|National Parks UK young volunteer of the year, Karl Epps (left), at the 2015 New Forest Show. Karl is helping to build a cob wall with National Park Authority Archaeologist Frank Green.|
Now Karl, a wheelchair user, is set to welcome a record 40 organisations to this year’s fair, where local people can follow his lead and change their lives through volunteering.
Hundreds are expected to attend the free fair from 10.30am to 4pm on Saturday 30 January at Lyndhurst Community Centre. Organisations taking part include the RNLI, Exbury Gardens, Hampshire Scouts and the National Trust.
Opportunities 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 people find friends, reach out to the community, improve our mental and physical wellbeing and even advance our careers.
Karl is a Campaign for National Parks Mosaic Young Champion and has done a variety of volunteering roles, from helping to maintain gardens, to assisting in office work, to interacting with the general public.
Karl said: ‘I couldn’t believe it when I was told I’d won this award – I thought someone was playing a joke on me!
‘Volunteering helps other people out, keeps me busy and gives me something to look forward to. I’ve done all sorts of volunteering over the years, including working on a farm and helping visitors to the New Forest Show.
‘Volunteering is great – anyone interested should definitely give it a go. It makes you believe in yourself and helps you realise your own potential in life, it certainly did for me. The volunteer fair is the perfect way for people to get started. Come along, have a look around and find an opportunity that suits you.’
To find out more about the New Forest Volunteer Fair visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/volunteerfair2016