Halton & St Helens VCA were very keen to promoting “Volunteer-led Decision Making” as part of our plans for the redevelopment of St Marie’s Church. Our focus is on not only creating opportunities for people to volunteer in the project, but in helping more people take an active part in make decisions about the heritage.
A core theme throughout all areas of activity is the drive to place local people, and in particular volunteers, at the heart of the decision-making processes to ensure that the value of heritage is maximised.
In light of this, a team of hearty volunteers (known as the St Marie’s Heritage Group) will be responsible for creating and updating the heritage displays that will be housed inside St Marie’s. They are tasked with protecting the heritage of the building going forward.
The Volunteer Advisory Group (or VAG)
During the couple of years that Halton & St Helens VCA were pursuing Heritage Lottery Funding, the role of the St Marie’s Heritage Group was fulfilled by a team of volunteers known by the (admittedly unglamorous) name of the Volunteer Advisory Group.
Throughout the bid writing process, their role has been created to shape and prioritise all areas of activity. This group currently includes local residents, elected local Councillors and VCA trustees, and as the project develops will include representatives from the many partner organisations that will help deliver heritage based learning and appreciation. The VAG is supported by Halton & St Helens VCA staff and officers from Halton Borough Council.
As the project progresses, the Volunteer Advisory Group will identify and develop areas where local people can gain access to the project and become a proactive part in decisions being made about the Church and the ongoing programme of heritage interpretation. The Volunteer Advisory Group will also prioritise and support development of the activities outlined below, ensuring these are appropriately targeted and that volunteers gain ownership over the activities at all times.
If you’re interested in joining the VAG, or wish to have your say on the redevelopment of St Marie’s Church, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Matthew Roberts via firstname.lastname@example.org or (01928) 593 118.
To read the VAG’s Terms of Reference, please click here: VAG Terms of Reference
Here’s some of the VAG in action: