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There are two forms of membership available for prospective members one being Associate and the other being Shareholder. Both types of membership are subdivided into groups comprising Adults, Senior and Junior concessions where an annual subscription is required to contribute to the cost of servicing the membership.
The modest annual subscription charges are largely geared towards attracting people who wish to contribute more to the Society than the subscription specifically in offering volunteer services which can range across a wide scope of activities.
Associate members receive full inclusive access to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre at all public opening times without additional charge except when Days Out With Thomas (the Tank Engine) events are in progress. These events are largely governed by the franchise holders for the Thomas the Tank Engine copyright. All other event days are available to associate members plus these members receive the Quainton News colour magazine published three times a year and the News from Quainton newsletter also printed three or four time a year this being in a black and white format. All members receive discounts for most items purchased in the shop and refreshment room food and beverages.
Full shareholding membership is available to those people who demonstrate a real commitment and interest in the Society and this is subject to the approval of the Trustees of the Society which in itself is a Mutual Company limited by guarantee and hold Charitable Status. The minimum shareholding is set at four shares at £5.00 each in order to attain voting status at General Meetings and for a member to become eligible for election as a Trustee of the Society at a General Meeting or by co-option between such meetings, The Board of Trustees is limited to nine persons inclusive of the Chairman, Honorary Secretary and Treasurer. Full shareholding members retain the same privileges as associate members plus extra access rights while key-holders are present. This is normally for the purposes of aiding the activities of the Society.
Car Park Attendants - This is a very important role required only on large event days when increased numbers of vehicles are arriving in a constant flow. The Centre has to be aware that many of these event attract families with small children and maintaining control of the car park is crucial to the safety and well being of young ones eager to get in. Too many cars jockeying about in the same area can be dangerous for all concerned. Quite apart from this visitors are impressed if a well organised car park is in operation as they arrive and first impressions count. Brief, on the job, training is available for new attendants as mostly it is common sense and teamwork that wins the day. When mentioning the day actually most event days only require attendants until about 2:30 pm so time is left for volunteers to enjoy the Centre for themselves.
Centre Activities Apart from Catering and Gift Shop attendants which are covered by details available from the Centre Office the volunteer jobs covered by these web pages also take in some fun jobs which range from children's entertainments like badge making, colouring table supervision story telling etc. which are required on Thomas the Tank Engine days in order to comply with the standards set by the Thomas Franchisors. We also often have other popular open wagon rides which require an attendant within the wagon or brake vans as they are operated.
Platform Attendants This is another role not dissimilar to the Car Parking job as again it is usually only required on bigger event days especially those days when children are likely to be prevalent. Those of us old enough to remember slam door carriages are aware of how to use them but the younger Mums and Dads may have never experienced these type of stock in their everyday commuting routine. Little and even big fingers can easily be in the wrong place when a gust of wind tries to shut a door or even a sibling wants to have a go. Eagle eyes are a great asset when acting as a Platform Attendant but, again, it is quite rewarding when visitors show their appreciation. There are also fun times when Thomas the Tank Engine is in town as we have to help the little ones fill the water tank so you may not be too dry by the time of the last train. Oh! And don't forget to kiss the Teddies at their picnic or when Paddington Bear is about. You might also get a kiss from a grateful Mum or a Dad if you are a lady attendant.
The Centre also benefits if the museum has a Steward to keep an eye on the premises and exhibits held within these large building. Normally the exhibits are treated with great respect by our visitors but the presence of a Steward adds professionalism to activities of the Centre. Quite apart from this visitors often like to be able to ask simple questions or for directions to other parts of the site or even where the toilets are located.
Alongside the Museum is the Second Hand Bookshop where additional volunteers will be most welcome. This is a warm, dry and cosy environment in which to volunteer and may suit a more sedentary individual who likes meeting people and maybe talking about books. This bookshop has a vast range of differing books like any other bookshop with, perhaps, just a little bias towards railway and transport publications. The revenue derived from the bookshop makes an important contribution to the Centre and with a few more volunteers a greater number of opening days could be achieved.
Reception (Gate) Staff This is a much misunderstood key position in the Centre where, it appears, rumour has spread that working the entrance till is a black art reserved for retired accountants and bankers. Well if you have ever wondered why checkout staff at supermarkets don't appear to be graduates you may understand it is because the till systems are actually quite simple. It is just a question of familiarity. The only complication is it takes a little time to learn but volunteers who might otherwise be interested in helping visitors get into the Centre will find it a rewarding experience. Visitors constantly return to say thank you for their enjoyable visit and Gate staff carry on their work indoors and at least in the dry if not entirely warm.
A host of other volunteering jobs are available too numerous to mention on this page ranging from working parties keeping the gardens neat and tidy, painting bits of the buildings and the more specialist jobs like trackwork and crewing the trains that run on steaming days. For details on training to be guard, fireman, driver or any task related to operation of the trains contact the Centre office