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New horizons, and new opportunities
This month has been a bittersweet one in the world of technical volunteering. It feels a bit like the end of term with southern colleagues waving goodbye to a series of dedicated, long term volunteers, and looking forward to saying hello to a fresh bunch ready to get stuck into a range of projects.
So farewell to Patricia (engineering team) & Viktoriya (environment team) who are starting new jobs (well done!), Andy (our long term environment team placement student) who has already said goodbye in his latest blog, and Pete who joined us for a short placement with the environment team - we want to thank you for your commitment, time and positivity!
We would also like to say hello and welcome to Oliver, who is assisting the heritage team in London over the summer, and David who has joined the Wales & West environment team as a long term placement volunteer. I think I have mentioned all recent starters and leavers – and thank you of course to everyone else who has or is volunteering with the technical team, north and south. This is starting to sound like an Oscars speech, so I will leave it there.
Talking of awards ceremonies and recognising talent, Rebecca and I were delighted to celebrate our volunteers’ enthusiasm and commitment at an event at Stoke Bruerne on 4 July which allowed everyone to socialise and celebrate their achievements and meet some of our colleagues too. Of course there was also cake – well, it was a volunteering event!
I’d personally like to thanks Rebecca and the team at Stoke Bruerne (including Emma) for making this happen, it was a glorious day. It is days like this that really make our jobs a joy as volunteer coordinators, but then again, although it sounds like a cliché, every day really is a joy when you are meeting volunteers like ours. I like to think that we attract such a great bunch of people due to the range of projects that you can’t find anywhere else on land - or water.
I’d like to run through some of these now, as they have taken up a lot of my time over the last month and we would welcome some interest in them. As Rebecca mentioned previously, we are now seeking expressions of interest from quick reflexed, wannabe terrapin catchers – don’t worry, we will be providing appropriate personal protective equipment as they don’t like to be handled, and can bite! If you think you have what it takes, please get in touch – we are seeking people who ideally have experience of handling them and genuinely want to see them rehomed in a more suitable place.
If you prefer your volunteering with less bite, there are some other opportunities coming up that I would like to highlight, including some unique heritage projects that will give you a great insight in the historic structures we own and manage. I wasn’t planning a cliff hanger this time around, but I might end up with one as details on these are a little sketchy at the moment!
The first one centres around a series of lime kilns in the Brecon area, which were originally constructed to burn limestone to produce lime for agriculture and building, which was then transported via canal. Sadly many of the kilns need some TLC and so we are seeking keen, practical volunteers to help us bring these back to their former glory – so if you are hands on and like the idea of assisting with clearing vegetation and repairing masonry, this could be the task for you. More details will follow, but one thing is for sure – there are not many better views on our volunteering days than those to be seen along the Mon & Brec!
The second opportunity is less rural and certainly less outdoor, and represents an interesting departure for us, as we are jointly working with the National Trust on this next project – The Roundhouse at Birmingham. Originally built for the Birmingham Corporation in the 1870s, the horse shoe shaped Roundhouse hides a fascinating past which we are keen to delve into. Again the details need to be developed at the moment, but we would like a volunteer to help us uncover its history – please get in touch if this sounds of interest.
If you are local to Birmingham, we are also seeking some help to give the city centre towpaths some TLC (sorry to say it again, more details to follow) – given the rash of reality TV shows on all manner of subjects lately, perhaps this could form the basis of a new show…. On that note, I think I had better hand the reins to Rebecca, who will be presenting next month’s blog!
See you in October!
P.S. Do keep an eye on the latest volunteering opportunities being posted on our website – we are always adding new things so don’t miss out!
Amanda is a volunteer coordinator for the Technical Team within the Trust. Whether it’s finding a student for a long-term placement with the environment team or assisting the hydrology team with a team of volunteers to count boat movements, she can be counted on to find the right people for the role. Amanda joined the Trust in July 2012 and previously worked as the Volunteer Leader in the East Midlands. She has worked at other charities in people engagement roles, but is at her happiest besides the water.