Caistor Arts and Heritage Project 2011:
Caistor Arts and Heritage Centre is a social enterprise and company limited by guarantee founded in 2011. The project won funding from BIG Lottery as part of the village SOS programme, allowing an active community steering group to convert a derelict and unused Methodist chapel, leased from Lincolnshire County Council, into a place for the community. The project also rehoused the village library, preventing its closure after previous premises were found to be unsafe. The steering group were keen to add a heritage interest with a timeline showing the history of Caistor from 8000 BC to present day, and a wall map showing the 1907 OS map of Caistor along with various artefacts. They aimed to bring art to a rural community and are able to use an exhibition room for art and heritage exhibitions, training and workshops. To enable sustainability, they have included a Tastes of Lincolnshire cafe and have created 5 rural economy jobs – 2 cleaners and 3 cafe positions (one of which is part time). However, the cafe, library and heritage areas are manned by volunteers and the whole would not be possible without them. These volunteers were sourced originally by working in partnership with Voluntary Centre Services West Lindsey to run recruitment sessions and induction training prior to the original opening. The Centre also has a full management committee who are also volunteers and support from VCS is ongoing.
Outside Assistance to support volunteering:
They received some funding from LCC towards the whole volunteering effort connected with getting the Centre up and running. VCSWL were invited along and totally organised, trained, advised and supported them through this phase of their set-up at the beginning of 2011
Voluntary Centre Services involvement:
All of the volunteering opportunities were newly created as they were a new start up. The help which was been given was invaluable to them and ongoing, and was done in conjunction with VCSWL direct and the Do-it website. Two Project Officers from VCSWL initially went to Caistor village on a weekly basis to provide workshops and open days where they interviewed prospective volunteers and also trained the team who would ultimately take over those responsibilities. A volunteer Handbook was put together and volunteer agreements, and induction training day prior to launch devised, organised and delivered.
VCSWL remained on hand to help and advise CAHC regarding volunteer management. A volunteer review evening and get together was held after they had been open 3 months and the two VCSWL officers helped by devising the agenda and programme of review and attended in the evening to facilitate the review process.
Approximately 53 volunteers were registered, although not all of them became active. The level of volunteer turnover was very good with only about 3 people leaving.
Project Officers involved:
Gill Taylor & Vanessa Maunders.