Volunteering with us
Volunteering with us can be a great way to make a difference in your community. Find out more about the experience with these shared stories from our volunteers.
Kirkby volunteer Peter Frogson
Peter, an ex-mining and associated occupations worker, regularly gives his time and expertise in helping with practical tasks on the nature site. This has included helping with ground clearance, publicity and nature walks for local residents and schools.
Peter somehow manages to balance spare time with several other conservation-volunteering commitments. This includes volunteering to help to keep public footpaths in the Nuncargate and Kirkby Woodhouse area free of litter and other debris, providing a keen ‘pair of eyes’ in alerting local councils and other agencies to environmental issues as they arise. He also makes regular patrols of the Portland Park. This is particularly appreciated by park users and the local council as the park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest with hidden ‘nooks and crannies’ that are susceptible to becoming litter traps.
Peter is so busy with his numerous volunteering roles in the Kirkby in Ashfield area that for some time it was thought he must have a twin brother or stunt double volunteering round and about as he is so often present at volunteering events. In the past Peter has been recognised with a Greenwood Forest Community Award.
Kirkby volunteer - Gavin Thorne: from environmental volunteer to paid employment in 4 months
Gavin started volunteering for us after being referred by the Department for Work and Pensions. He was unemployed and wanted to do some volunteering to gain experience to help him into employment, whilst also giving something back to the local community where he lives.
After his induction with Community Engagement, Gavin was placed with the Kirkby Environment Team and soon started volunteering on a regular basis. He started getting involved with various duties to support the team and build his experience.
In just a few months, he had got stuck in with tasks including litter picking, emptying bins, cleaning graffiti and he has also passed a test to drive council vehicles! Through volunteering, Gavin has built his confidence, learned new skills, made new friends and most importantly, he has found a temporary job with us through Fresh Start Recruitment.
Gavin described his volunteer induction meeting as:
"Informal, friendly, informative and a very helpful introduction into what to expect from volunteering. The Environment Team were very friendly and welcomed me into my role. I’ve built a great rapport with the staff, we always have a good laugh and the days fly by. My Volunteer Supervisor is great, extremely supportive and encouraging."
Gavin said of his volunteering experience:
"It has given me an opportunity to prove myself, demonstrate my skills and learn new ones. It has given me a sense of purpose and something to get up for in the morning.” Gavin continued “I am really proud that I have managed to get off benefits through my volunteering experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed volunteering with the Council and would highly recommend it to anyone."
Task forces in the rural areas
Litter pickers have come out in force on a regular basis in the Rural areas of Jacksdale, Selston and Underwood to help maintain a clean and tidy area.
Volunteers want to make a difference and this is their way of doing it as part of a group or as an individual to suit themselves. These volunteers are provided with the tools and materials to carry out their roles once they have been registered with us.
Ben Wilson accessed this opportunity in the first place to help towards his Scout environmental badge. Helen Storer and Ben Wilson feel very passionate about their duties and often went out together as friends to clean up the area.
Skegby volunteer - Sharon Cooper
Sharon Cooper, a regular Skegby volunteer, began volunteering in August 2018. Like many volunteers, Sharon wanted to do something to make a difference in her local community, so signed up as a litter picking volunteer.
She is regularly out with her trusty litter grabber (and sometimes her husband!) in and around the Dalestorth Road and Mansfield Road areas of Skegby. When she began volunteering, Sharon completed a volunteer activity log and in her first 4 months, clocked up over 43 hours and collected an amazing 80+ bags of litter – an incredible achievement.
Sharon enjoys litter picking and says:
"A little volunteering in your spare time soon adds up and makes a real difference”.
She has also inspired her neighbours to get involved too, as some now want to join her on her mission to keep Ashfield tidy. Sharon also cleans up Sutton Parkway train station, which has resulted in her being part of the East Midlands Trains’ 'adopt a station' initiative.
Sharon is just one shining example of the many wonderful volunteers who willingly give up their free time to make a massive difference in their local community.
We value and recognise the work of all our volunteers and community groups in supporting front line services. The contribution made by our volunteers, however large or small, further supports our efforts in providing a clean environment for residents to enjoy.
"Litter picking has not only made a massive difference to the cleanliness of my local community but it has also improved my health and wellbeing. On days when I’m out litter picking my steps have increased by 150% and as a result I feel fitter, healthier and I’ve lost weight - another great reason to get involved!"
"We both decided to try and clean up our local area a little, and the Place and Wellbeing team at Ashfield Council were happy to provide us with all the equipment required to make this a success. It doesn't take long to get on board with registration, and Donna was very supportive for us to get involved. We wanted to help out on an ad-hoc basis, so we were given our own litter picking kit, to use whenever we require. We have just got back from our first pick and filled two bags full. Got a real buzz out of getting stuck in and making a start!"
Residents have been helping to keep their area free from litter by taking part in regular litter picks and environmental tasks around their neighbourhood. Groups are becoming familiar sights around Hucknall providing invaluable support for their local community, giving their time and skills in order to create a better environment for all residents to enjoy.
A local resident said:
"I feel more confident in going out and about, I have met new people and I’ve been able to try new things. Before doing this I would have been too scared to help out."
Another resident said:
"it makes me proud to look after my estate and I can see its making a difference."
A local resident also feels volunteering has helped them with their health.
"I’ve had a few mental health problems recently and the litter picks have really helped me take my mind off these issues. I enjoy going out to litter pick and help the community, it’s really worthwhile."