Celebrating our volunteer managers: Cassie Ward

International Volunteer Managers Day is on 5 November. We’re taking the opportunity to thank all of our volunteers and volunteer managers. Read more to find out what the team have been getting up to in South Wales.

Cassie Ward, volunteer manager Cassie Ward, volunteer manager

Role: Team leader

Team: South Wales & Severn

What kind of work do you do with volunteers?

We undertake a a wide range of tasks with our volunteers, from restoring lock chambers using heritage techniques to surveying and looking for watervoles. I absolutely love the variety and no day is ever the same. Our volunteers in South Wales help with so much, not only maintenance, restorations and improvements to the canal but also events such as our open days, local shows, partnership working and our Share the Space events.

This year we have doubled the amount of our volunteer lock keepers and now have several stretches of our canal monitored by rangers. We have also had many successful corporate days at Goytre, Pontymoile, working with Virgin Media and with Marks & Spencers on their 'Spark Something Good' campaign on the Swansea Canal. Volunteers built a wall using heritage techniques and lime mortar.

Swansea Canal Society are an absolute joy to work with and are extremely passionate about what they do. We work very closely with them and meet up every Tuesday.

When did you first start working with volunteers?

I volunteered before I started working here with Oxfam, working at various festivals and helping at the local Oxfam shop during my Uni years. I absolutely loved being part of something that was much bigger than I could ever achieve as an individual, meeting new people and giving my time to something that was making a difference.

I started here as a bridge keeper on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal and worked with Trust volunteers during the Tall Ships Festival. However, it wasn’t until I started as Team Leader on the Mon & Brec Canal that I really worked closely with Trust Volunteers. The first volunteer group I worked with was the Swansea Canal Society, who were really inspirational as everyone was so passionate about the canal and it was incredible to see what they had achieved.

"I absolutely loved being part of something that was much bigger than anything I could ever achieve as an individual, meeting new people and giving my time to something that was making a difference."

What have you learnt from working with volunteers?

If I look back to my favourite days whilst working at the Trust, they tend to be days where I have been working with volunteers. Their enthusiasm, passion, focus and motivation is infectious and definitely makes me feel inspired and driven.

Although everyone has different reasons for volunteering, it feels great to be part of something that is bigger than yourself, knowing that working together can really make a difference and that time is one of the most important things that anyone can give.

What’s the most important quality in a volunteer manager?

Obviously to be approachable, a good listener and enthusiastic. You also need to be clear and concise with direction and objectives. It helps to have an understanding as to why someone is volunteering and to work with them to achieve their own personal goals whilst simultaneously fulfilling the wants and needs of the Trust. But mostly to really appreciate and enjoy working with our volunteers!

What roles do you have available?

We are always happy to welcome new volunteers. We have various roles free on the Mon & Brec and Swansea Canal such as: ranger, volunteer lock keeper and Tuesday work party volunteers. Take a look at our volunteer opportunities.

What do you do as a volunteer in your personal life?

I help at a local charity for children with autism.

Last date edited: 23 February 2017