As the King encourages community volunteering with The Big Help Out campaign on Monday 8 May, we are co-ordinating an appeal for new helpers to keep the town afloat all year round.
Our members have been emphasising the critical importance of volunteers to Buxton and there are currently lots of groups in the town who are in need of new volunteers. There are many in Buxton who do a lot of volunteering so we would like to encourage those who currently do no volunteering to get involved and give something a go.
“The Voluntary and Community Sector has always been at the heart of community support across the High Peak and the challenges we have all faced over the last three years has only highlighted this even more.”
James Bromley, CEO of High Peak CVS
“Volunteers are needed to enhance our communities and support those in need… changing the lives of people in our community.”
André Knirsch, Chief Operating Officer for Connex Community Support
“Transition Buxton CIC is entirely run by volunteers … There is always more to do than people to do it, so getting more people actively involved is important.”
Jean Ball, Chair of Transition Buxton
Imagine, for a moment, Buxton without any volunteers – no opera house, no art festivals, no well dressings, no town decorations, no carnival, no duck race, no illuminated window at the station, no community gallery, no community garden, no community orchard, no flowerpot trail, no lantern parade, no hard-to-recycle item bins, no community transport, no repair café, no foodbank and no mountain rescue – to name just a few.
“We literally would not be able to put on the Fringe without volunteers. With the exception of some paid Fringe Desk roles in the summer, the Fringe relies entirely on unpaid help and we are hugely grateful both to our loyal committee members and to those who come forward to support us in adhoc ways.”
Stephanie Billen, Fringe Marketing Officer
As we approach the Buxton Spring Fair on Monday 1st May, a day when many of the groups in the town come out to recruit new volunteers, and the Rotary Club of Buxton’s Summer Fair & Charity Bazaar on Saturday 3rd June, where groups try to raise some funds, volunteer groups in the town have come together to share their stories and encourage people of all ages in the town to get involved and do some volunteering.
“We’re desperate to find some new people – from enthusiastic students to retirees with a bit of time on their hands.”
Lesley Caddy, Chair of Buxton Town Team
“As we now find ourselves in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, volunteers, once again, are vital in helping our most vulnerable citizens during the hardest of times… A few hours of your time really can be life-changing to so many.”
James Bromley, CEO of High Peak CVS
“Even if it’s just for one hour, once a year, it can really make a difference”. Please take a look to see if something would suit you.”
Ali Quas-Cohen, Artistic Director of Funny Wonders
What is volunteering?
Volunteering is when you choose to give your time to help others without being paid for it. Without unpaid work, many events in the town could not take place and many businesses could not operate.
What kind of things could I do?
There is a great variety of volunteer tasks in Buxton. Keep reading for some examples of current roles. Please note, this is not an exhaustive list and they focus mainly on Vision Buxton members and associates. Visit www.visitbuxton.co.uk/move-to-buxton/ for a comprehensive listing of volunteering and community groups in the town.
Why should I volunteer?
There are the obvious reasons, such as helping others, helping the town, but volunteering is not all about doing things for other people, it can also help you.
Getting involved in your local community can help you meet new people and make new friends, make you feel more connected to the place you live, help you look outward, help boost your confidence and self-esteem and help you to learn new things, new skills and have new experiences.
All these things help to improve mental health and wellbeing. ‘Giving’ is one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing so volunteering is a great way to fulfil this aspect.
Also, quite often, there are free biscuits.
Who should I volunteer with?
This depends on what is most important to you.
- Environmental issues – Transition Buxton
- Supporting young people – Funny Wonders, The Thomas Theyer Foundation
- Supporting older people – Connex Community Support
- Family and community events – Buxton Well Dressing Festival, Buxton Sparkles
- Supporting the arts – Buxton Opera House, Buxton International Festival, Buxton Festival Fringe, The Green Man Gallery
- Civic pride – Buxton Town Team, Buxton Civic Association
Who should I volunteer with?
What you want to get out of it is also important in helping you decide which group to get involved with…
- To meet new people – any group!
