Make a fresh start in 2018 and volunteer

Gemma russhard volunteering at avon tyrell scrub bash in may 2017 web

Published Thursday 21 December 2017

The New Forest’s number one event for volunteering opportunities returns in January, bigger and better than ever.

The New Forest National Park Volunteer Fair is organised by the New Forest National Park Authority and brings together dozens of local groups to help budding volunteers find their perfect role. 

After another year of record attendance, hundreds of people are again expected to visit the free fair on Sunday 28 January. Open from 10.30am to 4pm at Lyndhurst Community Centre, the fair showcases opportunities from groups including Pondhead Conservation, Patrick’s Patch at Fairweather’s Garden Centre, Countryside Education Trust, and more than 30 others. 

Volunteer roles on offer at the fair include recording wildlife, inspiring youngsters, restoring landscapes and helping some of society’s most vulnerable.

As well as helping local communities and the environment, volunteering is also good for volunteers, helping you find friends, reach out to the community, improve your mental and physical wellbeing and even advance your career.

Gemma Russhard from Tiptoe became involved in volunteering projects in the National Park when she moved to the area. She said: ‘I helped to clear the ground for heathland restoration. I run, cycle or walk in the New Forest most days and I wanted to give something back and to help the Forest thrive in any way that I can. 

‘I love being outdoors in the beautiful surroundings and I met some fantastic people who share my passion for the Forest and the outdoors. I am looking forward to getting involved in more volunteer projects soon.’

Jim Mitchell, fair organiser and New Forest National Park Authority Interpretation Officer, said: ‘Volunteering is not only a great way to help look after the Forest, it is also a great way to keep a healthy mind and body, improve physical fitness as well as provide a space to relax and de-stress. 

‘The New Year is the perfect time to make a change in your life and try something new whilst making friends and learning new skills. 

‘It can be difficult to know where to look to find your perfect role, but the volunteer fair allows you to browse dozens of local groups all in one place, on one day. There is no better way to start 2018 with a fresh start!’

To find out more about the New Forest Volunteer Fair visit


The organisations signed up for the New Forest Volunteer Fair so far are:

  • Blackwater Conservation Group 
  • Bumblebee Conservation Trust
  • Butterfly Conservation
  • The Brendoncare Foundation
  • Christchurch and East Dorset Countryside Team
  • Community Speedwatch
  • Countryside Education Trust
  • Exbury Gardens
  • Forestry Commission 
  • Friends of Lepe Country Park
  • Friends of New Forest Airfields
  • Friends of the New Forest (New Forest Association)
  • Green Island Holiday Trust
  • Girlguiding Foxlease 
  • Hampshire Swifts
  • Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance
  • Hampshire County Council Access Team
  • Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust
  • hArt
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre
  • Lyndhurst and District Community Responders
  • Lyndhurst and Minstead Bellringers
  • Milford Conservation Volunteers
  • Minstead Trust
  • National Trust
  • New Forest Area Conservation Volunteers
  • New Forest Centre
  • New Forest Community First 
  • New Forest Disability Information Centre
  • New Forest National Park Authority
  • New Forest Nightstop
  • New Forest Mencap
  • New Forest Rotary
  • New Forest Transition 
  • Oakhaven Hospice Trust
  • Pedall Inclusive Cycling 
  • Patrick’s Patch at Fairweather’s Garden Centre
  • Pondhead Conservation Volunteers
  • Ringwood and Fordingbridge Footpath Society 
  • RAF Ibsley Airfield Heritage Trust
  • RSPB
  • Woodlander Hoburne Bashley

Notes to Photo Editor:

Gemma Russhard volunteering at Avon Tyrrell as part of the Our Past, Our Future landscape partnership scheme.

Notes to Editor:

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 to find out more.

Media Contact

Beki Mole, Communications Assistant 
New Forest National Park Authority 
Tel: 01590 646639 

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