Volunteering with Explorer Miles has been a great opportunity to help fund my expedition - Trainee Leader Rory Harding

Mar 6

Written by:
06 March 2017 15:55  RssIcon

I’ve made friends for life through volunteering and it’s helped me get to where I am now, about to embark on an expedition of a lifetime with British Exploring and working for a fantastic environmental charity in London, Trees for Cities.

Would you recommend volunteering to others?
Volunteering with Explorer Miles has been a great opportunity to help fund my expedition. Although I had volunteered before, it was a new challenge to log all the hours to get to V100. I would totally recommend volunteering to anyone (and frequently do), and it is not just an altruistic move, as you gain huge benefits too. Once you start looking you’ll see there are loads of opportunities to volunteer with organisations in a huge range of areas.

Can you tell us about the organisation you been volunteering for?
I have been volunteering with a variety of organisations over the last few months, which has given me a wide range of experiences. I have volunteered with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), The London Wildlife Trust (LWT), The London National Park City Campaign and The Brightside Trust. It sounds a lot, but it’s not been every day and some of the volunteering has been campaign support online, which can be done flexibly.

Have you found the experience beneficial?
I have definitely benefited hugely from volunteering, it has been integral in helping me get my foot in the door to work in the environmental sector. Coming straight out of University, I found it hard to find work and this was when I started my volunteering journey. These early experiences built my confidence and massively improved my CV. However, I have continued to volunteer, even alongside working full time, as it is still a great way to gain new skills and meet new people.

What drew you to volunteering?
I have a real interest in conservation work, and was looking to skill up and make more connections with people working in this industry. Although I live in London I discovered that with the LWT and WWT, there are fantastic opportunities to get out and explore nature, with many incredible urban nature reserves. As a Londoner I was also very drawn to the National Park City campaign and the vision of greening our urban areas and increasing public access to nature, in an urban context.

How did you go about finding these organisations and applying for a position?
Last summer I moved flats and found myself close by to WWT’s urban wetland reserve in Barnes. I dropped them an email to enquire about volunteering and the next week I was going along to meet the reserve manager to discuss the volunteer opportunities available. I became involved in the London National Park city campaign after hearing the founder, Dan raven-Ellison speak at a local meeting, we got talking and it turned out he was looking for help in kick starting the campaign!

How long has it taken you to attain your V100 badge?

I have volunteered for a few years on and off on different projects, however to gain my V100 badge, I ramped it up a gear in November, December and January and put a lot more time in, so I could log my hours on V-inspired. I started while I was working part time, so had two days a week free to volunteer, plus weekends and even some evenings where I could work on online campaigning. In January that meant I was able to log over 40 hrs to get to V100 badge.

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