Volunteering opportunities

We currently have many opportunities for volunteers to get involved in at our events, in the office, with school visits, or with work in the library, herbarium and garden. If this is of interest to you please fill in and return our Volunteer_Application_Form. In most cases enthusiasm and commitment are more important than experience!

Volunteers are generally needed when we are open to the public (Thursdays, some Saturdays and for special events), or when we have school visits or school holiday activities (Tuesdays, Wednesdays & some Saturdays).

We are also looking for new Trustees.Trustee Ad 2016

Open days and events

The Institute runs a busy programme of events throughout the year, all of which depend on the help of volunteers. Opportunities for involvement range from manning a stand at a show to giving horticultural advice at the annual plant sale,  helping run our tea and cake stall, and handing out information leaflets about the Institute.  See Events for upcoming activities where we will need help!

We also need help with our Saturday openings – showing people around the Institute, taking them out to the garden, making tea, selling cards and seeds etc – as well as helping with any special events going on that day.


We have a range of programmes for our school visits, mainly for early years and primary. These sessions take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. We also run family activities during most school holidays, when help is needed. See School Visits for more information.


Volunteers assist in maintenance tasks such as tidying up herbarium sheets and the weekly task of freezing specimens to prevent insect infestation and damage. The historic nature of the herbarium and its arrangement provides additional interest when incorporating recently donated specimens and naturalised alien species. See Herbarium for more information.


Volunteers assist in a variety of tasks, including arranging subject sections and updating our catalogue to reflect changing interests and new acquisitions. See Library for more information.


The garden provides opportunities for volunteers to be involved in the care of many rare and unusual plants. Tasks range from the practical – pruning, propagation and maintenance – to the more academic – creation and upkeep of garden records and information leaflets. All plants are labelled and most volunteers widen their knowledge through working with species new to them. Members and volunteers collect seeds for the annual seed exchange and also propagate plants for our annual plant sale. See Garden for more information.


It might not sound very glamorous but the help we get here is hugely appreciated! Volunteers help with publicising our events, developing materials, administering course bookings etc. Great work experience and a chance to learn about the other areas of the Institute too.