- To learn traditional skills – Buxton Well Dressing Festival
- To contribute to the local community – Buxton Town Team, Buxton Civic Association
- To support the town’s facilities and events – Buxton Opera House, Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust, Buxton Sparkles
- To have new experiences – Funny Wonders
- To improve your own mental health and wellbeing – Serpentine Community Garden
I don’t have a lot of time
If time is what is stopping you, there are many opportunities available for just 1-2 hours once a year. Here are a few examples:
- Put up a giant orange fringe around the Pavilion Gardens Bandstand on Fringe Sunday (Buxton Festival Fringe)
- Be a competition judge on carnival day (Buxton Well Dressing Festival)
- Spend a few hours cleaning often overlooked features of the town – post boxes, road signs, railings, lamp-posts – at the Big Spring Clean (Buxton Town Team)
- Creating or ‘petalling’ the well dressings in early July (Buxton Well Dressing Festival)
- Carry a lantern at the Lantern Parade (Buxton Sparkles)
- Help choose a cover image for a festival programme (Buxton Festival Fringe)
- Help sell memorial lights at the Lake of Lights event in early December (The Thomas Theyer Foundation)
- Perform a gigante puppet during the carnival parade (Funny Wonders)
- Help direct festival-goers to events at a festival information hub (Buxton Festival Fringe)
- Wade into the River Wye and encourage the ducks along at the Duck Race (Rotary Club of Buxton)
- Help look after the stall-holders at the Buxton Spring Fair (Buxton Spring Fair)
- Deliver a Christmas meal to someone who is spending the day on their own (Christmas for the Community)
- Help marshal the Buxton Carnival Parade, the biggest carnival in Derbyshire (Rotary Club of Buxton)
I need/want to be at home
If mobility, care responsibilities or something else restricts you going out, there are things you can do at home on the computer or in your own home; for example:
- Provide free accommodation for visiting performers (Buxton Opera House, Buxton International Festival, Buxton Festival Fringe)
- Help coordinate a series of talks for group members (Buxton Civic Association)
- Help promote what work is being done by creating posts on social media (Buxton Town Team)
- Talk to someone on the phone who wouldn’t otherwise speak to anyone all day (Connex Community Support)
I need to entertain the kids
If childcare is preventing you getting involved, you can do these tasks with all the family:
- Visit local shops and encourage them to get involved with the Buxton Flowerpot Trail (Funny Wonders)
- Go shopping for someone who is unable to go themselves e.g. after a stay in hospital (Connex Community Support)
- Help grow fruits, vegetables, herbs and other plants on a Sunday afternoon (Serpentine Community Garden)
I’m only free in the evenings
Whilst many groups meet in the day-time, there are a few volunteer roles which need you in the evenings:
- Support guests at a range of events in the Crescent Assembly Rooms and The Pump Room (Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust)
- Welcome people to the theatre and show them to their seats (and sell ice-cream during the interval) (Buxton Opera House)
- Write reviews of artistic performances (Buxton Festival Fringe)
- Offer emotional support to those in need (Samaritans of Buxton & High Peak)
I need to work to my own schedule
There are also lots of roles you can do in your own time:
- Become a Tree Guardian for one of the clusters of fruit trees in the dispersed community orchard (Transition Buxton)
- Help to distribute boxes of Buxton Town Guides around the town (Vision Buxton)
- Become an Energy Assessor and do energy assessments on domestic properties including using a nifty thermal camera (Transition Buxton)
- Encourage local businesses to reduce their use of single-use plastics (Transition Buxton)
I have some time but it’s quite sporadic
- Help process sales in a gallery shop one morning or afternoon a month (The Green Man Gallery)
- Help pack up parcels at the High Peak Foodbank (The Zink Project)
- Help in the volunteer centre reception, answering calls and helping those who drop in (Connex Community Support)
Actually, I have quite a bit of time on my hands
Obviously, some of the roles can take up quite a bit of time and are more ongoing with more responsibility. For example, they might require a bit of training or a weekly commitment. But if you’re recently retired, newly single or signed off work, this might be exactly what you’re looking for:
- Become a befriender and spend some time (face-to-face, via phone or virtually) with someone who needs some company (Connex Community Support)
- Join the ‘Buxton Baublers’ and spend some afternoons making decorations for the town (Buxton Town Team)
- Help keep the local woodlands safe and in good order (Buxton Civic Association)
- Become a Mascot Minder and look after Billy, the three foot bee, and take him to visit groups and events to inspire people about pollinators (Transition Buxton)
- Support creative workshops for young people who face daily difficulties (Funny Wonders)
- Work at a local charity shop (The Thomas Theyer Foundation)
- Help to organise the Big Spring Clean (Buxton Town Team)
- Help greet festival-goers at events (Buxton International Festival)
- Become a volunteer driver and take people to medical appointments (Connex Community Support)
- Collect items from some of the Hard-to-Recycle Bins around the town and help sort them for sending off to be recycled (Transition Buxton)
- Spend a few hours each week making the town looks its best whether weeding the flower beds or picking up litter (Buxton Town Team)
- Plan and facilitate fun, social activities for older people (Connex Community Support)
- Help those who get into difficulty in the countryside (Buxton Mountain Rescue Team)
I’m not sure if I’m allowed to volunteer
If you receive job-seekers benefits, you can volunteer while receiving benefits as long as you continue to meet all the conditions of your benefit and you need to tell the benefits office about any volunteering that you are planning to do before you start. Find out more on Gov.uk here.
