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Its not just about getting muddy at the RSPB

Logo: RSPB

With 12,000 regular volunteers from all walks of life, RSPB volunteers give a gift of time of over 900,000 hours annually. As well as plenty of outdoor and practical volunteering roles including reserve work parties or the very popular Residential Volunteering scheme, there are hundreds of different ways that you can get involved with our work and you don’t have to be an RSPB member or a bird expert to donate your time and talents.

Volunteers at RSPB HQ office (Katy Hillman)
Volunteers at RSPB HQ office (Katy Hillman)

We look for all sorts of volunteers with diverse skills including graphic designers, media gurus, finance experts, fundraisers, web designers, drivers, electricians and many more. The list is as amazing and varied as the volunteers who give us their considerable skills to help us save nature. Here is what some of our volunteers had to say:

Greeting visitors (Andy Hay rspb-images.com)
Greeting visitors (Andy Hay rspb-images.com)

Chas Leslie, a former Training Consultant, volunteers with our Learning and Development team and has been running workshops for staff to attend; "It seems remote from maintaining reed beds and woodland, but by training and developing the RSPB's managers, they are better able to do their jobs — promoting and protecting habitats for birds and other wildlife. It's really just making the best use of my experience and expertise to make a difference. That's all any volunteer wants really — to know they are making a difference."

Sharyn Hailer volunteers at our Wales Headquarters in Cardiff, where she assists with the management of their volunteer database; “Most of all, I enjoy the feeling that I am helping to make someone else’s workload that little bit lighter with every task I can accomplish – whether it’s database management or muddy boots, it’s all in support of a great organisation with a worthwhile cause of saving our wonderful wildlie.”

Colin Hawkins runs the popular RSPB second-hand binocular scheme. He agrees and adds that there is so much variety in what you can do; “It’s completely different from my day job: I can switch off and do something at the other end of the scale.”

And it’s not just in the office. Many volunteer roles are out and about and can involve dealing with people rather than birds. Sophie King has been volunteering as a Visitor Experience Intern at Leighton Moss; “Within no time I was writing press releases and getting creative on the reserves social media sites alongside being let loose on the reserve’s blogs. I was also helping out with school visits, from Nature Tots to university groups. Some days you would find me in the visitor centre and others I was off to the Lake District to work at events like Keswick mountain festival where I got the chance to enthuse members of the public about nature and recruiting members to support the RSPB’s work.”

Whether it's face painting, greeting visitors, media work, learning and development or office admin we have volunteering roles that can be tailored to people’s individual skills, interests and circumstances. You can meet new people, learn new skills, improve your CV, see and help fantastic wildlife, get fit, or even work towards a career in conservation. Whatever you decide to do, you will be helping us to save nature.

To find out more about volunteering for the RSPB visit: rspb.org.uk/joinandhelp/volunteering/

First published in CJS Focus on Volunteering in association with Groundwork on 19 September 2016

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