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.
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?
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.
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
- 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.