New Forest Volunteer Fair kick starts new campaign

A prospective volunteer signs up to hampshire and isle of wight wildlife trust

Published Tuesday 30 January 2018

The New Forest’s most popular volunteering event is celebrating another year of success as hundreds flocked to the annual fair.

Almost 600 people came along looking to try something new through one of the hundreds of roles on offer from 46 local organisations. The event, which is organised each year by the New Forest National Park Authority, also saw the launch of the #pledge10000 campaign. 

So far almost 2,500 hours have been pledged by potential volunteers towards achieving a target of 10,000 hours of volunteering in 2018 to help preserve and protect the National Park and support local communities.

The fair was opened by local volunteer Patrick Keane, from Brockenhurst, who contributed over 1,000 hours over the last two years, helping catalogue and scan documents for the New Forest Knowledge online portal as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund Our Past, Our Future landscape partnership scheme.

Volunteering is fundamental to the success of the Our Past, Our Future scheme, which offers roles as diverse as taking part in archaeological digs, surveying wildlife, helping conserve habitats and leading Forest walks. The scheme is a partnership between the National Park Authority and 10 key partners to help protect the New Forest’s unique heritage, landscape and wildlife for future generations.

Patrick was joined at the fair by dozens of other groups at Lyndhurst Community Centre on Sunday 28 January. They included organisations as diverse as the RSPB, Hampshire Art for Recreation and Therapy, Hampshire Scouts, the Forestry Commission and the Green Island Holiday Trust. 

Jim Mitchell, fair organiser and New Forest National Park Authority Interpretation and Outreach Manager, said: ‘We were delighted to see how popular the fair was with visitors and exhibitors from across the New Forest and surrounding area. It was wonderful to see new organisations coming along to recruit new volunteers and meet other groups.

‘The fair gives a platform for organisations to look for volunteers, bringing them all together in one place at one time to find as many new volunteers as possible. It also provides a great chance for organisations to showcase the work they do through talks; this year we heard from Pondhead Conservation Trust and East Boldre Hedgehog Rescue, as well as hosting a drumming demonstration from New Forest Live at Home. We had our own stall at the event, recruiting helpers for the exciting Our Past, Our Future landscape partnership scheme.’

First time fair attendee Katherine Rickman, New Forest Live at Home Scheme Manager, said: ‘I had an exciting day chatting to people looking to volunteer. It was a great opportunity to not only talk about befriending, activities and day trips, but also hear fabulous ideas coming from other local organisations. The volunteer fair was an amazing opportunity for me to meet some wonderful charities from the New Forest and conjure up some ideas of joint working. From bush craft sessions and visits to Exbury Gardens, to cycling and boat trips, my head is now full of fabulous ideas for 2018!’

If you missed the fair, you can view and download a copy of this year’s volunteer guide to find your perfect role. Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/volunteer

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Notes to Photo Editor:

Stallholders and budding volunteers at the 2018 New Forest Volunteer Fair. More images of the fair are available at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/m2ez99hb41qsajt/AADMbwkGOkyJ8LMidE7jSRLUa?dl=0

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

Media Contact
Beki Mole, Communications Assistant 
New Forest National Park Authority 
Tel: 01590 646639 
Email: beki.mole@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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