Image above: View of the conservatory from the Italian Garden; photograph Jennifer Griffiths
Chiswick House is looking for volunteers to join the gardening and visitor welcome teams and to act as Rangers.
For the gardening team they need ‘friendly and enthusiastic’ people to provide ‘high quality maintenance’ to the formal and informal landscapes within the garden.
In practice that means weeding and watering, pruning and coppicing, sometimes working individually and sometimes as a team. It means being out in all weathers, being approachable and having ‘a warm and friendly demeanour.’
There is a lot of bending and lifting, so you have to be physically fit and it’s an advantage to know a bit about gardening, though they are also looking for people who are willing to learn more about gardening, art, architecture, landscape and environmental practice.
They have high standards. Chiswick House Gardens won Heritage Park of the Year four times in a row (2016 – 2019) in the London in Bloom competition. They won Walled Garden of the year again in 2021 and they have regularly picked up a clutch of awards and special mentions for the work of the volunteers.
Image above: Visitor team at Chiswick House
The Visitor Welcome Volunteer role is all about people and helping visitors to get the most from their visit. It also helps with the security and safety of the House and the collection. The team give out directions, information, answering visitors’ questions and generally helping them to have a good experience at Chiswick House.
They are after ‘friendly and enthusiastic people’ to help give an inviting and warm welcome to visitors of all ages and backgrounds, giving them an overview of what’s happening and where on site that day.
The ‘warm and friendly demeanour’ is key. Experience in roles that have involved dealing with the public would be advantageous, but a willingness to learn more about art, architecture, landscape and social history is also important.
Image above: A ranger at Chiswick House
Rangers assist with hands-on maintenance and DIY projects around the grounds, but they are also working in grounds open to the public, so you can’t be a miserable grouch in this role either, no matter how handy you are with tools.
‘The Ranger role covers two main areas: patrolling the grounds to ensure there is a helpful presence for the public, and assisting with maintaining the general site. It is a physical job, and it is ideally suited to someone who is proactive and willing to get involved in a range of projects and odd jobs onsite.’
Rangers patrol the gardens independently in the buggy and interact with the public, answering questions and providing information as needed. There are routine tasks such as changing signs, cleansing, filling dog bag dispensers and assisting with onsite maintenance. Then there are the more hands-on DIY tasks, such as painting or sanding benches and fixing equipment.
Rangers need a driving licence and an up to date Tetanus shot as well as DIY skills.
For all the volunteer roles Chiswick House Trust can only accept people who are 17+
Contact Chiswick House Trust at 0203 141 3350 or email@example.com
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See also: Captain Rawes returns to Chiswick House
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