February 9th 2017
Coro volunteers learning new skills
Volunteers who have stepped up to help run the Coronation Hall in Ulverston have been learning new skills to work alongside full time staff.
Ulverston Community Enterprises took over management of the hall in August last year and has appealed for volunteers to assist in creating a bright new future for the hall as a Community Hub and Arts Centre. More than thirty people attended a taster session and have signed up to help.
The first groups of volunteers have been learning ‘front of house’ skills including the box office operation and how they can help with stewarding shows and the task of setting out chairs and tables in the hall, and of course clearing away afterwards.
Linda Wood and Pat Timewell who both live in the town were introduced to the booking system for tickets to the various shows and events at the Coro by box office assistant Sarah Bray.
In addition to booking and selling tickets the box office staff also find themselves dealing with enquiries about the police desk and SLDC information service which operates at the hall, and acting as the unofficial tourist information centre for Ulverston, so local knowledge is a useful advantage.
Both Linda and Pat are regular visitors to the Coro, and members of the ‘Friends of the Coro’ association. Pat is also member of the Ulverston Outsiders amateur theatrical group and made her stage debut at the Coro some 40 years ago in ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, which is set for a new performance by the Outsiders later this year.
She explained: “Having been involved with the Coro for so long and enjoyed so many wonderful productions and events in the hall, it seemed only right that I should volunteer and give something back.”
Linda added: “The Coro is a wonderful asset for Ulverston and if it is to thrive in the future, it needs the support of everyone in the town, so I was happy to offer my help.”
Gail Whiteley was one of the volunteers for stewarding duties. She commented: “This is such a beautiful building and such an integral part of the town, we can’t simply stand by and let it disappear.”
Maurice Atkinson is an old hand at stewarding having undertaken those duties as a staunch supporter of the Ulverston International Music Festival, and providing assistance for the Outsiders. He said: “If more people step up to help with the Coro, it makes it easier for all of the volunteers, and I am more than happy to do my bit in return for the huge pleasure it has given me over the years.”
UCE Chief Exec Charlie Rowley explains: “Staff who operate the hall are being increasingly stretched by the growing demand for the Coro’s facilities. As UCE works to promote the hall and widen its role with more professional shows and community events, that pressure is going to increase. We have been delighted with the response so far from volunteers prepared to give a little of their time to ensure the Coro is here for future generations to enjoy.”
The Coronation Hall was threatened with closure in 2012. It was owned and managed by South Lakeland District Council, which has dedicated substantial resources to keep the Coro going, and worked closely with UCE to secure the future of the hall. Since August, management of the Coro has been taken on by the UCE board made up of local people working to develop much greater community engagement with this outstanding Civic Asset.
Julie Hammerton, one of the UCE Board directors (who are all volunteers) is currently managing the volunteer programme. She adds: “We would be happy to hear from anyone who would like to find out more about the opportunities that are available, and we are particularly keen to recruit new members for the catering side of the Coro, caretaking crew, technical assistants and people interested in marketing and promotion.’
Anyone who wants to help should email: firstname.lastname@example.org.”