Volunteering in the Countryside Sector in Scotland
The Scottish Countryside Rangers’ Association (SCRA) is a membership association run by and for Rangers in Scotland. We are the representative professional body for Countryside Rangers and associated professions in Scotland – and we are run by volunteers.
Volunteers are critical to the work that SCRA does, but more than that, volunteers are critical to the work of the sector. We are extremely fortunate in the Countryside Sector to be able to welcome the support of 1000’s of volunteers across the country – the quiet army that helps to manage and protect our heritage for years to come. I suspect that there is no other sector that attracts this level of support and commitment from all walks of life.
For those of us fortunate to be paid for our work, most have started their time volunteering – recent work done by SCRA suggests that 90% of Rangers in Scotland have volunteered prior to their first post, and most for more than 6 months. But it does not stop there! As one of those fortunate ones being paid, I can happily confirm that I still volunteer and probably on more projects than I did before I was paid! Either by putting in that bit extra and doing those extra 3 or 4 hours a week to get the job done, or by getting involved in community projects or conservation projects above and beyond – oh, and of course, being involved in SCRA!
So, when we are doing those 6 months voluntary work what are we doing? Well it could be anything and everything – litter collection, vegetation management, invasive species control, path management – the list is endless. Our Ranger Service works with many groups on regular and periodic bases, over the past few years we have seen almost 1000 extra man days contributed to our work each year by volunteers – that’s almost equivalent to 5 paid posts!!
Volunteering is obviously of massive benefit to the Countryside Sector and to those of us that work there. But it also gives the volunteer a great deal. The last few years have seen some interesting changes – we now see doctors in some areas referring patients to volunteer groups – the activity helps address health and fitness complaints, and in some areas, is used to relieve stress or other mental health issues, an ever increasing number of Duke of Edinburgh and John Muir Award students are seeking voluntary opportunities to help them gain an award, businesses organise team days for staff – building morale in their work place, but also ‘giving something back’ to the community, and of course, volunteers can use experience gained to improve their chances of employment and aid personal development.
But lets not forget the many hundreds that turn up come rain or shine, to work with those fortunate paid professionals, to volunteer their time for no particular reason other than they enjoy the experience. On behalf of SCRA, and of Rangers in Scotland – thank you.
For more information please see