#TheBigSuffolkPledge is now in full swing, across Suffolk individuals, groups and businesses are thinking about how they can support volunteering locally. If you are wondering what kind of volunteering roles are available and why they are important, hear what Mid Suffolk Light Railway have to say about their volunteers.
Meet David Clayton, Volunteer Coordinator, Mid Suffolk Light Railway
“I’m stronger than ever”
Mid-Suffolk Light Railway may just offer something for any interested volunteer, set in Mid-Suffolk Countryside and home to Suffolk’s only standard gauge heritage preserved railway, Mid Suffolk Railway also features a shop, café and bar.
David Clayton who is not only the Volunteer Coordinator but also a Trustee and Education Officer explained that they currently have a variety of interesting and unique volunteering roles on offer. Knowledge of trains is not needed as David himself admits that he was not a rail enthusiast but began volunteering after his wife got him involved. David now does a bit of everything including changing sleepers, painting buildings, and cutting grass and as for his wife, she is now training to drive the biggest diesel locomotive they have. It is clear why David enjoys his role so much, he explained “From my office I see pheasants, deer, rabbits, hares and woodpeckers every time I’m there in the summer months, if you like the outdoors its lovely” the scenery isn’t the only benefit David explained that he had lost weight and feels stronger than ever. For those in retirement an active role like those available at Mid-Suffolk Light Railway can have an enormous impact on your physical health but more than that it is also a vital way to keep connected and beat isolation.
Mid Suffolk Light Railway has volunteer opportunities for all ages, from supporting young people through the Duke of Edinburgh scheme to those who are working and enjoy being in the fresh air at the weekends. The roles available are also great ways for younger people to gain important skills, for example you could volunteer in their bar which is open to all on a Friday evening, a great way to gain customer service skills or perhaps you would be interested in becoming their volunteer Events Manager which would jazz up any CV.
History is an important feature of Mid-Suffolk Light railway, the line active from 1904-1952 was essential to connect the villages up to bigger towns such as Stowmarket and was used by children going to school. During WW2 it was also vitally important for transportation between different military bases. It now features a micro museum and history is often brought to life during re-enactments. For anyone with an interest in social history volunteering here would be a treat. They are also looking for a carriage and wagon maintenance volunteer which would require someone with heritage and woodwork knowledge.
Whatever your interest, age or background there may be the perfect volunteering role for you at Mid-Suffolk Light Railway. Could you volunteer your band to play in their bar, work in their shop, help with gardening or become their Event Manager? David explained that what you will get is “comradery, fresh air, social history and learn new skills, I’ve learned so much, I’ve used skills I never thought of, that keeps you younger”
Could you pledge to volunteer your support to the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway or similar charity visit The Big Suffolk Pledge – Community Action Suffolk to make your pledge today #TheBigSuffolkPledge
Mid Suffolk Light Railway www.mslr.org.uk