The Mersey Gateway Project

Mersey Gateway volunteers are helping to tell the story of Halton’s iconic new bridge. Volunteers work alongside Merseylink’s team to staff the Mersey Gateway visitor centres and to support a programme of talks, presentations and temporary exhibitions in local community venues, schools and colleges.

Volunteers Harry, Peter and Mal on duty at the Mersey Gateway visitor centre in Widnes

Volunteers Harry, Peter and Mal on duty at the Mersey Gateway visitor centre in Widnes

Why volunteer?

People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. For some it offers the chance to give something back to their community or make a difference to the people around them. For others, it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge. Regardless of the motivation, what unites our volunteers is that they find it both challenging and rewarding.

Some of the benefits you can gain from volunteering include:

  • Develop valuable skills and increase your confidence
  • Add work experience with the Mersey Gateway Project to your CV
  • Gain an insight into the work of the construction, engineering and education sectors
  • Feel a sense of achievement knowing you are part of Halton’s history
  • Undertake relevant vocational training which could lead to a recognised qualification
  • Meet like-minded people and make new friends
  • Enjoy the satisfaction of giving something back to your community
  • Have fun!

What do our volunteers say?

I joined because the size of the project and its benefits inspired me. I wanted to know more! – James, Runcorn
I was inspired to volunteer because I wanted to contribute to this major local project. I have volunteered before and felt that this was an interesting opportunity to do something rewarding and utilise my local knowledge. – Stephen, Widnes
I have volunteered for over 12 years and this is something different. I get to meet new people and interact with the public on such a great project – Robert, Widnes
I became a volunteer because I want to be a part of Halton’s history! I’m amazed at how much time, effort and sheer hard work has gone into this project so far and I can’t wait to share it with members of the public, schools and colleges. It’s going to be brilliant! – Tracy, Widnes
As this is one of the biggest construction projects in the UK, the opportunity to volunteer was too good to miss! The training given by Merseylink is superb and I’m enjoying learning more about the place I was born in, particularly the ecology and wildlife. Being able to witness all the major changes in my town first hand is something I am proud to be part of. – Ian, Runcorn

Read more volunteer profiles

What do volunteers do?

Most volunteers are involved in helping to staff the Mersey Gateway visitor centres at the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre in Widnes and Runcorn Shopping Centre.

Volunteers are on hand to welcome visitors and to answer questions on everything from local history and heritage, environment and ecology, to the bridge construction. The volunteers also host trips to the Catalyst centre’s rooftop observatory, where visitors can get a bird’s eye view of the construction work that is taking place in the estuary.

Volunteers Val, Barrie and Eric explaining how a cable stayed bridge works

Volunteers Val, Barrie and Eric explaining how a cable stayed bridge works

Some volunteers take part in our schools programme, helping to deliver presentations on bridge-building to schools and supporting classes with their Mersey Gateway projects.

There are also opportunities for community involvement – where our volunteers go out to local groups and events to deliver presentations and provide information about the Mersey Gateway project to the local community.

What training do volunteers receive?

New volunteers will be enrolled on the Mersey Gateway volunteer training programme. The 4 week training programme is delivered by Merseylink and Halton Employment Partnership, usually taking place over two 2.5 hour sessions per week which are held at Kingsway Learning Centre in Widnes. Louise Cash, Volunteer Co-ordinator at Merseylink, and a tutor from Halton Employment Partnership will lead the sessions with various guest speakers from Merseylink.

The training will cover:

  • Traffic management
  • Environment & ecology
  • Communication, active listening and presentation skills
  • Employment & skills
  • PR & communications
  • Safeguarding
  • Dealing with a variety of visitors & their anticipated questions
  • Construction programme and materials

A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate is also required – this will be done prior to or during the sessions through Halton Borough Council and is free of charge.

A branded polo shirt, ID card and lanyard will be provided upon completion of the training programme.

How much time is involved?

It’s up to each individual how much time they give to volunteering for the Mersey Gateway project. In general, most volunteers undertake one 3-hour session per week, but you can do more than this or less, it’s up to you.

Your travel expenses (mileage or public transport fares) are reimbursed.

How can I find out more about becoming a Mersey Gateway volunteer?

To find out more about the Mersey Gateway volunteer programme, please contact volunteers@merseylink.com, call the project information line 0333 200 1164, or speak to our volunteers in the Mersey Gateway visitor centres.