As I look out across our fantastic railway, what do I see?
I see dedicated staff and volunteers working their socks off to ensure our passengers and visitors enjoy a unique experience and one which we all hope will bring them back time and time again.
Like all heritage railways, volunteers are the ‘beating heart’ of the preservation movement and here at the ELR we very much appreciate and value what our volunteers do. The challenge for the future is to sustain or improve on the current levels of working volunteers.
At this early point in my Chairmanship, I am asking a simple question, do all our volunteers feel valued and understand what our plans are for the future, I suspect the answer could be a mixed one?
To get on top of this topic I have been speaking to David Wright the Chair of the ELRPS where we plan to jointly carry out a ‘root and branch’ review of how we recruit and retain volunteers. The conclusion of which is to launch a ‘Volunteers Charter’ following a full consultation with all volunteers working and non working. There will lots be opportunities to make comments/observations to help us shape this important Charter to make it fit for purpose for years to come. We will also be looking into the feasibility of establishing a ‘junior volunteers’ section in the 11-15 age group.
I firmly believe the more open, transparent and inclusive we are the more our volunteers will enjoy and stay with us for many years working on the ELR.
Look out for more information over the next few months.