Enthusiasts of Scotland’s national poet Rabbie Burns are being called upon to help a new charity in its quest to reopen one of Scotland’s most important Burns sites to the public.

Volunteers will be offered the chance to learn more about their favourite poet, whilst supporting Ellisland Farm, Robert Burns’ family home near Dumfries.

The Robert Burns Ellisland Trust was formed in April to conserve and promote the poet’s home at Auldgirth on the banks of the Nith.

Now, the charity is looking for motivated, friendly and energetic people with a passion for Burns in its drive to recruit new volunteers.

There are a number of volunteering opportunities available, including front of house (interacting with public, leading tours); gardening, care and maintenance; curatorial (cataloguing archive, data entry, administration) - and together they will help the crucial cultural site reopen to the public, maintain the grounds and promote the Ellisland offering to the local, national and international community.

All volunteers will receive a full induction to Ellisland and training in the history of the site, where Burns wrote masterpieces such as Tam o’ Shanter and Auld Lang Syne, and in return for their work, they will be able to work with international experts on Robert Burns and learn more about his life.

The project has been led by Volunteer Co-ordinator and Project officer Tuesday McPhail, who started her role in September.

She said: “Volunteers have long been the lifeblood of Ellisland - from the welcoming faces telling stories of the Bard’s time here to the dedicated gardening and maintenance team who have been keeping the grounds neat and tidy during the summer.

“We are seeking to build on what’s been achieved and welcome new volunteers to help the Trust drive the development of the site and create a well-rounded offering to the public.”

The Robert Burns Ellisland Trust says it is “committed to conserving and promoting Ellisland Farm at Auldgirth in Dumfries & Galloway as one of the most significant locations in the life of Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet.”

But the charity warned in June that it would close for good without urgent funds to help maintain the site.

The Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, which took over from the former Ellisland Trust in April, discovered all the former charity’s reserves were spent and it had a large annual deficit.

Nonetheless, the Trust has ambitions to increase understanding of Ellisland as central to Burns’ artistic development and enhance awareness of its environmental importance as “the best place to see the natural world through the poet’s eyes.”

Robert Burns, who took up the lease of Ellisland farm in 1788, described it as “the poet’s choice” of three farms offered by his Edinburgh acquaintance Patrick Miller, who became his landlord. 

It was here that Burns would find inspiration for some of his best-loved work.

The Robert Burns Ellisland Trust has now taken on the responsibility of managing the house and farm as a museum, supported by volunteers.

You can donate to their JustGiving page here.