The Richmond Information Centre, which is located in the town's library, is something of a magnet for visitors and residents alike.
"It's a pleasure to meet people from all over the world who come into the Information Centre on a daily basis with a fascinating range of questions that really keep you on your toes," says Stuart Parsons, the Mayor of Richmond, who has also helped to keep this facility ticking over in recent years.
"Whether someone wants a town map, directions to the Station Cinema or simply a bus timetable, it's nice to feel you've helped them to solve a query; no matter how inconsequential that might seem."
As with so many public service-focused activities these days, the Richmond Information Centre depends entirely on the dedicated help of volunteers for its survival. Just recently, Nick Reckert and Donald Cline, two of the Centre's regular volunteers, have become the joint coordinators for this hub and they're actively looking to recruit more volunteers who are keen to 'meet and greet' members of the public.
"We are looking for local residents who are outgoing and enjoy engaging with the public." notes Nick Reckert. "Volunteers, besides handing out information and answering questions, really act as goodwill Ambassadors for Richmond."
Volunteers will be given training and support until they feel confident in their roles. A good general knowledge of Richmond and the surrounding area is important. It is also important that volunteers are comfortable using the Internet..
To encourage new recruits, shifts are being streamlined so that in most cases a volunteer will only be asked to work once a week. The shifts cover slots from 10 AM to 5 PM and last from one and a half hours to three hours.
Donald Cline adds: "We know how valuable people's time can be, so we're trying not to encroach on our volunteers’ busy lives too much. This really is a fun way to spend a few hours doing something useful, while at the same time getting to meet interesting people."
If you'd like to volunteer a bit of your time to help others get the most out of Richmond, or just discuss what's involved in more detail, call into the Richmond Library and fill in an application form. Alternatively, ring Donald Cline on 01748 822116 or email him email@example.com at to learn a bit more.
Photo: Information Centre volunteer, Donald Cline, directing Coast to Coast Walkers Barbara & John Fritsche from Burlington, Vermont USA to their Bed and Breakfast in Richmond