Wollaston Museum, Curiosity Cottage, and Beacon Hill are run by the Wollaston Heritage Society Management Committee. As well as the Committee (currently only six people), wehave four Property Trustees who look after the interests of the site. Unfortunately, the committee has been without a Chairperson or Vice Chairperson for over three years and lacks the overview that is needed. Added to this, the Secretary has moved out of the village and has officially resigned from the post. In other words we are a small group of committed volunteers who deal with everything from fundraising to weeding – but without someone at the helm. Please read through to the end to see if you can help.
Our current subscription form states that by becoming a member of the Wollaston Heritage Society you will be contributing to the ongoing upkeep of the site and are promised a welcome pack, which is true. You are also promised “regular newsletters that include information on forthcoming events, will be invited to member-only events and will receive discounted entrance fees to public events”. Apart from sending emails to members who have them, we no longer send newsletters and we have held only 5 events over the last 14 months, where we used to hold them monthly. We just do not have the capacity to organise more.
Despite this we have had some successes. Two are that 1) we have a number of enquiries (and even visitors) from Canada, Australia, America, etc. We do our best but it would be so wonderful to have someone who could research family history for them. Could this be you? 2) we have visits by history, heritage and community groups who are always very interested and interesting.
Over the last year we held a Sale Day which was successful and we are grateful to the younger members of the village (i.e. 30-somethings) for their participation and particularly for their communications viaFacebook to drum up business. It was a cold wet day so well done to them for sticking with it and rallying support.
We held two talks. One was by Mick Henson who is a local sculptor and deserves to be celebrated. Mick has very kindly loaned two of his sculptures to the Museum garden, where they sit very comfortably. The second talk was by Jim McKenzie on a very different topic of security; very apt and very interesting. Jim and Jenny are also stewards. Our AGM was held in April and our speaker was Nicholas Warliker who spoke about Barnwell Manor, the Royals and gardens! Although these are enjoyable social events, they should also be fundraising events but sadly we always have a very limited attendance and generally only break even or even lose money.
One event which does bring in significant numbers of folk to the village, and usually well over £1000, is the Open Gardens Day, organised very capably by Jane Austin, Peter and Val Thomas and a small team, and we are very grateful for this. The Parish Council have also provided us with a grant, for which we are extremely grateful as maintenance costs for old buildings are high.
The irony is that we are now fairly financially healthy but really need people to help us run the site, organise events and generally revitalise the Society. Basically, people with time and enthusiasm who could grab the many funding, promotional and development opportunities we are offered. For example, stalls at heritage fairs around the county, attending volunteer fairs, or taking part in training. We realise that everyone is very busy but the Wollaston Museum complex is a wonderful resource which we are in danger of losing for lack of support. Can YOU spare a few hours to help?
We are open from April to September, each Sunday and Wednesday, 2.30 – 4.30 pm, and at other times for community groups, by arrangement. Applicants should ring 07804 241430, or contact us via Facebook www.facebook.com.WollastonMuseum.
Free entry: Entry to the Museum is free but donations are always welcome.
Tel 07804 241430; Facebook: www.facebook.com/WollastonMuseum
Angela Scheidegger, Acting Secretary.