Volunteering for Wellbeing

Volunteering for Wellbeing

Volunteering with Kent Wildlife Trust

The Wildlife Trusts have published ‘Volunteering: A Natural Health Service’ a report examining the effects of volunteering on mental health.

The news from this is so positive with 95% of those surveyed identified as having poor levels of mental health at the start of volunteering, reporting positive improvements to their mental health within just 6 weeks of volunteering.

This is something we’ve seen at Kent Wildlife Trust for some time and many of our wonderful volunteers tell us about the impact that spending time with our teams and at our sites make on their wellbeing. Through the surveys we conduct each year, we know that 88% of our volunteers feel that their health and wellbeing has improved since they started volunteering with us and 98% have told us that they feel they have personally benefited from volunteering.

In our 2017 survey, one of our Practical Conservation Volunteers told us “volunteering is the best thing I’ve ever done”.

With more people being time-poor these days, we know that fitting in volunteering can be difficult, but making time to get outside and make a difference is so important for everyone’s mental health, and our volunteers shared this with us: “While I work full time, helping out on Sunday tasks over the winter and doing butterfly transects over the rest of the year, is an excellent antidote to the stresses and strains of my regular job.”

With over 1,000 volunteers working with us in a variety of ways, including on our Reserves, in our Visitor Centres, working along our coastline and checking our livestock we know that volunteering can help to improve the lives of those who carry out activities with us, and one of our volunteers shared with us that “Volunteering with the Trust helped me get my confidence back”.

We’re always looking for new volunteers to join our teams, and offer the opportunity to learn new skills, meet like-minded people, make a difference for wildlife and spending time outside.

It’s easy in our day jobs to get stuck indoors and behind a computer, and many employers are now encouraging their teams to spend time, outdoors giving their time to organisations like ours. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review demonstrated the impact that being outside can have on employees, stating that “exposure to natural environments dramatically improves our ability to think expansively and make superior decisions”. We’re very fortunate to be joined by corporate groups from across the county who spend a day helping on our reserves and have opportunities available across Kent and you can find out more about how your team can get involved on our website.