Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000


Aston Manor Road Transport Museum, an independent museum run exclusively by volunteers, celebrates the history of road transport in the West Midlands. Towns and cities around the West Midlands were built and designed around the road network and through its collection of 45 commercial vehicles - lorries and trucks, buses and coaches, a 1900's tram, and private cars - the Museum showcases the history of transport in the region.

With a huge archive collection of paper records, photographs, timetables, marketing literature as well as a host of objects such as street furniture and signage, the Museum’s volunteers reflect the changes in modes of travel and the influence that road transport has had on the development of the region.

We are open to the public three days per week and welcome both individual visitors as well as group visits where our team of knowledgeable volunteers escort visitors around the collections. This allows people to ask questions, but also for the volunteers to share their often comprehensive knowledge about vehicle manufacture and design, engineering processes and transport related facts and figures. Volunteers also attend events, often driving examples from the collections to them, so that people can board a historic bus and share stories of their own journeys.

Our project, ‘Reinventing Retirement’, will run for 12 months and will create a new volunteer programme for older men who have gone through a significant life change e.g. retirement, the loss of a wife or friend that has an impact on their mental health and well-being. Changes at this life stage can has a serious impact - it can result in loneliness, a loss of purpose or sense of self-worth.

We are requesting £4,995 to run the programme to recruit, train and place up to 15 male volunteers. We will spend the money on:
 devising the programme;
 marketing the volunteer opportunities;
 recruiting the new volunteers;
 running five training sessions – Public Speaking Skills; Bringing the Collections to Life; Effective Story-Telling; Creating Drama through using Collection Objects; and, Tips to Keep Audiences Interested;
 meeting volunteer expenses;
 supporting them once in place for the first six months.

The project will help our local community by:
 providing a space where older men can spend time in the company of others, helping the Museum look after its fleet of historic vehicles
 delivering a renewed sense of purpose for older men
 helping older men learn new skills
 increasing older men’s wider community engagement
 bringing to life the historic vehicles by sharing stories and memories
 improving visitors’ enjoyment whilst visiting.

At the Museum, we aim to create a space that people can visit every week or every day to find inspiring and ever-changing educational and fun activities. We want our volunteers to be enthusiasts of transport, engineering and local history using their skills and knowledge to explore the collection, to build their own knowledge and share this with visitors.

Through our Museum’s historical collections, we explore themes that are relevant and modern to today’s world: the role of transport in the region; the challenges of sharing the road space; congestion; pollution and ways to deal with this; environmental responses to transport; and how people use transport today and in the past.

In doing this, we aim to become a catalyst for the promotion of engineering and technology in the West Midlands in a fun, interesting and informative way.

Project Video

Aston Manor Road Transport Museum Limited

I am proud that the Museum celebrates the role, contribution, knowledge and skills of older people, especially men, as many of those involved spent their working lives in engineering or related jobs and have lots to offer, especially to the next generation helping keep these skills alive.

Location: Aldridge