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Volunteering: the Gift that Keeps Giving

By Louise Barnetson

We've had a busy autumn/winter period so far. Our Wittering Area Community Conservation Project, funded by the Woodger Trust, has seen us carry out wildlife habitat management work and plant trees across West Wittering, East Wittering, Bracklesham, Earnley, West Itchenor and Birdham. Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Group relies on volunteers to carry out this work and it is amazing what a small group of enthusiastic, hard-working, people can achieve in just a few hours.

We have a dedicated group of local volunteers who turn up to give their time and energy, week in, week out, in all weathers, to join us in looking after important wildlife sites and improving biodiversity across the Peninsula. We are so grateful for all their hard work, not to mention the pleasure of their company - volunteering is a wonderful way to meet like-minded people and have a relaxed chat whilst you work side-by-side. They seem to enjoy the cakes we provide too!

Above: Two of our regular local volunteers working alongside a group from the EA, planting trees in Birdham in early-December.

Recently, we've been joined by a number of different teams enjoying corporate volunteering days, courtesy of their employers, such as the group from the Environment Agency (EA) pictured at the top of the page. This lovely team from the EA were joined by another brilliant corporate group from WSP (below) - an engineering professional services company - to help us take care of two pond sites in Birdham which are home to endangered Water Voles.

Many companies and organisations now offer their staff annual paid volunteering days where employees can take a break from their usual day job to undertake voluntary work. At MWHG we are very grateful for the help of these teams as we can achieve so much more with a larger group of people to help us. We provide leadership, all the tools, hot drinks and more cakes than you can shake a tree stake at!

Above: A group from the EA planting trees in Birdham.

We find that the corporate volunteer teams really get stuck in on their day out and find it rewarding and enjoyable doing something positive for the environment and for wildlife. With many teams primarily office-based - and often working from home these days - to get together in the fresh air, in beautiful surroundings, and work side-by-side is a real break from the norm and a fantastic team-building experience.

Above: This small team from Radiometer, a medical device company, did an amazing job for us in October to help clear the ditch at Birdham Primary School.

Above: A corporate volunteer team working hard at the beautiful Triangle Pond site in Birdham in November.

If your company offers Corporate Volunteering Days then please get in touch! Or if you are an individual looking to give something back and help local wildlife then please sign up for our email alerts and join us at our next session:

Even if you can only join us for an hour, or just want to pop along to see what it's all about, we'd love to see you!

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has volunteered with us this year!


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