What with the tremendous amount of wind and rain we’ve had the past few weeks, our Estate team have had their work cut out for them, clearing paths and removing fallen trees. The team has just acquired two new Long Term Volunteers, Vicky and Tim and this week I hand over to them to hear about their experiences so far…
“Hi my name is Vicky and I recently started as one of the new Long Term Volunteer (LTV) rangers here at Quarry Bank. I have been volunteering with the National Trust for just over 4 years at other properties while I studied for my degree, as I love the outdoors and nature. The role here at Quarry Bank gave me the perfect opportunity to increase my knowledge and skills in a completely new environment, having previously mostly worked from coastal properties.
Since starting, there has been a complete variety of work to be done from estate maintenance to conservation surveys. Working with the other LTV, Tim, we were set project work, for which we plan and organise to get the job done. One of these projects is managing Youth Rangers, a scheme aimed at 14-19 year olds to bring them outdoors one Sunday afternoon a month. We’re aiming to recruit more teenagers to this brilliant scheme by getting in touch with schools.
Project management is just one of the skills that can be gained from working at Quarry Bank, with each day different over the 400 acres of the site; there is lots of work to get done by the team of rangers and volunteers. Working with other volunteers is a big part of the role, especially here at Quarry Bank with over 40 volunteers helping out each week, and people coming everyday, it’s great to meet everyone and get to know why they’re here with the National Trust.
For me I love working for the Trust and all the aspects of the role; even clearing bins doesn’t put me off! In the future my aim is to be a ranger working for the Trust alongside volunteers and helping members of the public of any age learn to love the outdoors and nature as much as I do.”
“So why would I work for the National Trust for free then? It’s a long story. To begin with the Trust has always been a prominent institution in my life starting off with family walks when I was young and grew to the point where I’m now working with them. I’ve always had a real passion for the outdoors and that led to me doing high school work experience on a farm, which led to me studying for a vocational qualification in Countryside Management.
Whilst studying for my qualification I had two further work placements first, with the local Nature Trust and after that 15 months on a local National Trust estate. Back in November my boss at the estate I was working at e-mailed me telling me about the Long Term Volunteer Ranger position at Quarry Bank and, seeing the potential of the role, I applied and thankfully got it. So now I work here at Quarry Bank on the Styal estate, and it is definitely becoming a formative experience.
It has been a great opportunity to see the sides to being a ranger that I didn’t get to see volunteering part time; the paper work, the planning and preparation, and the need to constantly delete countryside chat e-mails! It is also a helpful experience to see how different estates are run and there is always a new order and a new way of doing things to learn about each time you move estate, and that is truer here than anywhere I’ve been before.
In the long term, for me, it’s about the mountains and I hope that through this post I can gain the experience to help me get a role as a ranger or forester with the Trust in an area like the Brecon Beacons or Snowdonia. Paid of course…”
To find out more about volunteering roles within the Trust, check out the website for the latest vacancies: http://bit.ly/NTvolunteering.