Volunteers are busy doing what they are good at The Eco Centre during Volunteers Week: working in the woods, pottering in the gardens, creating habitats and helping make the forest a special place for people of all ages and for the struggling local wildlife too.
And down at the Forest Studio, the Splash of Gold volunteers are using the woodland and wildlife to help visitors to be creative and express themselves through art.
Paul Charles, managing director, says: “We have a very flexible approach to volunteering here at the Eco Centre – the most important thing is that all volunteers come to do jobs that they enjoy and are based around their skills and experience to make sure they enjoy their volunteering as much as possible. We have established groups such as the Bird Watchers or the Pond Group and are currently recruiting for the ‘Friends of the Eco Centre’ group where the regular volunteers help with maintenance and habitat management and then our ‘friends’ come along on our volunteer days or just when they have the time to call in and do their bit or have a go a something new.”
“We have over 9000 visitors to the Eco Centre each year through our Family and Early Years sessions, educational, health and well-being projects and many more, all connecting people with their local environment to increase skills, confidence and self-belief. The natural environment is at the centre of everything we do and it is our volunteers who support our work to enhance and look after these valuable natural spaces, which is why we just couldn’t do what we do without them.”
The Splash of Gold Art Groups run by Steve and Wendy Gould, who are themselves volunteers. Offering opportunities for visitors to try out a range of different creative techniques, the groups provide a relaxed environment where people can just have a go and express themselves.
Steve Gould said, “Being able to express yourself through art brings many benefits for your mental health and wellbeing including improved motivation; increased social engagement; enhanced self confidence or just a more relaxed state of mind. Being at the Eco Centre means we can offer this in an environment which is, in itself, more conducive to improved wellbeing.”
The most important thing is that all volunteers come to do jobs that they enjoy
The Art Groups take place every 10am – 12noon every Wednesday at the Eco Centre, for more information contact 07821 486505.