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Friday, 2 December 2011

New Forest Volunteer Fair - Handy tips on getting involved

If you are an organisation looking to recruit volunteers then come along to the second annual New Forest volunteer fair next March.
Alison Steele from Hampshire County Council Countryside Services with Ruth Croker from Ringwood and Fordingbridge Footpath society at the 2010 Volunteer Fair

Organised by the National Park Authority this event offers a chance for people to find out more about the different and exciting projects going on in the New Forest.

The event will be full of potential volunteers looking for opportunities to explore, learn new skills, meet people and protect the New Forest.

Bob Morris, Member of the National Park Authority, said: ‘There are over 60 organisations attending this event so far at Lyndhurst Community Centre. Volunteering is at the heart of the New Forest.

‘Last year the fair attracted over 300 people who were keen to make a difference. We were overwhelmed by people’s enthusiasm and the organisations involved said it was a great opportunity to network with potential volunteers.

‘This year’s show promises to be even bigger and better and we are hoping that more organisations will come along and get involved.’

Organisations attending so far include: the Forestry Commission, Furzey Gardens, Hampshire Ornithological Society, The National Trust, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, RPSB and Sir Harold Hillier Gardens.

‘The National Park has been working with volunteers on projects that range from archaeology digs to marine surveying to supporting the New Forest Marque as well helping local community groups create nature reserves and village greens,’ said Jim Mitchell, Interpretation Officer at the New Forest National Park Authority.

‘Their help is invaluable and through these projects we have been able to build up a bank of volunteers. We were recently successful in securing Heritage Lottery Funding to investigate the role the New Forest played in World War II which we will need a number of volunteers for.’

Volunteer Jenny Austin said: ‘I was involved in a coastal heritage project with the National Park. Volunteering during the university summer holidays was a good opportunity to get out into the field and do some practical work. I even got to show BBC presenter Matt Baker a thing or two when Countryfile came to film.’

The free Volunteer Fair will be on Saturday 3 March 2012 from 10:30am-4:00pm at Lyndhurst Community Centre. If you are from a volunteer organisation which would like to get involved email jim.mitchell@newforestnpa.gov.uk. For more information about the event go to www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/volunteer-fair.



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