The Coach House Museum has about 140 volunteers helping out, from front desk staff, to guides, and archive helpers.
One of those volunteers is former Ashhurst garage proprietor Roger Herd. Roger retired after 37 years at Astro Auto Services in 2010, and initially was happy with his quiet retirement plans.
But in November 2017 that all changed after having his left knee replaced. Thirty six hours later he suffered a stroke, his second, which affected the use of the leg he had just had replaced. While recuperating, Elder Therapy staff visiting him at home told him he needn’t just sit around, he should get out and do something, like volunteer. Staff made a couple of suggestions on where he might volunteer, and after talking to David Bowler, and David Stroud, at the Coach House Museum, decided he would give volunteering a go there.
"I thoroughly enjoy it. I look forward to volunteering, and to Thursday’s 'smoko' group, as both are an opportunity to get out of the house. It’s quite rewarding doing something useful."
Although his leg is coming right (he still does two sessions a week walking 100 laps of Palmerston North’s Hospital’s hydrotherapy pool), he only uses a walking stick outside home.
Roger is on the front desk at the museum rostered usually twice a month, paired up with another volunteer(s).
"It’s not a lot of time involved, half a day (either 9am to noon, or 1pm to 4pm), twice a month.
You are meeting different types of people, interesting people from all over the world.
I’ve even become quite protective of the museum. I’m very proud of the museum, and it’s something positive, and it gets you out of the house for a while."
Would Roger recommend volunteering at the museum? "If you are thinking of volunteering, it’s a good one to do, with not a lot of time or expense involved. And they do look after volunteers, with social get-togethers, pot luck dinners, and other events, just for volunteers."
If you are interested in volunteering as a host, tour guide or can offer services like building, electrical, engineering or catering then contact the manager Piki Lowe.
The museum also houses the Feilding and Districts Community Archive. It seeks to preserve and store history of our area, and is also on the lookout for more conservators, data enterers, transcribers, and researchers.
If interested, contact Marilyn on (06) 3234233; call in during Thursday’s Archive open hours 10am to 4pm; or send a message to email@example.com or the Archive website.