Volunteers wanted for Richmond Information Centre

Volunteer Julie Vickerman (right) with a Richmond Information Centre visitor.

An appeal has been issued for more volunteers to help run the Richmond Information Centre (RIC).

The facility has been based at the town’s Market Hall for more than a year now.

Serving Richmondshire and the Dales National Park, RIC provides visitors and residents with information and advice on places to stay or eat, local attractions, bus and train times, car-parking, and a million other issues.

With nearly 30 volunteers and a part-time supervisor, RIC is now looking for even more volunteers, both to expand its services and in expectation of a rush of summer visitors.

Volunteer Pam Heseltine is also a member of the management team.

She Pam said “Monday afternoons are great.

“They’re when I spend a few hours on shift.

“I started in 2017, when we just had a small desk in the library, and was surprised to find how rewarding it is to meet visitors and help make their trip memorable. Moving to the Market Hall means we now have much more to offer.

“It’s a real joy to help people from all over the world and send them away with advice, a selection of leaflets and maybe a walking guide or two. We’re ambassadors for the district.”

Pam added: “If I get a particularly tricky question, our website (www.richmondinfo.net) has loads of resources, including a what’s on section and an accommodation directory. Or I can just Google the answer.

“One of the amazing things about volunteering is how much you can learn about the area while providing information to visitors. Also, there’s a lovely, supportive feel within the team.”

Here are some of the questions asked by prospective volunteers, and some of Pam’s answers:

Q: “How many hours would you want me?”

A: Generally, about three hours a week – but we’re very flexible. If you’re away on holiday, or your cat falls ill, we can easily cope. We’ll adapt to your circumstances!

Q: “Would I be working on my own?”

A: Many volunteers do work on their own in the RIC pod, particularly during quieter periods, but if you’d rather share a shift, that’s no problem. Also, note that there are lots of other people working in the Market Hall at all times.

Q: “What skills or characteristics are you looking for?”

A: An easy and pleasant manner when helping customers. Some local knowledge – though a genuine interest in the area is more important; the knowledge will come. Familiarity with email and web searching. We do train all our volunteers and provide continuing support.

Q: “I’m in! How can I find out more, or apply?”

A: You could drop in to the Market Hall, take a look at the pod (see www.richmondinfo.net for opening hours) and chat with the volunteer on duty. Or you could phone Bev Lawrence on 07951 662946. Or you could fill in the form at www.richmondinfo.net/volunteer.