Volunteers week - a thank you!

Volunteers’ Week is a chance to say thank you for the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering.

Our volunteers make a fantastic contribution to Kent’s wildlife and wild places – quite simply, we wouldn’t be the same without the 1000 people giving their time, skill and energy to help us care for reserves, helping young people engage with wildlife, or helping visitors – they work with us to create a wilder Kent.

Evan Bowen-Jones, chief executive of Kent Wildlife Trust said;

“This Volunteer Week, I want to say what a massive honour it is to have so many dedicated people working with us as volunteers to deliver a Wilder Kent. Without this extended team of colleagues we wouldn't be able to achieve the conservation impact we do across the county. From the trustees that ensure our governance through to experts providing free advice on building projects to work parties on our reserves we're all part of "Team Wilder" doing more for Kent's wildlife by working together. Thank you."

People volunteer for a whole heap of different reasons – to give something back, for work experience, to share skills and be with like-minded people. It’s been a tough year for everyone without our volunteers while our programme had to shut down during the pandemic. 

We know that being in nature has mental as well as physical benefits – 90% of our volunteers told us that their health and wellbeing has improved wince they joined us. Many of our volunteers who joined us for the experience have also gone onto secure environmental jobs and we are delighted to help set them off on a rewarding career and we couldn’t be prouder of them.

So we’re delighted to be back up and running again! Our volunteer task force was set up to improve the volunteering experience – to improve communication and provide honest and constructive feedback on the overall volunteer process.  We are looking at more exciting, diverse and rewarding opportunities than ever before, using your feedback and suggestions and we will share these on our volunteering page as we open back up again. 

For more advice or to talk to us about volunteering, please get in touch volunteering@kentwildlife.org.uk

Down To Earth, is a project based across Romney Marsh, set up to improve the well-being of women through being active and a nature champion. With thanks to funding from Sports England and players of the National Lottery. This is what some of our volunteers told us;

“I enjoy this project so much and can not wait to get back to the group face to face. I feel the project has given me confidence to do things I would have never have attempted before. I am really enjoying my learning journey and have been given fantastic opportunities to train and to use this training in practical situations

“This group is allowing children and parents to come together socially in a secure environment. Allowing all those involved to develop new skills and build upon those they already have”.

“I feel the Project has enabled me to give something back and support the community around me, especially for women in similar positions to me. It has also been an opportunity to show/teach fellow women how to use, appreciate and enjoy being outside and take exercise whilst making it fun and enjoyable for everyone - which has been invaluable to so many during the recent lockdowns.

“Since Covid started the demand for outdoor groups has soared and being able to facilitate and promote that has been of such an advantage to us. I have learnt so much whilst volunteering with the Project including forest school skills, socialising and interacting with my peers as well as how important it is to support and listen to everyone. Being outside and being with my peers has really boosted my self esteem, confidence as well as been a form of therapy.“

“My children aren’t afraid to go and explore now and it has shown how confident they are becoming and often return to ask me different questions like “why do leaves fall of some trees and not others?” I wouldn’t have known this answer without having been to group and has shown how much I have also grown

“Friendships have been made and bonds within the group formed too. Down to earth has been a great outlet to volunteer with, even during lockdown with trying to reach families using virtual tools to help us all stay connected with nature from our own homes. Being a volunteer for down to earth has been incredible and taught me many skills that I will pass onto my own.”