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Volunteer Fair to build on record-breaking year of volunteering

Volunteer Fair to build on record-breaking year of volunteering

PUBLISHED ON: 18 JANUARY 2019

The New Forest Volunteer Fair returns on 27 January, hot on the heels of a record year for volunteering in the National Park.

The schedule of talks for the day has just been announced.

Volunteers have contributed almost 20,000 hours to help care for the New Forest over the last year, smashing the 10,000 hours target set out at last year’s Fair.

Their achievements include preserving historical documents, bringing habitats back to life and helping young people experience the great outdoors.

Now thoughts are turning to making 2019 the biggest year of volunteering yet as part of the government’s Year of Green Action. The year-long event also marks 70 years sine the UK’s National Parks were first established.

The year begins with the New Forest National Park Volunteer Fair, the area’s largest volunteering event. More than 50 local groups will be offering hundreds of roles to suit all ages and abilities at the fair organised by the New Forest National Park Authority.

Almost 600 people attended last year, and hundreds are again expected to visit the free fair on Sunday 27 January. Open from 10.30am to 4pm at Lyndhurst Community Centre, the fair showcases opportunities from groups including Exbury Gardens, New Forest Heritage Centre and Oakhaven Hospice Trust.

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.

Tim Wilding (below) is a volunteer helping to preserve historical sites and said: ‘Even though I’ve lived in the New Forest for over 40 years I’ve never learnt as much about the area as I have in the last five years of volunteering. I like getting out and about and exploring and getting to know the environment better. I’m very interested in history, especially the roman period, and I can always find something of interest to me.

‘If it interests you, no matter what it is, just go out and do it. You’ll be surprised how much it opens your eyes to what is around you.’

A picture of volunteer Tim Wilding at Lepe

Jim Mitchell, fair organiser and New Forest National Park Authority Interpretation and Outreach Manager said: ‘This year we have the greatest number and widest range of opportunities in the fair’s history. There really will be something for everyone there, so it’s not to be missed!’

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

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

  • Blackwater Conservation Group
  • Butterfly Conservation
  • Christchurch and East Dorset Countryside Team
  • Citizens Advice New Forest
  • Countryside Education Trust
  • Eling Tide Mill Experience
  • Exbury Gardens
  • Ferny Crofts Scout Activity Centre
  • Forestry Commission
  • Friends of Lepe Country Park
  • Friends of New Forest Airfields
  • Friends of the New Forest (New Forest Association)
  • Green Island Holiday Trust
  • Hampshire Search and Rescue
  • Hampshire Swifts
  • Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance
  • Hampshire County Council Countryside Service
  • Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust
  • hArt
  • Honeypot
  • Hythe Pier Heritage Association
  • Keep Britain Tidy
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre
  • Lyndhurst and District Community Responders
  • Lyndhurst and Minstead Belllringers
  • Milford Conservation Volunteers
  • Minstead Trust
  • National Trust
  • New Forest Area Conservation Volunteers
  • New Forest Community First
  • New Forest Heritage Centre
  • New Forest Live at Home
  • New Forest Mencap
  • New Forest National Park Authority
  • New Forest Nightstop
  • Oakhaven Hospice Trust
  • Pedall Inclusive Cycling
  • Pondhead Conservation Trust
  • Ringwood and Fordingbridge Footpath Society
  • Rockbourne Roman Villa
  • RSPB
  • Solent Rescue
  • SS Shieldhall
  • Stroke Association
  • Testwood Lakes Sailability
  • Warren Copse and Holbury Manor Conservation Group
  • Woodlander Hoburne Bashley
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