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MLFHS Volunteers at MCL: Max Bamber

Our Volunteers

Teams of volunteers staff our Helpdesk at Central Library providing valuable assistance to members and the public alike and in the process expand their own knowledge of research resources and methods. From time to time, we need to add to our established team. Some experience, good family history skills and knowledge of popular resources is essential for this role. Additional training for Help Desk protocols will be given.

Volunteers formed the society in 1964 and succeeding generations of volunteers have developed its contribution to members and the general public to the present day.

At any given time over one hundred members are involved in some aspect of our activities whether in running the society or in transcribing, scanning and indexing documentary material for one of the society’s many projects.

We therefore welcome new volunteers and encourage members to get involved in whatever way their circumstances allow. Our needs vary from time to time, but details of some of the volunteer roles are explained below, with hints as to the kind of contribution you can make. You will find a list of our current vacancies at the end of this article.

Executive Committee

An Executive Committee of trustees elected at the Annual General Meeting [AGM] manages the society. When vacancies occur, any member may seek nomination for election. Do you have experience of managing a charity or other organisation or do you have ideas about how you would like the society to develop?

Nominations require the support of two paid-up members and must be submitted to the General Secretary not less than 14 days before the date of the AGM. The AGM is usually held in April but this can vary.


Teams of volunteers staff our Helpdesk at Central Library providing valuable assistance to members and the public alike and in the process expand their own knowledge of research resources and methods. From time to time we need to add to our established team. Full training will be given.

Office Administration

Our established team of administrators deal with the enrolment of several hundred new members each year and the renewal of over 2,000 memberships. The team also attends to general office work including copying and filing. Occasionally we need to bring in new volunteers to add to the team. Do you have experience of working in an office or basic computer and office skills?

Meetings and Visits

Volunteers set up the projector and public address systems at our society and branch meetings, check in the attendees, staff the book stall or simply welcome visitors as they arrive. We like to print a summary of each talk in the Manchester Genealogist- volunteers do this too. Volunteers organise visits by members to other archives and places of interest. Could you take on one of these tasks? Perhaps you have a special interest you would like to give a talk about?


There is almost always a project looking for a volunteer and if there isn’t, we will always do our best to create one! Almost all members could take on projects. Some projects do require that you can, regularly, work on-site at Manchester Central Library or another location, but we increasingly use home workers to transcribe from digitised documents-all that is need is a computer, some basic software and an email account. We particularly welcome volunteers who are prepared to manage a team of volunteers.

Perhaps you have a project you would like to see us undertake? We welcome proposals for projects and can support you with technical help, to find volunteers and even, if necessary, with financial support

Why don't you...

As new technology opens up new possibilities, you may be asking "Why don't you ... provide educational videos?", "Why don't you ... hold online meetings?" or "Why don't you ... do this thing that I know about but you don't seem to?". If you have a special skill, which you could employ to make us a better society, then we will be very happy to talk about it.

What to do next

If you are interested in learning more about any volunteer role, please use the Contact Us form to contact the General Secretary.

Current Vacancies

We have a vacancy for a Publicity Assistant or Officer. The volunteer will need up-to-date computer skills. The main job will to co-ordinate publicty for in-person and online events. The post requires checking that the details on the website are kept up to date and that the events are promoted on Eventbrite, on other websites and in newsletters, to proof-read previews of mailshots as required and to check that in each case the details are the same. 

The society is always looking for volunteers. The Helpdesk team welcomes enquiries and more information is available on their page here.

If you want to volunteer but would like to know more about the opportunities available to decide what would be the best use of your talents and interests, you can contact us through the website. If you are local, you might like to attend one of our in-person meetings at Manchester Central Library, Oldham or Bolton, and talk to the organisers. Our branches also need volunteers to help with their administration and events.

The list of possibilities includes transcribing, scanning, administration, minute-taking (as a reserve), reviewing meetings for the quarterly journal, web content editing, assisting at public events, helping with proof-reading and journal editing to cover for unexpected absences (volunteers have holidays!) and attending to publicity - adding our events to online lists, making sure that reminders go out to members - a bit of everything. Some posts require attendance at the library, some can be accomplished online and some have elements of both. We look forward to hearing from you, and if you have any special skills, do let us know.

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