In 2015/16 27% of people volunteered at least once a month 27% and 41% at least once a year*. 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 120 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, IT and governance skills can be learnt and developed.
*NCVO UK Civil Society Almanac 2017
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
- Ad-hoc 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 undertaking activities ‘on the ground’ 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 below 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 Cooper if you are interested in interning with SWLEN.
Current opportunities with local groups
Let’s Go Outside and Learn
Nature Buddies: 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 inspire local people to use their parks. You will help them to discover the amazing green spaces on their doorsteps and make new friends.
Specialist Advisors: volunteer specialist advisors are needed to guide the direction of the organisation and ensure its vision and values to promote access to outdoor environments for all are fulfilled.
There are also opportunities for freelance teachers to support our Environment Clubs
Call Frances 020 8401 6837 or Mairi 07939001731
Friends of Radnor Gardens (Twickenham)
The Friends are looking for a Secretary for their Committee. The volunteer role includes; preparing for meetings, compiling agendas and taking the minutes, liaising with other organisations, Annual Return to the Charity Commission. Voluntary Role Description
South West London Environment Network
SWLEN Trustee: To be a great charity we need great people with passion, skills, experience and enthusiasm. We are looking to recruit new trustees to complement our existing board of trustees to govern our dynamic charity. We are also looking for non-executive directors for our trading arm, which generates income from the skills and experience of the charity’s staff with surpluses donated to the charity.
What are we looking for?
Following a board skills audit we are seeking local people with one or more of the following skills/experience:
Biological Recorder (volunteer)
Our charity is responsible for collecting and collating biological data in the London Boroughs of Hounslow and Richmond upon Thames and submitting these to the regional biological records centre. Both Hounslow and Richmond upon Thames Boroughs have an amazing array of parks, green spaces, riverside frontage (Richmond is the only Borough that sits on both sides of the Thames) and habitats. Hounslow Borough has two SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) and 10 Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) and 47 Sites Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). Richmond Borough has three SSSIs, six LNRs and 53 SINCs. Both boroughs are populated with an incredible diversity of species.
Through one of our social media channels and email newsletters we engage with circa 5,000 local people. We ask people to submit photos and sightings of species that are of interest to us. We are looking for help with this, from collecting and collating it, recording it, using the data to create maps of species distribution, as well as submitting the information to regional ecological records centre, GIGL.
The post holder
We are looking for a long term volunteer who could volunteer one day a week on either a Monday, Tuesday or Friday and one evening a quarter to attend the Richmond Biodiversity Partnership meetings. The post holder would need to feel comfortable using spreadsheets and social media. We have existing accounts on these social media channels so you wouldn’t need to use your own accounts, or even have accounts on social media.
The existing biological team consist of two volunteers and small percentage of the Chief Exec’s time (he chairs the Richmond Biodiversity Partnership).
Please contact Colin Cooper for a chat about the role or to submit you CV and short letter/email outlining your interest and suitability for the role by 9am 4th April 2018.