Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Are You Doing Your Bit?

Sunday saw the start of National Volunteer Week, an annual celebration of the 22 million people who give up some of their time to volunteer on all sorts of projects. As you know, volunteering is very close to my heart, so I heartily recommend the Do-It site for finding out the many opportunities available in your area.

I was going to do a post each day this week to celebrate volunteering and to tell you about some of the fabulous experiences I've had. However I've so much to tell you, I'm in the process of setting up a new blog as it just won't fit into bite sized little chunks here. It'll be an occasional blog, designed to capture lots of nuggets to cheer myself up when times get tough as well as telling you all about them.

In the meantime, here's a taster of what's to come (in no particular order):
  • Working at the Special Olympics in Dublin in 2003

  • Helping research the duck-billed platypus in Australia (plus I'll probably write-up my travel diary from a subsequent visit to Oz in 2003/04)

  • Photographing listed buildings in and around Chippenham

  • Training fellow volunteers in the art of freshwater invertebrate surveying

  • Planting trees on old mine spoil heaps in Wales

  • Roman archaeology on Tyneside

  • Researching water quality in Mallorca

  • And many more - depending on when I convert my slides into digital format
I currently volunteer at the National Trust in Swindon (really - I hear you cry, I wouldn't have guessed from your blog!) and later on this week I'll tell you more about my work there and why I'd make such a poor journalist.


  1. Please would you start with the Geordie Romans?

  2. I completely agree with you. I have done tons of volunteer jobs in my life - the most recent of which is volunteer guide at Kew Gardens - and all of them have been really, really good. From working in the playscheme at Wormwood scrubs to teaching english to asylum seekers in Southall to making posters at Oxfam you just learn SO much about the world. Really good. I'm glad there's a week to celebrate it!

  3. I've done a few over the years, the most long term was for AOL in it's infancy in the UK back in the mid 90s, trying to keep people, especially kids safe on the internet, and generally educating/helping people with IT as one of the hated Guides.

    More recently I have been helping with a local charity that runs a fully equipped mini bus to collect and escort our local elderly and infirm population in a quite rural catchment, to get to the day centre in the village safely for lunch and so they can socialise. I am sure E who says he is blind is sighted, he never fails to miss pinching my rear when I take his arm, walk him to the bus and help him into his seat!

  4. You have made me feel very lazy - I will go and see if there is anything on the Do it site in my area right away

  5. Ok done - volunteer for the local conservators which involves clearing land etc - right up my street. So thats one convert - I wonder how many you will get.

  6. Hi VP, thanks for posting this. I didn't know there was such a thing. I've posted a bit about it on our allotment society site. It's very sad, but my Town Council are strongly opposed to volunteer effort and it's a shame because it denies people a chance to get involved in their community.

    You've certainly done some interesting things.


  7. Esther - it'll have to wait until I've converted my slides - sorry

    Emma - good for you and I've volunteered at Kew too!

    Zoe - crumbs, I'm in awe of what you've done. I laughed at your story about E :)

    Helen - that's brilliant!

    Simon - thanks for spreading the word :)


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