Enjoy The Trust!
by Ruth Lawrence
If you love the work of the National Trust, you can still be a valuable part of their team even if you are not a member. Ruth Lawrence tells us how you can get involved.
I recently met Gail Burrell and Sarah Tapp from the Mid Sussex Association of theNational Trust to find out how you can help and benefit from this supportive local group which was founded in 1976 and has almost 270 members.
They explained why the group is actively seeking new recruits for what is a social organisation with an interesting programme of events throughout the year. “We fundraise for local Trustproperties that send us requests forprojects they need help with,” they told me, adding that the group have raised about £16,000 over the last three years.
Requests have covered conservation, equipment and outdoor areas. Some of the many benefits Trust properties have received are; Rudyard Kipling’s doorbell was restored by the group’s donation and wheelchairs purchased so that less mobile visitors could enjoy their trip. One property benefited from a new interpretation board and a replacement knot garden whilst another received new kissing gates, seats and benches in the picnic area and a local farm received a set of barn doors.
The association stresses that you do not have to be a Trust member to join; some older people may not be able to visit Trust properties because of being unable to drive but still want to play a role in an organisation they have a love for. Membership of the association is only £7 a year and entitles you to a discounted rate on all lectures, talks and trips during the year.
Members meet on the second Thursday each month at Clair Hall, near Haywards Heath Station and enjoy talks on history, geography, people, buildings or arts and crafts to name but a few subjects in an eclectic programme. April’s talk is on the Pre Raphaelites, May covers the history of a Kent Castle and June reveals a portrait and story of a Victorian Garden and grange.
Meetings are social events and a great way to meet local people with similar interests; there is always tea, coffee and biscuits and usually a stall selling jigsaws and books to help raise funds along with a raffle. In the summer, trips are organised to NationalTrust and other interesting propertiesand places and holidays are offered depending on numbers. Mosaic, theassociation magazine is published threetimes a year and last year the forty- year anniversary of the association was celebrated with a tea party attended by the mayor two founder members, Dorothy Beale and Pat Gilliver pictured above.
If you are looking to play a valuable supportive role in the NationalTrust but perhaps cannot commit to volunteering or being a member,joining the Mid Sussex Associationcould prove the ideal way to show support while gaining friends and enjoying a fascinating programme of events throughout the year.