions really encourage.

Until we can welcome you back into the Gardens – why not practice with the Beeb.

I’m looking forward to a set of activities in the Gardens, led by enthusiastic, imaginative and skilled children!

Yes, we can make it happen.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/52009318

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On your doorstep nature..our wildlife survey

Citizen science: we can all make a difference to the world’s knowledge.

These days almost anyone can take part in gathering important information that adds to scientists’ understanding. From this Friday you can help us map some really important nature around the Gardens using a free app for your phone.

In the past we have taken part in things like national Bee Counts and flower surveys. Our colleagues over in Chelmsley Wood (B37 project and the Tribal Community Rangers) have started using this app  iNaturalist from the National Geographic Society.

In May we will be taking part – where we can – at looking and recording the wildlife surrounding our Gardens, over the Parkland, on the church paddock, on Lady Bradfords Gardens (the green common in front of the hotel).  It’s a month long bio-blitz!

Did you know that the Parkland, surrounding the Gardens, hasn’t had much change or disturbance on it for nearly 400 years! So, it’s a really rich place for biodiversity.

All you need to do is:

  • Download the app.
  • Have a look for ‘On your Doorstop’ under projects – and join (not compulsory- but will help them and us with the data )
  • Then on your daily walk around the area, take a snap or two and upload what you see:  plants, insects, animals , birds….
  • At the end of the month Tribal will crunch the data for us – and we’ll share it with everyone.
  • And that’s it… ooh don’t forget to share some of your photos on our facebook/twitter/instagram

Thank you … you will be contributing to human knowledge and science –  that’s a great thing!

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Add a smile(stone) to social distancing

When we re-open the Gardens – whenever that will be – we know that social distancing will be a ‘new normal’ for some while…

from Staff Smiles Stones (by gill )

So, the (still working) team here have been thinking about what that would look like. We want to help people feel safe when they come to visit, and know that others are looking out for their health too. Shops and supermarkets are using yellow floor tape and painted circles…that’s not quite the thing we want to do in our historic Garden.

We’ve come up with a number of ideas and one of them needs your help.

Smile Stones … have you seen them about?

There is a lovely phenomenon of people painting pebbles and leaving them in the environment for people to find, to make them smile, to think and sometimes to collect and pass on. (PS the advice at present during Covid-19 , is NOT to pick them up and move them – just a precaution)

Smile stones are a little piece of everyday sharing and of spreading love.  We already have a few in the Gardens deposited (with permission) by local people.

We think stone and pebble smiles stones would make wonderful social distance markers all around our garden… Every 2 metres a bright little stone hedgehog or ladybird, or perhaps a heart lifting message to keep you going on to the next marker?

If you’d like to take part in helping brighten up our Gardens walking routes we’d love you to start now.

Aldridge smile stones

Below are some facebook pages and other things about how to paint stones.

How to get them to us

We will leave a plant pot attached to the (inner) gates of the Gardens – you can just pop your stones in there, and we’ll keep them ready for when we open (if the pot disappears , just roll your stones under the gate and our gardener will pick them up when she visits..)

Thank you – do pass on this activity to anyone you think might enjoy taking part.

PS … don’t spend money getting fancy paint… do what you can, a coat of clear nail varnish will do the trick –  or any outdoor varnish you have in your diy cupboard – over the top of house paint/kids paint or marker pens will do!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/2P3gnRmv7FYlS7YwklbvVHd/how-to-become-a-rock-artist

Facebook has 

https://www.facebook.com/smilestonesbg/

and lots of groups in Erdington, Sutton Coldfield and Staffs — just search

 

 

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Hello bunting…

Looking forward…

Volunteers have been central to pretty well every event and activity in the Gardens for decades, we are really missing their input and daily conversation.

So many people also contribute in the background by making, doing, cooking and inventing. Here is one thing which anyone could get involved in and help us with… if they wished.

Bunting is jolly. Full stop.

We use it for decorating  the stretch tent for events, for cheering up the entrance gates and courtyard, making intriguing spaces in the woodland area even more intriguing…

We would love more and welcome anyone’s efforts in making it during our lockdown. We can’t supply the materials Im afraid, so anything you do will be gratefully received as a donation.

We are happy to have any designs you make… triangular and cloth bunting would be used more often, but knitted, paper, square, animal shaped or anything would be lovely… Maybe we can use them all to make a jolly festival atmosphere on our return to opening – we’ll all need it.

Here below is a bit of help and inspiration

https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Bunting

    you tube: make ‘no-waste’ bunting  

 

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Vandals, mud and bugs

[update: We are overwhelmed by the positive support and reaction of the public to this act of vandalism in the Gardens. we are grateful to everyone for their good wishes and take heart in knwoing that what we are trying to do pleases so many people.  

We are busy prparng for our big 40s event at present, as soon as that is over we will be planning to invite our wellwishesr to be part of the reconstruction of the spaces – it might take a little planning- but we are really looking forward to involving even mor epeople in the pleasure of our spaces…. Please keep a look out for news of how you can help out… .With heartfelt thanks from the volunteers , staff and Trustees]

(PS Many people have asked how they might contribute financially – if this is something yu want and ware able to do, you can make a contriubtion of any size to our Just Giving page HERE.  All contributions for the next month will go directly on the re-build project… THANKS)

…over the past few months thoughtless and destructive intruders have done some stupid things in the Gardens overnight – all of which has cost our charity and hard working volunteers both money and tears. Over the last 2 nights yet more destructive idiocy has happened. This time it directly affects our visitors too. Last night was even worse.
Our little mud kitchen – much beloved by toddlers and parents was set alight. The ‘bug hotel’ built by volunteers and visitors last year to attract creepy crawlies was also burned. The fences protecting the small bridges by our spinney pond have now been trashed 4 times. Its not just stuff we have built , but nearby trees have been scorched too.
Our charity and volunteers look after these unique Gardens on behalf of us all. What brains and hearts get pleasure out of spoiling things for everyone else? They are the few…we are the many…oh, and our hedgehog cameras are now trained on humans…

 

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two women serving in the cafe and smiling

Volunteering opportunities

We are an all year round Garden and visitor attraction so, although winter is not usually a time for  picnics, we’re still really busy with open days, planting, catering and looking after group visits, preparing the summer events programme, mending fences, updating our website, welcoming school groups and clearing out our files….

