Opportunities to Volunteer

We encourage individuals to support our activities through becoming a volunteer. Volunteers support the work of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in many ways. The main role of the volunteer is to increase the educational value, interest and enjoyment of a visit to the Garden. This includes explaining the vital role of plants in everyday life and the need to ensure better management of the world's resources.

At present volunteers operate within various areas of the Garden including Horticulture, Science Communication, Events, Herbarium and Library. Herbarium volunteers assist with the mounting and curation of specimens, and Library volunteers usually work in the Archives or Illustrations collections. All opportunities to volunteer will be fully advertised below when they arise.

Community Engagement Volunteers

The Edible Gardening Project at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a community focused project promoting growing and eating healthy food to members of the public. The project is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.


  • Help run a programme of drop in sessions where members of the public can learn practical techniques for growing harvesting and cooking food plants.
  • Assist with gardening and cooking sessions with local community groups (this may involve working with children and vulnerable adults).
  • Support local community gardening groups by visiting them and offering practical help and advice.
  • Guide tours of the edible garden and demonstration garden area for members of the public.
  • Help maintain the Edible gardening demonstration plots and polytunnel. This will include plant propagation, weeding, watering, harvesting etc.

Please note that while there is some garden maintenance involved in some roles, public engagement is the main volunteer activity.

Skills and qualities needed

Essential qualities for this role are:

  • An interest in gardening and growing food
  • A welcoming and friendly manner
  • Being open to learning and developing new skills
  • An interest in sharing their skills knowledge and experience with other people
  • Some horticultural knowledge is preferred


 We would like volunteers to commit to at least 6 months if possible. We are looking for help at the following times:

  • Monday 10am -3pm
  • Tuesday 10am -3pm

And then more flexible roles on weekends and for special events.

Application information

If you wish to make an application, please complete the attached volunteer application form and return this by email to volunteering@rbge.org.uk before the 22nd September 2014 indicating Edible gardening in the subject line.

Please indicate on the form what relevant skills you can offer in support your application. If you are successful in being given this volunteering opportunity you will be contacted directly by staff in the Edible Gardening team before mid-October 2014. If you have not heard from anyone by then, you must assume that your application has not been successful.

Information Assistants : Inverleith House

Inverleith House is seeking enthusiastic, motivated and welcoming Information Assistants to support the successful delivery of our forthcoming exhibitions.

Working as an essential part of a small, experienced team, you will be responsible for helping visitors to the gallery gain greater insight into the exhibitions as well as ensuring the safety of all artwork on display. You will receive full gallery training and will have the opportunity to meet each artist for a tour of their exhibitions in advance of them opening. You will work closely with Inverleith House staff, allowing you to confidently interpret the work of the artists and convey the gallery’s passion for contemporary art in an intelligent and meaningful way.

In return for your assistance, the gallery will provide you with essential work experience in the arts, share with you our knowledge and understanding of exhibitions and audiences, and help you to develop your professional skills. You will also be given access to a unique archive and library.

We would like you to have excellent communication skills and a love of contemporary art and would ask that you are prepared to work for at least one day per week for the duration of each exhibition.

Whilst all invigilation posts are unpaid, the experience provides a unique insight into the thinking, programming, and running of one of today’s leading small galleries. Part of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Inverleith House is also known for its commitment to improving our appreciation and understanding of the natural world through related exhibitions of contemporary art and botanical science.

Opening hours: 10am to 5.30pm, Tuesday to Sunday

To apply, please send a CV and covering letter to Chloe Reith, Exhibitions Officer. Email c.reith@rbge.ac.uk


Schools placements are co-ordinated through Career Development Edinburgh and Lothians.

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Bill Jeffrey and Maureen Brazier, volunteers at Dawyck Botanic Garden, taking a well-earned break from weeding the Nepalese area.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)