There's a multitude of promises you may still be making right now whilst the year is still young… get fitter, learn something new, do more for others or, just as importantly, for yourself. If you’re wanting to make 2018 a year of change in any way, local conservation charity Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is urging people to consider volunteering.
The benefits of volunteering are well documented - a recent study carried out by the University of Essex on behalf of The Wildlife Trusts examined the effects of volunteering in nature on people's mental health. Findings published last year linked such volunteering to an improvement in mental wellbeing in more than two-thirds (69%) of all participants after just 6 weeks.
From 16 years +, wherever you live, whatever your talent or interest, however much time you can give, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust wants you to get in touch and, if you can, to take part in one of the upcoming open days to help you decide if volunteering is for you.
Spurn Open Day
Opportunities at Spurn range from livestock checkers to lighthouse volunteers.
“Don't worry if you're unsure of how much time you have, or can only help out occasionally,” said Marie Fooks, Volunteering Development Officer for East and North Yorkshire. “There's so many opportunities to volunteer – both indoors and outdoors. You may choose to indulge an old interest, do something completely different or unlock a hidden talent!”
Rob Young is a former primary school teacher and recent volunteer for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust based at Spurn.
“My motivation was to carve a new career which satisfied my love for the great outdoors,” he explained. “Becoming a volunteer enabled me to gain the practical experience I needed to seek employment in the conservation sector. What I perhaps didn’t expect was the enormous personal satisfaction I would draw from the experience. I’ve had the chance to do an amazingly eclectic mix of activities alongside a really supportive team.
“The value of volunteering is that it highlights how we all have something to contribute to a team or community. It’s been one of my best ever decisions. Just do it – whatever your background, whatever age – I am in that 50+ year age bracket. I’ve been revitalised and it shows it’s not too late to change career – I am now a member of staff at Spurn and still loving it!”
Booking on the Spurn volunteer open day is essential, click here reserve your place before Friday 2 February.
Stirley Community Farm Open Day
Stirley Community Farm is similarly opening its doors on Sunday for a free, volunteering drop-in day to showcase opportunities at the Trust, in the hope of engaging more people with nature and the work of the charity.
Debby Plummer,68, is an Inspiring People volunteer at Stirley Community Farm. She is an ex-vicar who wanted to use her people skills and share her passion for the natural world. In her role as Inspiring People volunteer she leads school sessions, assists with family events and spent the Summer Food Festival busy face painting! Her volunteering means that hundreds of children and local people can engage with nature and farming in the Huddersfield area.
Debby said: ““I love volunteering at Stirley Farm! Being outdoors is part of it but then there’s all the networking with like-minded people too. Sharing my lifelong love of nature and passion for growing and eating good food is wonderful. Introducing the children to the cows and seeing them take it all in, that’s one of the best bits, and in such stunning scenery too! There are such a variety of roles on offer and you feel like you are really making a difference to people and wildlife in the area.”
Jennifer Few, Volunteering Development Officer for South and West Yorkshire said: “Whatever volunteer role you choose to do, you'll have the chance to make great friends and create wonderful memories.”
Click here for more information about the Stirley Farm volunteering drop-in day.