Job opportunities

Individual Giving, Marketing & Communications Coordinator – could you increase our income and diversify our audiences? Please see Advert and Job Description and apply by 29 September 2021.

Volunteering opportunities

Chair of Trustees (voluntary) – please see the SLBI Chair Appointment Pack 2021 for full details and apply by 15 September 2021. To find out more about our accounts, trustees, policies and new Business Plan, please see About Us.

Whilst we usually have many opportunities for volunteers to get involved – at our events, in the office, with school visits, or with work in the library and herbarium (as below) – during these times of Covid-19 we are not currently engaged in very much on-site work.   We will be very glad to welcome you once we are fully functioning, and are likely to need more help welcoming visitors and also helping with school visits. 

If appropriate, please fill in and return our Volunteer Application Form. In most cases enthusiasm and commitment are more important than experience!

Volunteers are generally needed when we are open to the public (Thursdays, some weekends and for other special events), or when we have school visits or school holiday activities (Tuesdays, Wednesdays & some Saturdays).

Please also see our SLBI Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions regarding how we use your personal data.

Open days and events

The Institute runs a busy programme of events throughout the year, all of which depend on the help of volunteers. Opportunities for involvement range from manning a stand at a show to giving horticultural advice at the annual plant sale, helping run our tea and cake stall, and handing out information leaflets about the Institute.  See Events for upcoming activities where we will need help!

We also need help on Thursdays showing people around the Institute, taking them out to the garden, making tea, selling cards and plants etc – as well as helping with any special events going on.


We run a range of programmes for our school visits, mainly primary level. These sessions take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. We also run family activities during most school holidays, when help is needed. See School Visits for more information. For volunteering details please see Education volunteer role description.


Volunteers assist in maintenance tasks such as tidying up herbarium sheets and the weekly task of freezing specimens to prevent insect infestation and damage. The historic nature of the herbarium and its arrangement provides additional interest when incorporating recently donated specimens and naturalised alien species. See Herbarium for more information.


Volunteers assist in a variety of tasks, including arranging subject sections and updating our catalogue to reflect changing interests and new acquisitions. See Library for more information. Volunteers come in on Thursdays when some of them also take the lead in welcoming visitors and showing them around.


The garden provides opportunities for volunteers to be involved in the care of many rare and unusual plants. Tasks tend to focus on the practical maintenance – sweeping, pruning etc and some propagation. All plants are labelled and most volunteers widen their knowledge through working with species new to them. Volunteers also help set up open days and welcome visitors to the garden. See Garden for more information.


It might not sound very glamorous but the help we get here is hugely appreciated! Volunteers help with publicising our events, developing materials, administering course bookings etc. Great work experience and a chance to learn about the other areas of the Institute too.