Get out and about around the Highlands with some Autumn volunteering

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There’s no need to grind to a halt because winter’s round the corner, when there are so many great environmental volunteering opportunities to enjoy around the Highlands.

Close to Inverness Abriachan Forest Trust has lots of woodland work you can get involved in including planting trees, seed collecting, growing juniper and biological recording or looking after the trust’s woodwork and path network.

As Suzann Barr from the Abriachan Forest Trust said: 

“We really value our volunteers, and their help in maintaining our community woodland, we’re also keen to encourage businesses to come along for some corporate team building and to have families along to join in fun volunteering. We can arrange these on days to suit. So do get in touch to ask.”  

If you fancy a go at volunteering at Abriachan there are regular sessions on the first Saturday of each month from 10.00-12.00 and during the week you can join a group on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Contact abriachanforest@gmail.com or 01463 861236 to find out more. 

Volunteering can not only be fun, it can also enhance people’s job prospects, giving them more confidence and experience and teaching new skills and providing qualifications. If you are aged between 12 and 25 you can gain a Saltire Award for your volunteering work. The awards are part of the Curriculum for Excellence and are recognised by employers as well as universities and colleges. Details of how to get involved are on their website http://saltireawards.org.uk or contact your local volunteer centre.

Gail Duff, Volunteer Development Officer with Signpost in Inverness said:

“The results of a survey of 200 of the UK’s leading businesses carried out by TimeBank through Reed Executive are quite remarkable. They show that 94% of employees who volunteered to learn new skills had benefited, either by getting their first job, improving their salary or being promoted. At Signpost we can help people in Inverness-shire and Nairnshire to find a placement. You can find out more on the Signpost website, of ring us on 01463 711393”

Trees for Life, the National Trust for Scotland and TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) all offer volunteering opportunities around the Highlands, including days where you can be collected in Inverness and provided with transport to the work site. 

The National Trust for Scotland has a weekend event in Kintail from the 21st to 23rd October where you’ll be able to help with drystane dyke building, mend footpaths and maintain fences. You can get more details about the weekend from Julie Bond on 0131 458 0315.  

If mid week suits you better to get out and about, you can join Trees for Life working each  Wednesday in  Strathglass and Dundreggan, where you’ll be able to choose from a range of tasks, including tree seedling protection, seed processing and packing trees ready to go for planting on one of the Tress for Life woodland restoration sites.  Trees for Life Conservation Manager, Alan McDonnell commented:

“Our volunteers often say how much they enjoy playing their part in reafforesting the Highlands, and we really appreciate their work too. Volunteers are crucial to Trees for Life, with their help we have planted over a million trees and are well on the way to our second million.”

You can find out more on their website http://treesforlife.org.uk.  

You can also volunteer to help look after the Cairngorms National Park by getting involved in building and maintaining paths, and other activities to help conserve this beautiful area. More details about how to do this are on their website http://themountainsandthepeople.org.uk
 
TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) will have four new Green Gyms® operating in Wick, Gairloch, Inverness and Grantown-on-Spey; starting mid Oct 2016 and running through 2017.  By joining a Green Gym® you can keep fit, enjoy a social outing and help with conservation at the same time. You'll have the opportunity to get involved in tasks like cutting back invasive undergrowth, planting trees, constructing and maintaining paths or perhaps even making a bench or a bat box. As Rob Thomas, TCV Senior Project Officer in Munlochy said:

We value and look after our volunteers, providing a safe working environment and a variety of tasks to do that are suited to each person’s abilities. We always enjoy a good tea break too as, after all, indulging in a bit of a chat with your fellow volunteers is all part of the fun of volunteering in the wonderful Highland countryside”. Contact Rob at r.thomas@tcv.org.uk for more information.

Highland Environment Forum

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