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Volunteer tour guides sought for revamped town hall

Budding tour guides who would like to volunteer at Rochdale Town Hall once its multi-million pound restoration is complete are being invited to a special event later this month.

The event, which takes place on 23 and 25 March, will see national experts from Historic England talk through what makes a successful tour guide and how important the role is. Experts from RDA and council will also be on hand to answer any questions about what the role will entail. The Grade I listed town hall, which was first opened in 1871, is undergoing a multi-million pound restoration, which is being funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the council. The project will see many of the building’s heritage features restored, while brand new public spaces will be created to make the building more accessible and engaging than ever more. A major engagement and outreach programme has accompanied the work on site, with almost 300 volunteers engaged in the project since July 2021, while a further 378 people have been engaged through outreach work. Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member equalities, safety and reform at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Rochdale Town Hall already has the wow factor but this restoration will make it even more spectacular, so the tour guides we recruit will have an incredibly important role. “They’ll be ambassadors for one of the most stunning historic buildings in the north of England and will help bring it to life for everyone who crosses its threshold. “This project is about so much more than simply restoring the space; it’s about bringing the history of the building to life so residents and visitors can enjoy and understand it in a way they haven’t before and our tour guides will play a major part in helping us achieve this.” The town hall team is aiming to recruit up to 40 tour guides and people from all different backgrounds are encouraged to apply. It is part of a wider programme to open the building up to thousands more people each year, with opening days and times to be increased, to help facilitate more public access and tours. New lifts, terracing and entranceways will also make the building easier to get into and around, sweeping away existing barriers for visitors with limited mobility. Caroline Storr, strategy and operations manager for Rochdale Town Hall, said: “You don’t need to have special skills or training to get involved, as all of this will be provided. All we ask is that people have bags of enthusiasm. As part of the training, our volunteers will be taken to popular tourist attractions across the North West to see how they engage their visitors and training will give them really marketable skills, such as customer service and first aid.” The event takes place on Thursday 23 and Saturday 25 March, from 2 to 4pm at Touchstones museum and art gallery in The Esplanade. There is no need to book, but people who are interested are encouraged to arrive just before the start time, so they do not miss any key information. Anyone who would like to find out more about volunteering, but can’t make either of the events, can contact the town hall team on: or call: 01706 924797.

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