Volunteers are at the heart of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. When visitors come to the House, almost everyone they meet will be a volunteer, whether it’s in the House itself or in our garden. Without this award-winning team, we would not be able to open our doors to the general public.

We’re always recruiting new volunteers. We believe in giving everyone a chance to volunteer with us. Our volunteers come from all different backgrounds and age groups, and they all want different things from volunteering. For some, it’s a chance to gain experience working in heritage, whilst others want to make new friends. Whatever your reason for volunteering, you don’t need any experience. All we ask is that you’re enthusiastic and willing to learn. 

Please note, we are not currently able to accept applications from people under the age of 16. 

What do our volunteers do?

Our volunteers support the House by working in various different roles. Most of our volunteers come in on our open days, which are Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. They work on our Welcome Desk, in our Tea Room and Gift Shop, or as a Room Steward. Some of them also help with events, weddings, tours, and some behind-the-scenes work. 

What will you gain from volunteering?

  • Flexibility – volunteer as often or as little as you like
  • Full training for each role including how to use our ticket system, speaking to members of the public, using the till / card machine
  • Extra training opportunities, such as conservation cleaning, volunteer-led talks, and trips to heritage sites
  • Help with events, tours and weddings
  • Travel reimbursements of up to £5 per day

Further information about our volunteer experience can be found on our Why Should I Volunteer page.


We welcome applications from volunteers with physical, sensory and learning disabilities.

The House is fully physically accessible, including:

  • A ramp entrance if you use mobility aids such as wheelchairs or mobility scooters
  • A lift to all floors
  • Accessible toilets on ground and first floors
  • Assistant dogs are welcome

If you require other support, such as access to a quiet space or use of adapted training information (for example, large print or easy read), we can accommodate that. 

How can I apply?

Apply online

Fill out the form at the bottom of the page and one of the team will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

Apply via telephone

Phone the House on 0161 273 2215. Please note you may have to leave a voicemail and one of the team will be in touch as soon as possible.

Apply in-person

Come to the House on one of our open days (Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, 11am-3pm) to collect a paper application form.

What happens after I apply?

You will be invited to our next group introductory session. If you choose to sign up as a volunteer after this introductory session, you will also be invited to a training session which will usually be the following week. These sessions are held once every other month on either Wednesdays or Thursdays, so if you can’t make either session please do ask about the next one.

If you have any accessibility requirements you would like us to know about before the induction – for example, access to presentation slides, large-print application forms, need to use the lift, or use of our accessible parking space – please don’t hesitate to tell us. 

Current volunteering opportunities

At the moment, we are recruiting volunteers to support us in the following roles:

Welcome Desk + Room Steward Volunteer

You will welcome visitors to the House, check and sell tickets, and answer questions from visitors, as well as covering gaps stewarding our period rooms. This role is Wednedsays and/or Thursdays only. If you are interested in this role, please select Open Day Volunteer on the application form.

Tea Room Volunteer

You will serve drinks and food in our Tea Room and sell items from our gift shop. This role is Wednesdays and/or Thursdays only. You can read more about our Tea Room on our Tea Room page, and you can visit our online shop on Museum Shops. If you are interested in this role, please select Open Day Volunteer on the application form.

A volunteer serving a visitor a pot of tea and a slice of cake.
A tiered wedding cake on a square board with a model of a bride and groom on top.

Wedding Support Volunteer

You will help with wedding set-up and break-down, welcome wedding guests to the House and answer their questions, and serve drinks at the drinks reception and bar. You will need to do Tea Room training as well as learning about the history of the House. Weddings take place on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with exact times varying. You can find out more about weddings on our Weddings page.

Micro Volunteering

Choose between volunteering for the Front Desk + a Period Room, or Tea Room + a Period Room. You will volunteer over a shorter period, either 6 full-day shifts or 12 half-day shifts. This opportunity is perfect if you’re looking for something more short-term.

Volunteer in a red jumper digging near some green plants.

Gardening Volunteer

You will join our team of gardening volunteers, helping with a range of different tasks. The role is a physical one and will include jobs such as leaf sweeping and digging. You don’t need any previous gardening experience. Gardeners meet on Wednesday mornings only. You can learn more about the Garden on our Garden page.


If you’re interested in becoming a Gardening Volunteer, we’re hosting a Gardening Volunteer introductory session on Wednesday 5th June at 11.30am where you can meet the current gardeners and collect some information about volunteering. If you would like to attend, please fill out the form below and one of our team will be in touch.

Please note: at the moment we are not recruiting volunteers to help with any other roles or open days apart from the ones listed above. This might change in the future, so please feel free to check back regularly. We also do not recruit volunteers for behind-the-scenes roles, such as cataloguing. 


Plans are like a card-house-if one gives way, all the others come rattling about your head

Elizabeth Gaskell, 1864