THE dedicated volunteers who work to maintain a miniature village in the Lake District are looking for people to take up the mantle.

A series of workshops is being held throughout August inviting participants to spruce up the model town behind the Ruskin Museum in Coniston.

Karen Guthrie, of Grizedale Arts, based at Lawson Park, is running the sessions and invited members of the public to attend.

“Come along and join in because it’s a very precious piece of folk art.

“That’s how I see it - as a piece of folk art that Coniston is lucky enough to have been given.”

Participants will be able to learn restoration skills, mend dislodged stonework, re-paint windows and doors and tidy up the landscape. There is also the hope that someone might be inspired to take the baton on from Don Shepherd, Maureen Fleming and Podge Fleming, who knew the village’s creator John Usher and have worked to maintain it since the 1990s.

Miss Fleming, 76, said that it was now difficult for her to get down on to her knees to paint the buildings.

She added: “There’s still a lot of people in the village who knew John.

“There’s quite a few of his relatives around. They wouldn’t want them [the model buildings] to just disintegrate.”

Ms Guthrie added that it would not take a huge amount of work to maintain the village. She said the work that was being done in the August workshops would help preserve the structures for the foreseeable future, so it would mainly just need someone to trim the weeds and shrubs in the summer.

“If we could have a little ‘friends of the model village’ group, that would be enough,” she said.

The village itself dates back decades. Creator John Usher’s childhood hobby of decorating troughs and garden planters with pebbles and bits of slate gradually developed into making model buildings inspired by local vernacular examples.

The model village, named Riverside, spawned in the grounds of his home - Brow Close - in Coniston.

Following Mr Usher’s death in 1993, many of the buildings were stored by the National Trust. A space was then made for them at the redeveloped Ruskin Museum, opened in 1999.

The remaining free-to-attend workshops are taking place on August 17 and 31 at the miniature village from 2pm - 5pm. All materials and tools are provided, and no prior experience is necessary.