THIS is the equation.
£528,700 equals 225 volunteers, three new posts and a paid internship.
In a ground-breaking programme IWM North, working in partnership with Manchester Museum, is celebrating a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of over half a million pounds for a new volunteer and learning programme.
This is an inspiring project that should be used as an example for heritage venues across the UK.
The three-year project, Improving Futures: Volunteering For Wellbeing, will build on a previous HLF-funded project, In Touch, which highlighted the need for greater public involvement and volunteer opportunities at heritage venues across Greater Manchester. It also highlighted how volunteering could change people’s lives.
Sara Hilton, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: “The Improving Futures project provides an opportunity to create a diverse and highly-skilled volunteer workforce in Greater Manchester. This is an inspiring project that should be used as an example for heritage venues across the UK.”
In essence the Improving Futures project uses the heritage assets of IWM North, Manchester Museum, Museum of Science and Industry and other venues to help volunteers move away from social and economic isolation.
This is the first major project to measure the impact of volunteering in the heritage sector on health and wellbeing, exploring how it can combat social and economic ills.
As stated above the numbers are impressive. 225 people from all walks of society - including people between the ages of 16-25 and over 50 years old, as well as ex-service personnel - will be given the chance to become volunteers and benefit from a bespoke training programme accredited by The Manchester College.
They will get the chance to work with some of the best known heritage venues in the North West, including the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester City Galleries, People’s History Museum, Manchester Jewish Museum, Dunham Massey and Ordsall Hall. These venues in turn will be able to cultivate a valuable volunteer base that will improve the visitor experience and provide access and interpretation to the collections.
To help ensure the scheme runs smoothly three new posts and a paid internship will be created working across both Manchester Museum and IWM North.
Both venues have established volunteer programmes already in place. This project will enable them to expand these programmes and work more closely with the volunteers.
Half a million pounds should make a difference, it's a ray of sunshine for a great many people.
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