Fort continues tourism comeback thanks to volunteers

Landguard volunteers

Landguard Fort volunteers - Credit: Landguard Fort

Visitor numbers have doubled at a historic fort in a year with thanks to its strong cohort of volunteers.

Landguard Fort, in Felixstowe, is continuing its revival which took a hit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2019 the fort was visited by more than 27,000 visitors, while a year later the number dropped to 6,000 as a result of Covid.

This year the total of people visiting the fort has risen to 14,000.

Landguard Felixstowe

Landguard Felixstowe - Credit: James Fletcher

The fort would not be able to function without the work of more than 40 volunteers who help out with the day-to-day running of the tearoom, gift shop, ticket office and welcome tent.

Nicola Barker, the general manager of the Landguard Fort Trust, said: “Our community and our organisation is purely full of volunteers willing to give their time and dedication in so many areas for the successful running of the Landguard Fort.

“The strength of the organisation is the energy of the volunteers.”

As Ms Barker admits, her job is to “understand everybody’s individual tick boxes”, discover why they want to volunteer and what tasks would suit participants the most.

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Volunteer roles include everything from general maintenance and housekeeping to event planning and organising tour guides.

English defenders on rampart overlooking Harwich

English defenders on rampart overlooking Harwich - Credit: Landguard Fort

Ms Barker added: “We’ve got such a lovely community. There’s so much empathy, love and understanding for each other."

The Landguard Fort in Felixstowe has been constantly looking for new volunteers to join the team. 

Anyone over the age of 18 can apply and join the “eclectic mix of colourful characters”.

The Landguard Fort general manager said: “My encouragement is to get all the volunteers to be able to be themselves and enjoy others company.

“We always look out for more volunteers, whatever their past and skill set is.”

It is a boost for the volunteer sector in the wake of a number of charities and voluntary groups across Suffolk facing a lack of volunteers due to the cost-of-living crisis

At the Felixstowe site, families can enjoy many attractions and discover the actual structure and vast history spanning over 400 years.

Inner parage ground

Inner grounds of the fort - Credit: Landguard Fort

This month, the fort has organised a Darell's Day celebration, an event resembling the Dutch invasion of England in 1667 and a summer holiday trail for children.