The Clifton Suspension Bridge volunteer team was delighted to win the regional Marsh Trust ‘Volunteers for Museum Learning’ Award. The award recognises a team of dedicated and passionate volunteer guides who delivered over 83 Hard Hat Tours to over 900 participants in 2018. The Hard Hat Tours take groups of 12 into the Leigh Woods Abutment which was built to shorten the span of the bridge, and sits underneath the Leigh Woods Tower.
Two volunteers from the Hard Hat Tour Team attended a ceremony at the British Museum to accept the award on behalf of the team on Monday 23rd September 2019. The award has capped off a successful year for the Hard Hat Tours with the introduction of three newly styled tours available for 2019, most of which have limited availability for the remainder of the year.
The Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre has charitable status and does not receive funding from the tolls which are used to maintain the bridge. Income from the Hard Hat Tours contributes to keeping the Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre open 7 days a week.
Trish Johnson, Bridgemaster of the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust, commented that "our volunteer team is an integral part of the Visitor Centre, and without them we would not be able to run our education arm. The Hard Hat Tours are a great way to discover and explore the bridge and I am always amazed at how much time and dedication our volunteers offer us. I am thrilled that the Hard Hat Tour Team are getting the recognition they deserve."
The British Museum and the Marsh Christian Trust have been working in partnership for the eleventh year for the ‘Volunteers for Museum Learning’ award which recognises the hugely valuable contribution that volunteers make in helping museums engage with their visitors.
The ‘Volunteers for Museum Learning’ award forms part of a programme of awards presented by the Marsh Christian Trust in the fields of science, ecology, conservation, heritage, literature and volunteering. Each one of these awards recognises individuals and organisations who devote their lives to improving the world today and the world in the future. The Marsh awards programme is managed in association with key partners including the Zoological Society of London, English Heritage, Barnardo’s, the Refugee Council and the British Museum.
The aim of the ‘Volunteers for Museum Learning’ award is to recognise those volunteers who work directly with museum visitors in any capacity. This could involve leading a school group, staffing an information desk, helping with family activities, running a guided tour or any number of other ways in which volunteers provide such excellent service to museum visitors.
There were a large number of applications from across the UK, some from groups of volunteers and some from individuals. The judges consisted of staff from the Marsh Trust, staff and volunteers from the British Museum and a representative from English Heritage. The British Museum is delighted to host the awards, being very aware of the crucial contribution volunteers make to the well-being of the Museum and its enjoyment by the public.
Sir Richard Lambert, Chairman of the Trustees at the British Museum said “Museums across the UK rely on the contribution of volunteers to ensure they reach and inspire as many people as possible. The Marsh Awards recognise the commitment and enthusiasm of volunteers in museums and we are very grateful to the Marsh Christian Trust for acknowledging this work.
The winners will each receive a cash prize of £500, donated by the Marsh Christian Trust. The one overall national winner who receives an additional £2,000.