Meet new friends and face new challenges at the New Forest Volunteer Fair

New Forest Volunteer Fair 2015

Published Tuesday 13 January 2015

An award-winning young wildlife enthusiast and a retired banker are calling for local people to do something different this year and volunteer in the New Forest.

People looking for new experiences and new social circles are being invited to the New Forest Volunteer Fair on Saturday, 31 January.

Hundreds will attend the fair from 10.30am to 4pm at Lyndhurst Community Centre, where more than 30 organisations will offer opportunities to record wildlife, restore landscapes, unravel wartime secrets and help some of society’s most vulnerable.

Volunteering is also good for volunteers, helping them find friends, reach out to the community, improve their mental and physical wellbeing and even advance their careers.

The fair will be opened by two people who have benefited from years of volunteering in the New Forest National Park.

Dominik Reynolds became the RSPB’s youngest volunteer in the country at the age of nine. Now aged 14, Dominik has been volunteering for six years at the New Forest Reptile Centre near Lyndhurst, sharing his knowledge of birds and reptiles with visitors.

His dedication has been recognised recently with a string of awards including Young Animal Enthusiast of the year at the Daily Mirror and RSPCA’s 2014 Animal Hero Awards.

Dominik, from Totton, said: ‘I’ve met so many nice people through volunteering. I like talking about wildlife and I think visitors like talking to a young person about nature. I’ve lived on the edge of the New Forest all my life. It’s beautiful for walking, cycling and getting out seeing badgers, deer, birds and reptiles, all for free.’

His mother Kerry said: ‘Dominik’s been interested in nature since he was very young, going for walks in the New Forest or watching David Attenborough DVDs. I’m tremendously proud of him. He particularly likes chatting to children visiting the reptile centre, getting them excited about nature.’

Derek Tippetts, from Cadnam, was looking for a complete change of scene when he became a volunteer ranger for the Forestry Commission after taking early retirement from his finance career.

He said: ‘Although I grew up in the countryside I spent most of my life in cities. I thought I knew the Forest but I’ve learned an awful lot more about its history, customs and traditions whilst getting involved in its conservation.’

Derek is now looking to recruit active volunteers for the Pondhead Conservation Trust, using hand tools and sustainable techniques to restore an area of woodland to improve its biodiversity and public enjoyment.

He said: ‘You meet all sorts of interesting people as a volunteer. There’s plenty of fresh air and exercise, much cheaper than a gym, and you’re helping to restore a natural area right in the heart of the New Forest.’

To find out more about the New Forest Volunteer Fair visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/volunteerfair2015

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Picture caption:Dominik Reynolds (right) speaking to visitors whilst volunteering at the New Forest Reptile Centre near Lyndhurst.

Notes to editor:

A list of organisations at the New Forest Volunteer Fair

  • Andover Mind/li>
  • British Red Cross New Forest Support at Home
  • Community First New Forest
  • Forestry Commission
  • Friends of New Forest Airfields
  • Girlguiding UK
  • Hampshire County Council: Friends of Lepe Country Park
  • Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance
  • Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust Hampshire Scouts 
  • The Knoll Gardens Foundations
  • Maritime Archaeology Trust
  • Naomi House
  • National Trust
  • New Forest Centre
  • New Forest National Park Authority: Our past, our future 
  • New Forest National Park Authority: Inclusive cycling 
  • New Forest Nightstop
  • New Forest Mencap
  • The New Forest Trust
  • Patrick's Patch at Fairweather's Garden Centre
  • Pondhead Conservation Trust 
  • Ramblers Association
  • The RAF Ibsley Airfield Heritage Trust 
  • RNLI
  • RSPB
  • Social Care in Action (health and wellbeing centre) 
  • Sir Harold Hillier Gardens
  • South Wiltshire Paths Group
  • Sport Hampshire & IOW
  • SS Shieldhall
  • Woodlander Hoburne Bashley

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect.
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.

Media Contacts:
Sion Donovan, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646639
Email: sion.donovan@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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