ABBOTSFORD has just entered the record books by becoming the first historic house museum in Scotland to be awarded Volunteer Friendly status.

The Abbotsford Trust has just received the Volunteer Friendly Award.

Currently 400 organisations across Scotland hold the award, with 16 in the Scottish Borders.

Assessors scrutinised the charity’s policies and procedures in five strands covering a range of areas including training, motivation, equality and communication.

Volunteer Centre Borders executive Gordon Brown said: “Volunteers are an integral part of ensuring Sir Walter Scott’s legacy at Abbotsford continues and this is obvious from their work plans and how they are supported in their volunteering roles.

“At a time when volunteers are needed more than ever before, good volunteer management is essential and it is obvious The Abbotsford Trust puts volunteering at the forefront of its strategic planning.”

In 2017 Abbotsford secured three-year funding from Historic Environment Scotland to invest in volunteers, enabling the appointment of a Volunteer Coordinator and the introduction of a volunteer training programme.

Since then the number of volunteers has grown from 45 to 105, with new roles of path wardens, event volunteers and minibus drivers joining the existing guides, room stewards, gardeners and visitor centre volunteers.

Giles Ingram, Chief Executive of Abbotsford, said: “As an independent charity, the Abbotsford Trust relies heavily on the support and goodwill of our army of volunteers.

"Their enthusiasm and generosity of time is invaluable and we really appreciate all they do across the estate.”

To show its appreciation of the army of volunteers, the Trust hosts regular social events, including a quiz night, Christmas lunch and outings to other historic visitor attractions.

There are also regular meetings and an annual survey to keep up-to-date with the support volunteers need.

At this year’s Christmas lunch, 18 volunteers who have served with Abbotsford since the house reopened in July 2013 received five-year long-service awards, to mark their commitment.

Claudia Bolling, volunteer co-ordinator, said: “I am always telling the volunteers that we really couldn’t do what we do without them, and it is so true.

"They delivered more than 12,000 hours of service in the 12 months until September 2018, which is invaluable to a charity like Abbotsford.

“We were delighted that in our last survey 100 percent of those who responded said they would recommend volunteering at Abbotsford to their family and friends.”

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer at Abbotsford can find out more at the next annual recruitment day on January 19.