By Ninder Kaur

There are over 8,000 people volunteer in more than 400 community groups all over Bradford. Now, even more people are being encouraged to come forward and show off their skills or gain new ones by volunteering to help out at a
Bradford Council museum or community-managed library.

There are already more than 90 volunteers going along to Cartwright Hall, Bradford Industrial Museum, Bolling Hall and Cliffe volunteerCastle. They help to catalogue collections, demonstrate specialist skills and assist at special exhibitions.

Bradford Council has got a UK gold standard for working well with volunteers after successfully recruiting a diverse volunteer team to help out at a very popular children’s exhibition at Cartwright Hall entitled ‘A Squash and a Squeeze; Sharing Stories with Julia Donaldon.

Libraries at Wrose, Denholme, Wilsden and Addingham have stayed open thanks to members of the community volunteering to run them.

Around 12 – 15 volunteers staff each library with support from Bradford Council and the Denholme one is in a Council-owned building.

A group of volunteers, The Friends of Bradford Archives and Local Studies, also help libraries by cataloging items and re-arranging collections of local interest.

Every year, Young Ambassadors also volunteer in libraries to support and encourage children with the Summer Reading Challenge, aimed at getting primary school children to continue reading throughout the summer
holidays. Twenty young people aged between 11 – 24 volunteered this year.

Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council’s Executive member for Employment, Skills and Culture, said: “We have a proud history of volunteering in Bradford. The Friends of Bradford Museums and Galleries, for example, have done a great job over many years to support Museums staff with exhibitions and events.

“Age and background are irrelevant when it comes to volunteering. It really is something everyone can do and enjoy.  Volunteers are trained and get expenses.”

Penny Green, Bradford Council’s volunteer co-ordinator for Museums and Galleries, said: “Volunteers play an important role in our museums and galleries. We really appreciate the contribution they make.

“Luckily there seems to be a culture of volunteering among young people in their late teens and it’s amazing to see how they grow in confidence when they work with the public. It’s also great for older retired people to meet new people, have fun
and it all helps build a stronger community.”

Anyone wishing to volunteer should contact Penny Green on 01274 435900
or 07582 109195, or email her on