Gift Shop & Plant Nursery Volunteer – about the opportunity

The Gift Shop and Plant Nursery at Borde Hill Garden is key part of the visitor experience – over 50,000 visitors pass through the shop each year. As a volunteer, your role will be to work with the paid retail team to ensure every visitor has a superb experience and the shop runs smoothly. We may need your help with identifying new, appropriate shop stock, merchandising, stock control and deliveries. Experience of working in retail and using an electronic till would be helpful but is not essential.

What’s involved

  • Providing support to the Visitor Welcome and Retail Supervisor. Activities will include: identifying potential new stock, monitoring shop merchandise at other leisure attractions, merchandising the shop displays regularly/seasonally to keep it ‘fresh’, pricing items as necessary, maintaining the cleanliness and tidiness of the shop, assisting visitors with enquiries and purchases, promoting the benefits to visitors of purchasing a guide book and any other related duties.
  • You will be helping to check shop deliveries, unpacking the goods, confirming the delivery is correct, pricing each item and transferring new stock into the stock room.
  • Developing a good knowledge of Borde Hill Garden, its history, and what it has to offer throughout that day (horticultural highlights and events), so that all visitors receive accurate and relevant information to enhance their visit.
  • Dealing with any queries that may arise from visitors and passing to colleagues if necessary.
  • Being aware of the needs and arrangements for all visitors, including those with special needs.
  • Becoming familiar with and following the Borde Hill Garden Health and Safety Policy at all times.
  • Giving any other appropriate assistance as may be reasonably requested.

Why you might like this role

  • Becoming part of a small, friendly and dedicated team
  • Use your customer service skills and expertise
  • Help us make generate revenue to support Borde Hill Garden as a registered charity
  • Improving your communication and merchandising skills
  • Meeting like-minded people from all walks of life and making new friends
  • Great personal satisfaction, since you have the opportunity to make a real difference to our visitors’ experience
  • Enjoying new experiences

What are we looking for?

This role will suit people who are… keen to make each customer feel special and enjoy meeting people, friendly and helpful and enjoy helping others, available at least once a week, would like to be first to see all the great new items coming into the shop, willing to provide a regular commitment – the role involves comprehensive training and we need assurance that you will be available on a regular basis, enjoy variety, have a friendly and helpful nature and like helping others.

This role is purely voluntary and this arrangement is not meant to be a legally binding one or an employment contract.

Practical Considerations

Time commitment for this volunteering role is flexible, but would ideally suit someone living near to Haywards Heath.
You will be eligible for a free family season ticket to the Garden.
You will receive a 20% discount in our shop and plant nursery.
A full welcome pack will be provided to begin the induction process.

About Borde Hill Garden

The Garden, a registered charity and listed Grade II* by English Heritage, is set in 200 acres of parkland in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with stunning vistas across the Ouse Valley viaduct.  The 17 acre Garden is renowned for its rare shrubs and trees and has 78 champion trees.  It is laid out as intimate garden ‘rooms’, including the Rhododendron, Rose and Italian gardens.

Colonel Stephenson Robert Clarke (1862-1948), heir to the Stephenson Clarke shipping firm, bought Borde Hill house with the intention of creating a great garden. The Colonel began collecting soon after he acquired Borde Hill and his particular interest was woody plants, and his ambition was to collect the widest range of such plants that would grow in this part of Sussex. He sponsored many plant collector expeditions including those of Ernest Wilson, George Forrest, Reginald Farrer and Frank Kingdon Ward. Harold Hillier, the great nurseryman, considered that the Colonel was the ‘greatest amateur all-rounder of the gardening world of the twentieth century’.

The Garden is open to visitors between 14th March and 1st November 2020

Apply or find out more

Contact: Andrew Loin
Tel: 01444 450326  Email:


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