Why volunteer?

Volunteering in the environmental field is very rewarding and enriching. You’ll learn new skills and knowledge without the pressure of a work setting. SWLEN, and around 100 environmental groups we support, could not function without volunteers. Many of these groups are ‘friends of parks’ or ‘environmental conservation’ groups and volunteering with them means spending time outdoors in the wonderful setting of the parks, green spaces and river corridors of leafy south west London. Other activities are indoors, where administration and IT skills can be learnt and developed.

How to become a volunteer

Decide on your interests. Would you like to learn a specific skill? Would you prefer to be in an office or be outside building a fence? If you want to volunteer in a particular location look for a group in that neighbourhood on our Groups Database, Map of Groups or posters in your community.

Contact the group. Ask about their volunteering opportunities, training and the support they can offer you. Be realistic about the amount of time you can offer.

Consider starting with a one-off opportunity selected from our What’s On guide.

Most importantly, have fun meeting people and doing new things!

Types of volunteer work

  • Informal volunteer – usually this is for a one-off task or event, where training is provided. It includes volunteering with ‘friends of parks’ or ‘environmental conservation’ groups helping to maintain important spaces for people and wildlife. You could be building pathways, planting trees or hedges or making stag beetle loggeries, all supervised by trained leaders. Other volunteering activities could involve attending meetings and events indoors, such as planning sessions, talks etc. For current informal volunteer opportunities see our What’s On.
  • Formal volunteer – take an on-going and specific role within an organisation such as a trustee/committee member, finance, website administrator or newsletter author. Roles are listed on our Local Volunteer Opportunities page and we also occasionally advertise on Do-It.
  • Internships – interns are volunteers who join an organisation to work on a specific project over a specified length of time. At SWLEN we offer a variety of roles to suit our needs and your interests. We have a successful track record with interns from local universities. Please contact Colin if you are interested in interning with SWLEN.

Current opportunities

Biodiversity Volunteer

This volunteer role is for someone who is interested and passionate about supporting our natural environment and biodiversity and you have a connection to South West London. Would you like to help support the Richmond Biodiversity Partnership in its aims and work? Would you like to help us support other volunteers and community groups who work to protect and improve places for nature?


  • Helping our charity run the Richmond Biodiversity Partnership http://swlen.org.uk/our-work/biodiversity/  (this meets quarterly in the evenings, we need helps with minutes and general organising.
  • Organising an event to launch the revised Richmond (upon Thames) Biodiversity Action Plan.
  • Leading on updating and writing Species Action Plans (SAPs) for; song thrushes, house sparrows and swifts.
  • Collating ecological data records sent into the charity and building a map of this data.

For further information, please download this role description Biodiversity Volunteer Role September 2017.


Roles with local groups

The following volunteer opportunities are all with local environmental groups and charities. To apply, please contact the organisation directly.


Let’s Go Outside and Learn

Do you love being outside and do you like to meet new people?
If you are able to commit 3 hours a week and are 18+ years, we are looking for volunteer Nature Buddies to work with us to inspire local people to use their parks. You will help them to discover the amazing green spaces on their doorsteps and make new friends.

If you’re interested we’d love to hear from you.
Contact outdoor.learning@outlook.com  Visit: www.lgoal.org

Call Frances 020 8401 6837 or Mairi 07939001731