Who is it benefiting? How do I get into it? Where do I start? What will I learn?
Volunteering isn’t just the act of giving up individual time and labour to better the community. It is so much more than that. Despite the turbulent year 2020 was, we have had the most incredible help from so many volunteers. They’ve helped us plant over 1000 trees, pulled pollution from our rivers, restored pathways and hedges, taken part in some training events such as first aid and so much more.
Buzz words that you often hear whizzing around the volunteering sphere are things like helping the environment, having fun, helping others, making friends and developing new skills. These are so important. But it is a way of improving your mental health, physical health, reducing loneliness and giving back to the world that has done so much for us all. The Rivers Trust described volunteering as a ‘nature-based prescription’. While breaking a sweat and making a difference to the environment, you’re healing your mind. You’re stepping out your comfort zone in all weathers, making connections with others. Let’s face it, we all need some human contact every now and then.
Below is a couple of videos from our existing volunteers. In the week we shot these, they were laying a hedge at a site in Gargrave using billhooks, saws and other tools.
The beautiful thing about joining in on voluntary work is that you meet people who perhaps normally you wouldn’t get too. Share your stories and learn from one another. As a university student, I found myself surrounded by like-minded students wrapped up in a bubble of what meal deal am I going to buy myself today for the library. Or stressed about upcoming assignments and exams. But by taking part in the various activities, I have met fabulous people, learnt so many new things and am now a qualified first aider. Who would have thought I’d be able to help pull over 45 tyres out the river Aire? I didn’t that’s for sure!