We may be an oasis of green calm in the city but, like the elegant swan, there’s a lot going on under the surface …. and most of it is done by volunteers.

We offer a multitude of opportunities  for all kinds of skill sets, whether you want to improve your CV and gain new skills or meet new people, whether you have limited or lots of time, we welcome everyone.

On the 1st of February, 10am-1pm, we are holding an open morning for potential volunteers where you get a taste of the garden and find out what we are looking for in volunteers and what we can offer you. The garden is rich in history, nature, and culture, and hosts a diverse range of events, including heritage days, concerts and performances, and family friendly activities. There really is something for every interest!

To register interest or for more information please email gen.manager@cbhgt.org.uk or phone 0121 749 4100, or you’re more than welcome just to come on the day!

CBHG has a large car park and is easily accessible by public transport- the X12/X70/94 buses from the centre of town take you almost directly to our door (Southfield Avenue stop)

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Volunteering at our Lantern Events 2017

We are looking for willing volunteers to be Stewards and servers of hot chocolate and marshmallows to visitors at our upcoming Lantern Festival!

Here are some descriptions of the roles available (including other roles.)

The Gardens are largely staffed by volunteers and we’re looking forward to putting on this great family oriented series of events this month.

Volunteering will provide practical, rewarding experience of events management and organisation that will look excellent on a CV. Its a great way of giving something to a local community and a great group thing to be involved with. Travel expenses to and from the Gardens are also covered.

Volunteers MUST be available on one or (preferably) more of: Sunday 26th November, Saturday 2nd December, Sunday 10th December, Saturday 16th December as well as a training day, likely the 24th of November but relatively flexible.

There are some indoor roles, but you must also be comfortable working out of doors, working in the dark, directing visitors, and serving drinks. We will provide training , Hi Viz jackets, warming drinks and smiles :-)).

If you are interested please click the google form here http://bit.ly/2AWUaHz   to fill in your details and preferences.

Thank you! Please share with your friends  

Volunteer Teams -Brief role description

Hot chocolate servers and marshmallow toasters
Served from the GreenHouse  3.30pm – 5.45pm  each public day.
Sold on 3 days and given away (tokens) on the last day.
Tasks

·         Serve and take money for hot chocolate (instant)
·         Supervise outdoor firepit (small) and toasting marshmallows
·         Keep a track of supplies, safety and cleanliness
·         Source and tidy marshmallow sticks (twigs and barbecue)
·         Help families toast their own mallows.
·         Clear up during and at end of session

Stewards/site guides
Meet and Greets and Safety

·         Wearing hi viz jackets to welcome and point people in the right direction as the light fades.
·         Stationed at specific points around the garden to ensure people don’t get lost, miss out. etc
·         Able to readjust basic parts of the display if necessary.

Stewards/Gardens Ambassadors (for Stewards who like to talk)

Helping visitors understand what we have to offer as a whole and helping us raise more money
·         Provide info verbally – for the day and other activities
·         Get informal feedback
·         Take emails
·         Talk about memberships, events, activities and volunteering
·         Distribute 2 for 1 and free chocolate tickets as needed

 

Lantern makers and craft helpers   (INDOORS 12.30 -4ish )
·         Help families during the public days to make lanterns, decorate glass jar lanterns and to make twig stars and glitter cones.
·         Prep and tidy up

Site preparation and care (Fridays before the events)

Keeping it all looking pretty and safe -Various types of roles.
·         Checking lights/cables are safe
·         Replacing items and tidying after weather or public has displaced
·         Ensuring the ‘look’ of the installation is maintained (a bit of set dressing naus)
·         Replenishing supplies
·         Cleaning /drying seats etc
·         Making sure signs are in the right place.
·         Rubbish bins replaced etc etc
·         Clear paths, make safe etc
·         Looking after bits of garden – safe from public and safe for public
·         Maintain standard of presentation

Car park duties

Control and management of parking entry and exit, keeping everyone safe with special attention ‘cos of dark
(Training in teams essential)

Click the google form here http://bit.ly/2AWUaHz   to fill in your details and preferences.

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Free lantern making workshops

Help make our enchanted mushroom lantern village for christmas in the Gardens.

We’re working with artist Sophie Handy to make 100 little mushroom houses from willow and tissue paper. A great family, club or class event. These workshops are free.

Your creations will go into the Gardens to help make a magical, illuminated woodland walk ready for our weekends before christmas 

and the big Community Lantern Parade. ‘Mushroom makers’ who help on these days will get free refreshments on the day and, as a thank you, a token for free hot chocolate and marshmallows in our Community Lantern Parade on 16th Dec.

It takes about 2-3 hours to make the lanterns, and its probably best for children over 7 years old.

November 10th (12-5pm) and Saturday 11th (10- 4pm)

Pop in on the days .. or contact us here for more info

SEE here for details of the events lantern parades, woodland walks and entertainment

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