MORE than 110 people are volunteering to ensure Rossendale’s cultural gem The Whitaker Museum and Art Gallery is a success.

Volunteer Co-ordinator Caroline Beardmore said: “We now have 114 volunteers aged from 14 upwards, as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme, and the oldest is around 84.

“We allow our volunteers to pick where they want to work and what hours they want to commit; it is all very flexible.

“Some people volunteer because they want to socialise, some as a way of giving back, others to get opportunities to learn new skills and because they want to feel a sense of community.

“We would nor be able to so what we do without our volunteers, they are our lifeline and we are very grateful.”

Based in Whitaker Park, Haslingden Road, Rawtenstall, The Whitaker has also recently converted from being a Community Interest Company to a Charitable Interest Organisation.

Creative Director Gaynor Seville explained: “This means certain doors to funding and grants can be opened to us.

“Crucially, we have also been able to introduce debit card tap machines into the entrance area of the building so our visitors can tap to make a donation.

“As a free to enter venue, we are heavily reliant on fundraising, sponsorship and our visitors’ generosity in supporting us to reach our targets.

“We provide an award-winning programme of exhibitions and events, including activities for families, film nights, workshops, art exhibitions, talks and early years sessions.

“These are all expensive to run and we try to apply for grants and funding to help us deliver our community engagement and arts programmes.

“We are delighted to once again be shortlisted for Lancashire Best Cultural Venue/Organisation of the year and strive to continue to deliver a diverse and quality experience for all of our visitors.”

Anyone wanting to volunteer at The Whitaker can contact Caroline on

Cathrine Smyth Media.