Bedesman Volunteer

Durham City

To support the important and long Benedictine tradition of welcoming everyone to the Cathedral. Being visible and available to engage, inform and assist visitors. To support the smooth operation and security of the building, its services and activities.

As a key part of the front of house team of staff and volunteers you will be expected to play a proactive and dynamic role in ensuring that Durham Cathedral builds and maintains a reputation as one of the most welcoming and best loved attractions in the region and beyond.


• Tidying books and candle-stands.
• Participation in services.
• Assisting the Vergers as required.
• Ensuring a consistent welcome, actively engaging with visitors when appropriate to inform and delight.
• To be an ambassador for the Cathedral.
• Deal with visitor requests for assistance and information.
• Help to promote awareness of the visitor offer in terms of activities and events.
• Discreetly and tactfully advise visitors who are in breach of Cathedral policies.
• Help staff to maintain an overview of the safety and well-being of visitors and the building, including following procedures in,
e.g. health and safety, safeguarding and security.
• Assisting with the safe and efficient flow of visitors.

Skills & Qualities

• A pleasant, polite, calm and welcoming manner, especially with members of the public.
• Knowledge of Church of England liturgy.
• Respect and sensitivity towards all religions, beliefs, cultures and backgrounds and an empathy with the mission and values of
the Cathedral.
• Articulate with excellent communication skills.
• Discreet and observant of visitor behaviour.
• The ability to deal with crowds.
• Able to work in a team.
• Reliable, conscientious and a good time keeper.
• Flexible and adaptable.
• Able to deal with difficult situations efficiently and with tact and diplomacy.
• Good mobility and stamina as volunteers will be required to stand, sit, walk as well as negotiate steps and uneven surfaces.
• Willingness to learn about the Cathedral past, present and future, extending your knowledge for visitors’ queries and to
proactively support a visitor’s experience.

When & Where?

The Cathedral is open Monday – Sunday.
Flexible shift patterns.

The Cathedral and its associated buildings.

Training and Support Offered/Expenses

• Induction.
• Shadowing existing Bedesmen.
• Training will be given in Liturgical duties, customer service, health and safety and other areas as becomes necessary.
• 0191National Church of England Safeguarding training (mandatory): The Basic Awareness module (done once) and Foundation module (refreshed every three years) of this online safeguarding course must be completed before you start your volunteer role. They can be accessed at and a copies of your certificates are required as part of your induction. If you would like support with online access or you have been affected by any of the content, please just let us know as help is available.

• Verging Team including Head Verger.
• Volunteers Manager and Volunteer Administrator.

Volunteers and staff work proactively together to create a dynamic front of house team.

Durham Cathedral has been awarded the County Durham Kite Mark in volunteering (administered by Durham Community Action) which shows that it recognises the value of recruiting and retaining volunteers, works to overcome barriers to volunteering and is a place where volunteers receive a high quality, positive experience.

Unfortunately we are unable to offer expenses.

Volunteer Benefits

• Playing an important role in helping to facilitate the Cathedral’s welcome and make visitors’ experience as positive as possible.
• To be part of living history, continuing the medieval tradition of bedeing, thought to have originated in Durham in the 14th
• Meeting a wide range of people from all over the world.
• Being part of a passionate and dedicated team.
• Experience in a visitor focused role.
• References available on request.
• Being part of some of the key events in the Cathedral’s liturgical calendar and involvement in the important life and history of
Durham’s most iconic building.
• Opportunity to join the Cathedral’s Community Roll.
• Cloister Card offering 10% discount in the Cathedral Shop and Undercroft Restaurant (conditions apply).
• Refreshments.
• The opportunity to access other volunteering roles and training within the Cathedral.

Other Information

Recruitment is through an application form with references, interview, induction and introductory period.

Due to severely limited space we are sorry but there is no parking available to volunteers in the Cathedral grounds unless agreed in advance.

Durham Cathedral takes the safeguarding and welfare of its staff, clergy, volunteers and visitors extremely seriously and will take immediate action in any circumstance where the safety and protection of children and vulnerable adults is at stake. It is expected that all staff and volunteers share this commitment.

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Durham Cathedral More information
Hours: The Cathedral Office is open 09:00 - 16:30 Type: Museums/Heritage, Reception/Customer Services, Faith/Religion
Recognition of Quality Volunteer Experience

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