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Woodland Trust recognised for its work with volunteers

From wildlife whizzes to willing writers, public speakers to plucky photographers - the Woodland Trust has been recognised for the opportunities it gives to volunteers.

The charity has been awarded the Investing in Volunteers* Quality Standard after being assessed against a range of best practice standards and having proved to excel in the areas of recruitment, safety standards, management, support, recognition and value.

The charity has 3,226 roles for volunteers who undertake invaluable work for trees and woods and nature across the UK. Without them its fight to protect and create woodlands would not be as strong.

Paul Taylor, national volunteering manager at the Woodland Trust said:

“We appreciate every volunteer that gives their time freely. They’re the lifeblood of the organisation. Every volunteer adds value to our organisation and helps us to achieve our goals. We have 3,226 volunteer roles which account for 174,000 hours of work, which is worth £1.7m annually.

“The scope of volunteering opportunities is broad; from office based roles such as researchers to trustees, to practical outdoor roles such as woodland working groups and tree health surveyors who highlight instances of tree disease - something that has been especially important in recent years with so many cases of ash dieback.

Young farmer volunteers at Penn Wood (Photo: Natalia Szcyzgielska / WTML)
Young farmer volunteers at Penn Wood (Photo: Natalia Szcyzgielska / WTML)

The recent launch of the Young People’s Forest at Mead - the site of the former Lodge House opencast colliery - near Heanor, Derbyshire saw 135 young volunteers taking part in a host of activities including planting the first ceremonial trees. The Trust will be looking to recruit young people into roles in early 2020.

Volunteers also played a crucial role in helping the charity as it fought devastating wild fires which swept across its Smithills site in Bolton last year. They were able to assist in many ways from watching for breakouts of fire to helping the land regenerate afterwards.

John Revill, warden and guided walk leader at Strelley Woods, Nottinghamshire who has been a volunteer with the Trust since 2005 gave his thoughts on how the Trust works with its volunteers:

“In my time volunteering for the Woodland Trust I’ve always felt supported and valued.

“There appears to have been a positive change in attitude towards volunteers during the last five years or so. The Trust now tries very hard to be warm, friendly, responsive, supportive and encouraging. The people looking after volunteers are a very friendly and helpful group. There are various educational training courses on offer and I have been on several including training in first aid which I really appreciated.

“My current site manager makes sure I’m included in all decisions regarding the woods. We have a very good working relationship and he couldn’t be more supportive and helpful. It’s a pleasure to be a Woodland Trust volunteer.”

Anyone interested in volunteering at the Woodland Trust can see all of the current vacancies on the website at: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/IIV

That the Trust has been awarded this nationally recognised quality standard offers potential volunteers assurance that if they decide to volunteer, they can feel confident that the Trust will support them and value their contribution, and that they will always be treated with respect.

*Investing in Volunteers is the UK quality standard for all organisations involving volunteers. Investing in Volunteers aims to improve the quality of the volunteering experience for all volunteers and for organisations to acknowledge the enormous contribution made by volunteers. Investing in Volunteers is managed by the UK Volunteering Forum and delivered by Volunteering England, Volunteer Development Scotland, Volunteer Development Agency in Northern Ireland and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

-ENDS-

Notes to editors:

For media queries only please contact the Woodland Trust press office on 01476 581121 or email kevinstanley@woodlandtrust.org.uk

Click here for a video of John Revill, warden and guided walk leader at Strelley Woods explaining his volunteering activities at the Woodland Trust: https://youtu.be/vYpkgTx3xMs

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters.

The Trust has three key aims: i) protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable, ii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life, iii) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 22,500 hectares. Access to its woods is free.