Volunteers are key to reviving heritage park

Grantham's award-winning Wyndham Park has an impressive army of willing volunteers, whose behind-the-scenes work goes largely unseen by the park's one million annual visitors.

Increased volunteering was a key measure in a successful £1m-plus National Lottery Heritage Fund bid, which has restored the park's heritage as a WWI Memorial Park.

Around 80 volunteers represent a remarkable cross-section of the local community. For many, volunteering has been life-changing:

  • "I have met a lot of interesting people. Volunteering at the park gets me out of the house and meeting people and also learning new tasks. I plan to volunteer for a long time." - this from a blind volunteer
  • "I had been off work being very poorly for five years and was at home in my own little bubble. I was very nervous, but was greeted by a wall of smiling faces, welcomed by open arms."
  • "I joined volunteers at the visitor centre following recovery from a serious health condition. Joining the team has given me confidence and inspired me to do more and I am now waiting to start a college course."

Many of the park's Green Flag-winning attractions would not be the same without the volunteers' efforts in the visitor centre, setting up and stewarding events, manning stalls and even wading into the River Witham for river care duties. Others help with gardening and monitor the park's environment with annual bat surveys and a dedicated biodiversity group.

All are co-ordinated by the Wyndham Park Forum, first launched in 2005, which works in partnership with the park's owners, South Kesteven District Council.

A fresh focus for volunteers is care and maintenance of the new Heroes Commemorative Orchard. The Forum co-ordinated a £12,000 crowdfund campaign in conjunction with SKDC to plant 75 trees to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day.

Volunteers Harri and Dave Martin planting HCO:

Wyndham vols

Rivercare group:

WP - Rivercare group

Volunteers at 'Thank You' event, November 2018:

WP - Volunteers at Thank you event, November 2018