Volunteers’ Week (1 -7 June) is a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. Keeley Atkinson, Volunteer Co-Ordinator at Kent Wildlife Trust, tells us about their 1100 volunteers, carrying out a multitude of tasks around the county, her recent experience of some impressive green action and how you can get involved.
A few weeks ago, on a warm Thursday, I spent what felt like hours staring at a computer screen trying to work out how to create a survey; you know, the type the website says couldn’t be easier! This survey was not aimed at recruiting new staff or even new volunteers, but additional help from the amazing people who already volunteer for Kent Wildlife Trust. This was a very specific plea to help restore a site to its full potential for wildlife. I hit the send button and off it went to all those unsuspecting volunteers whose time I wanted to steal again.
I arrived at work the following day to continue my battle with modern technology only to find that my inbox was overflowing. As I clicked on the first email, I realised the survey company had emailed me to tell me that someone had completed the survey (my heart swells at this point) and would like to help; very nice! However, I started opening the others and was filled with a warm fuzzy feeling, as I realised that they were all from volunteers responding to the same plea!
We had such an amazing response that we were able to carry out three days of work on the site which was a fantastic achievement and a great example of volunteer power. We are now really positive that within a few years the site will be home again to an abundance of wildlife.
I have been working with volunteers for more years than I care to remember, and it never ceases to amaze me what this wonderful breed of people will do in order to help those causes close to their hearts. You would think, given the current state of the world, that there would be an abundance of money available to charities like us to put right the years of wrongs inflicted on our poor planet. Alas this is not the case and Kent Wildlife Trust relies heavily on the good will and passion of the people of Kent to help us achieve our goal for a Wilder Kent.
If you would like to join this band of volunteers, there is a wide variety of tasks that need doing across the county every week and the opportunity to volunteer the amount of time that suits you. From practical conservation work which is harder than any gym session (we are Nature’s Gym) to ecology surveys and working at our Visitor Centres, we have over 40 different volunteering roles and we are adding to these all the time.
So, to answer my own question, “What would we do without you?” I think that we can safely say we would be up the creek without a paddle!
Find out more about our Kent Wildlife Trust volunteering opportunities.
There are also plenty of volunteering events run by a wide range of organisation on our Kent Year of Green Action events pages.