Would you be interested in taking part in maintaining or sailing Albion or help to run the Norfolk Wherry Trust ? The Trust is run by volunteers who come from all walks of life and the atmosphere at our base, although purposeful, is very informal.
We have regular twice weekly maintenance parties at our base throughout most of the the year (once weekly in summer months). In the winter months we focus primarily on keeping Albion in tip top condition but there is always something to be done around the base. We always take time out for tea and biscuits (!) so brewing skills are most welcome.
Our volunteer crew sail Albion in the summer months. We have an extensive training programme, through which crew members are encouraged to progress. Although a serious responsibility, it is enormously pleasing and good fun, ensuring that charter parties have a memorable day out.
While those that crew Albion tend to be in the public glare, there are many others working away behind the scenes keeping everything running smoothly. Our organisation is structured into a number of groups each of which focuses on specific activities within The Trust, for example we've already mentioned crew which together with chartering is one such group. Other such groups look after our base infrastructure, Albion itself, publicity, archives, education, membership and financial matters.
What skills do I need ?
The most important "skill" is the desire to see Albion continue to sail the waters of Norfolk & Suffolk ! To this end boundless enthusiasm and the ability to smile and work with others of the same mind is vital.
If you'd like to crew Albion a sailing background is an advantage but not essential. We have a training programme which is designed to enable anyone to become a mate or skipper. When it comes to practical work on Albion traditional boat-building skills are always welcome. However the boat's fittings and fixtures regularly require maintenance and these can include electrical, plumbing and general handyman skills. Winter maintenance activities include liberal (but careful) use of paint brushes as well !
Our base at Ludham is our second most precious possession and also needs plenty of tender loving care. Once again general skills are required; basic gardening skills are also welcome to maintain the quayside and approaches to the base itself.
As far as the back office activities are concerned most key roles are currently filled but it's always good to have organisational skills and those with IT skills available when individuals move on.
How old do I have to be ?
Our volunteers are of all ages, gender and backgrounds. The only age "limitation" we have relates to crew whereby age related medical assessments are required for some skippers and mates. Most of our mid-week volunteers tend to be from the ranks of the retired and early retirees whereas those that assist at weekends may include those that have to work for a living !
What jobs are on offer ?
We are always on the look out for crew, particularly those that can lend a hand mid-week. Other than the routine maintenance of Albion and our base most other tasks will depend upon works and projects which are current, as a result fresh blood is always welcome !
Other activities include supporting our Open Days in the summer by showing the public around Albion, selling souvenirs and generally being an ambassador for The Trust. Our Education focus group shows school parties around Albion as part of school curriculums, so those with teaching skills are valued in this environment. In addition our Archive group is gradually piecing together photographic and literary memories from Albion's past.
How much time do I have to give ?
There are no set rules as to how much time you have to give. Some of volunteers only visit us during holiday periods or whenever time allows, others attend most working parties. Involvement in the focus groups usually requires attendance at three/four meetings throughout the year. More active projects would meet as required. Crewing can involve a couple of charters a week or perhaps more if called upon !
What's in it for me ?
Good company, a friendly working environment and the satisfaction of preserving a Broadland icon.
So you still want to volunteer ?
Please don't let a perceived lack of skill deter you. There are not many people left with the ability necessary to sail and maintain Albion. All those involved have had to learn what skills are needed. On the job training and more formalised sessions ensure the skills are developed in what we hope is a friendly and collaborative environment. If you have an interest in Wherries and the Waterways of Broadland we are bound to be able to use you !
Want to know more ? Please email me through the Contact Page or better still why not arrange to meet us at one of our working parties at our base ?
Pete Jermy - Volunteer coordinator
Some of the "class" of 2015.