The work of the SERA, everything you see on this website, is entirely carried out by volunteers. We have no full time staff at all. Also all the funds raised to carry out progress to date and fund future projects has been raised through volunteer donations and activities as we do not receive grants or funding from outside authorities or bodies. As you can guess a healthy sized volunteer workforce is essentially for the SERA to continue to make progress. Being a volunteer in a project is rewarding in many ways. You will make new friends, learn new skills or rediscover some you haven't used for ages; plus you will be making a huge contribution to keeping an important aspect of our railway heritage alive.
Our volunteers come from all walks of life; professional railway staff, managers, catering staff, factory workers, clerical staff and ambulance crews are just a few examples. All have one thing in common - they become SERA workers for a few days each month. We have a constant need to recruit more volunteers, the more we have in the team the more progress the organisation can make; it's a simple equation. Take a look at both our extensive stocklist and out Coventry site development plan and you'll soon see just how much there is to be getting on with!
In addition to the hands on work at the Coventry site there is much activity behind the scenes on administrative tasks such as fund raising, accountancy, publicity and this website to name a few. It would be fair to say that as much work is done away from the site as happens on it !
So, are you interested? If the answer is 'Yes' then read on. Here are a few FAQs to answer any questions you may have.
Volunteering F. A. Q.
Q. How much time would I be expected to give ?
A. You need only give us as much of your free time as a volunteer as you feel comfortable giving. We have some volunteers who attend the site to work three or four times a year, whilst others come along three or four times a month. We respect that people giving up their free time is a huge gesture and would only ask that you give what you feel is right for you.
Q. Do I need any specialist equipment or clothing ?
A. If you are going to undertake any work you will find that tools and other equipment are provided. As for clothing you should wear your own clothes that you don't mind getting dirty (imagine you are working on a car or in your garden) overalls are ideal for this. Safety boots (steel toe caps) and goggles are recommended for certain tasks.
Q. Will I need any specialist training ?
A. You would not be expected to operate plant or other machinery that requires specialist training unless you had already been provided with that training. Other tasks that can be more readily performed such as painting, labouring etc. can be undertaken by anyone with basic on site instruction. All volunteers are given a welcome to the site and safety induction session on their first visit where the rules of how to conduct yourself and look after safety are explained.
Q. What days and times are there work parties ?
A. There are work parties on site most Saturdays and Sundays. The work starts at around 10:30 and continues until about 17:30, there is an earlier finish time during the winter due to lack of daylight.
Q. Is there any overnight accommodation on site if I want to stay a whole weekend ?
A. We do not, at present, have a facility to offer proper overnight accommodation but this is being looked into. In the meantime you are welcome to pitch a tent or sleep in one of the carriage compartments. Those wanting more luxury will find a few local hotels that offer competitive room rates which become very economical if shared with other volunteers.
Q. Can I get help with transport to and from the site ?
A. If you can get to Coventry station or city centre by whatever means you have available to you we can offer help with cars to ferry people to and from the site, just let us know where you want a lift from and what time you expect to get there.
Q. I'm only interested in helping out with a specific item in the collection - can I do only that ?
A. Certainly, just contact us with the details of what it is you are interested in and we will put you in touch with the volunteer in charge of that project. Certain items on the site are just for storage and not ongoing but we can provide you with full details of what the situation will be like for working on that item in the future.
Q. How do I find out about work parties ?
A. If you have e-mail access you can register for our Yahoo based e-mail discussion group where all details of up and coming on site activity are posted and discussed. The home page for registration for this is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CovRC/
Q. I'm not much good at the whole hands on thing, is there something else I can do ?
A. There is as much work going on away from the site as there is at it. The behind the scenes staff are as important as those in the trenches. We have a serious need for clerical and administration volunteers to run publicity, accountancy, internal communications, sales and a host of other tasks. No matter what your area of interest we certainly have a need for you.
SERA is nothing without its volunteers - the volunteers are people like you !
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.