Year of Green Action launches with record volunteer fairPUBLISHED ON: 30 JANUARY 2019
The nationwide Year of Green Action has kicked off in the New Forest with a record-breaking turnout for the National Park’s volunteer fair.
The fair saw 750 budding volunteers head to Lyndhurst Community Centre on Sunday (27 January) to browse hundreds of opportunities from 50 local groups. Organisations in attendance included Exbury Gardens, Butterfly Conservation, the Forestry Commission and the National Trust.
Many attendees were volunteering to help improve the environment or pledged to take individual small actions to mark 2019 as the Year of Green Action.
This is a year-long drive to get more people from all backgrounds involved in projects to improve the natural world and mark the 70th anniversary of National Parks.
Throughout 2019 there will be events and activities across the New Forest aiming to help people connect, protect and enhance nature.
As the first big event of the year, the volunteer fair was the perfect place to start the push to get more people out and about caring for the Forest this year.
The fair was officially opened by Gemma Wilks and Charlie Davis, volunteers who have spent hours of their time helping to reduce plastic waste and protect wildlife over the last year.
Volunteer Charlie Davis from Southampton, said: I’ve been volunteering with the New Forest National Park Authority’s Our Past, Our Future project for four months now. I joined to learn new skills, gain experience and boost my employability.
‘It was fantastic to see so many contributing organisations in one place at the volunteer fair and it really highlighted what work and dedication goes into keeping the forest a vibrant, caring place. I want to really encourage as many people as possible to get involved and give their time to support voluntary organisations in the New Forest that are working to protect this special place.’
Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, New Forest National Park Authority Chairman, said: ‘We were very pleased with how popular the fair was with visitors and exhibitors. It was undoubtedly our busiest and best year yet.
‘The fair is about giving a platform to all the groups in the Forest that are looking for volunteers, bringing them all together in one place at one time to gather as many new recruits as possible. Volunteers contribute hundreds of thousands of hours to caring for the New Forest each year and this fair is one of their main methods of recruitment.’
Alison Talbot, Citizens Advice New Forest, said: ‘This was a really great volunteer fair. From our perspective we found it a really useful and productive day. We had serious interest in volunteering for us from a wide range of people. We will be following up on this and inviting people in to find out more about our volunteering opportunities.’
If you missed the fair, find your own volunteer role in the New Forest in the 2019 New Forest Volunteer Guide at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/volunteering.