If you’re not from the UK, or you don’t have a right to work in the UK, you can still volunteer. Find out more on the NCVO website here.
If you are signed off work, with a health condition or disability, you can still volunteer. You will not need to have a Work Capability Assessment, just because you start volunteering, and you don’t need to provide evidence from your doctor about your volunteering. Find out more on Gov.uk here.
What are the requirements of volunteering?
You may need to pay a one-off or annual fee to be included in an insurance policy: this is generally just £1.
Depending on what you will be doing, some roles might involve having a DBS check.
Some roles might also require you to undergo some in-house or professional training in order to confidently fulfil your role, such as safeguarding training, first aid training or using-the-till training(!)
But for some roles you can just turn up on the day and get stuck in!
Just check with the group you’re interested in what is involved.
I’m not sure where to start. How do I get involved?
If you’re not sure how to get involved, here are some pointers:
- visit the groups during the Buxton Spring Fair on Monday 1 May
- head to The Pump Room, 10am-12noon, on Saturday 20 May when Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust is hosting a Volunteering Fair
- visit the groups at the Rotary Club of Buxton’s Summer Fair in the Pavilion Gardens’ Octagon Hall on Saturday 3 June
- contact Connex Community Support’s Volunteering Coordinator, Gaynor Atkins, by emailing email@example.com or call 01335 348602
- take a look at the Do It volunteering database, coordinated locally by Connex Community Support, at https://doit.life/discover.
- Register your wish to volunteer with High Peak CVS and they will signpost you to organisations at https://highpeakcvs.org.uk/volunteering
- visit the websites of the various groups directly to find out more – click the useful links below.
Please help in whatever way you can
We hope this information has given you some ideas. As you can see, there is a huge variety of tasks.
What happens next is up to you. Please help in whatever way you can.
If you’re still unsure, ask yourself – What is stopping you? What would it take for you to get involved?
If you want to volunteer but you need some help or support in doing so, please contact our local volunteering centre, Connex Community Support, for advice.
- Buxton Civic Association – https://buxtoncivicassociation.org.uk/join-us/
- Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust – https://buxtoncrescentexperience.com/get-involved/#volunteer
- Buxton Festival Fringe – https://www.buxtonfringe.org.uk/volunteer.html
- Buxton International Festival – https://buxtonfestival.co.uk/about-us/jobs
- Buxton Markets – http://www.buxtonmarkets.co.uk/jobs/
- Buxton Opera House – https://buxtonoperahouse.org.uk/about-us/vacancies/volunteers
- Buxton Town Team – https://www.buxtontownteam.org/joinus
- Buxton Well Dressing Festival – https://buxtonwelldressing.co.uk/volunteer-to-help/
- Connex Community Support – https://connex.org.uk/support-us/volunteer-for-us/
- Funny Wonders – https://funnywonders.wixsite.com/funnywonders/support-us
- The Thomas Theyer Foundation – https://thomastheyerfoundation.org.uk/volunteer/
- Transition Buxton – https://www.transitionbuxton.co.uk/membership-join/