Volunteers Sought For Ellisland Farm, Robert Burns’ Family Home Near Dumfries

The Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, formed in April to conserve and promote the poet’s home at Auldgirth on the banks of the Nith, has launched an ambitious drive to recruit new volunteers for one of Scotland’s most important Burns sites.

The new charity is looking for motivated, friendly and energetic people with a passion for Burns to help it reopen the site to the public, maintain the grounds and promote the Ellisland offering to the local, national and international community. There are a number of volunteering opportunities available, including front of house (interacting with public, leading tours); gardening, care and maintenance; curatorial (cataloguing archive, data entry, administration).

All volunteers will receive a full induction to Ellisland and training in the history of the site, where Burns wrote masterpieces such as Tam o’ Shanter and Auld Lang Syne. In return for their work, they will be able to work with international experts on Robert Burns and learn more about his life. They will also be able to develop a range of skills, including some that could help improve their employment prospects.

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The project has been led by Volunteer Co-ordinator and Project officer Tuesday McPhail, who started her role in September. She said: “Volunteers have long been the lifeblood of Ellisland – from the welcoming faces telling stories of the Bard’s time here to the dedicated gardening and maintenance team who have been keeping the grounds neat and  tidy during the summer.
“We are seeking to build on what’s been achieved and welcome new volunteers to help the Trust drive the development of the site and create a well-rounded offering to the public.”

Tuesday came to her role at Ellisland from an arts and events management background, having studied classical music at Edinburgh Napier University. For the last three years, she was working with Underbelly as Operations Manager for their Edinburgh Fringe, Christmas and Hogmanay Festivals.

Tuesday’s role is partly supported by the Holywood Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund and donations to a recent fundraising appeal to allow re-opening


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