Volunteering for Kent Wildlife Trust

Helping hands in Kent

Helping hands in Kent - Credit: Archant

If you love nature and are passionate about Kent, here’s how you can get involved

As a charity responsible for the management of some 3,250 hectares of nature reserves, together with five visitor centres, Kent Wildlife Trust relies heavily on the help of volunteers to carry out a huge proportion of the work that we cover, on a day-to-day basis.

At the beginning of each year I calculate the number of hours freely given and in 2012 this did not disappoint, with some 12,900 volunteer days accumulated. I have yet to find out the final total for 2013, but without a doubt it’s been another busy year for both the Trust and for the county itself.

Some of the highs of the year for me included volunteer involvement at our sponsored Cross Country Horse Ride, at the County Show and at our Festival of Wildlife, held at the Sevenoaks Visitor Centre and reserve in August.

This weekend-long event attracted 3,500 visitors and 37 volunteers helped ensure its smooth running with a tally of more than 455 hours between them.

It has also been the year of the charter. Kent County Council (KCC) launched its Volunteering Charter on the back of the high impact generated in 2012 by the successful work of the Kent Greeters, the Olympic Games Makers and many others.

KCC acknowledges the enormous benefits which volunteering delivers throughout the county, greatly enhancing the quality of life for so many.

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Through this charter, it pledges to work with partners in all sectors to promote good practice, supporting a range of projects and their impact on the Kent community.

At the KCC conference Volunteering and Me, held last October at the River Centre in Tonbridge, a second charter called Kent Volunteer Voice was launched.

It is hoped that many people in Kent with time to give to good causes will come together to share their experiences. It will offer a chance to shape the future of volunteering in Kent by contributing to the decision-making process at a county level.

Anyone who is already volunteering for an organisation in Kent and would like to find out more about how to get involved, please contact Alex Krutnik alex@canterburyvolunteercentre.org or call 01227 452278 or Caroline.Reade @kent.gov.uk or 01622 221462.

There will also be a series of case studies showing the quite startling breadth of interesting and unexpected volunteering opportunities that exist throughout Kent disseminated across local media (print, online and radio) throughout 2014.

The face of volunteering is changing, with so much choice on offer across the county. Kent Wildlife Trust is exploring ways to embrace modern technology, to enable people who wouldn’t usually think about offering their services to consider helping from home, through virtual volunteering and ad hoc opportunities. We are moving with the times as an organisation, working to accommodate the demands of today’s world.

Volunteering doesn’t need to be an onerous commitment but one which can easily be slotted into your daily life. Just a few hours can make a big difference. It doesn’t need to be a strenuous activity.

In fact, tell me what time you can spare and I promise to suggest a way you can help. Let be a way of life – something you can do in a variety of ways as life dictates. n

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