The Volunteer Handbook provides key information about volunteering with Somerset Wildlife Trust and what you can expect to ensure your experience is safe and rewarding.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do volunteers do?
Somerset Wildlife Trust volunteers do a range of roles, from supporting the membership team in the office, to identifying plants in the grassland, pulling up invasive plants on our nature reserves, checking on our ponies, raising money to continue our important work for nature and working with children and families to inspire a life-long love of nature.
All volunteer roles have a written role profile of what is involved. This will cover areas such as location and times of work, specific tasks and who will help you.
Who can volunteer?
We welcome volunteers from all over Somerset, of all ages, from all walks of life, bringing a variety of skills and experience. Everyone is welcome, but we want your volunteering to have a meaningful impact so that you can gain full value from it and we never want to create roles for the sake of creating them as we do not feel that is fair on you or a good use of Trust resources. Sometimes it may take a little time to find the right role and occasionally we may signpost you to more appropriate opportunities with other organisations.
Do volunteers have to be members?
We are so grateful for the support of our community whether through campaigning, corporate sponsorship, membership or volunteering. You don’t have to be a member to volunteer but if you would like to consider becoming a member from just £3 a month and further supporting our work in Somerset please visit our membership pages.
How much time do I need to commit?
You decide how much time you wish to give Somerset Wildlife Trust. We want the help of anyone who can volunteer for us in a meaningful role, whether its once a week, once a month or once a year. So long as what you do is of benefit to the Trust then we do not mind how often you do it. Some roles are suited to a regular commitment, others are more sporadic so we hope that we have something that will suit your lifestyle.
What support and training do you offer volunteers?
All new volunteers will be given an induction relevant to their area of work. You will be assigned a staff contact, a role profile which will describe the tasks you will do and be given training and support relevant to your role.
Volunteers can claim some out of pocket expenses as per our expenses policy.
What about work experience, Duke of Edinburgh and young volunteers?
Somerset Wildlife Trust encourages young volunteers as long as they are able to take part safely. For young people aged 8-16 years old we will require parents or guardians to supervise them. Young people aged 16 or 17 can volunteer without the need for an accompanying adult but we would require parental consent (a signed form) and we must be in a position to provide adequate supervision by staff or an authorised volunteer. Young Wardens, a programme of activities for 12-17 year olds, runs at Avalon Marshes in partnership with Natural England and the RSPB.
Currently we are not in a position to offer work experience to under 18s. Due to the nature of what we do and where it happens, it is hard for us to give proper supervision and ensure that we meet the high standards we expect of ourselves when working to our safeguarding policies.
What if I am in receipt of state benefits?
In most cases you can still volunteer, and volunteering is a great way to enhance your skills and experience if you are seeking work. For guidance we would recommend speaking to your Job Centre before volunteering.
Do volunteer roles ever lead to paid roles?
We do not ever offer a volunteer role as a direct route into a paid position and it would not be legal for us to do so.
However, volunteering is an excellent way to build up skills and experience to help you find your way into paid employment and we are always happy to support our volunteers in any way that we can by offering appropriate advice and providing a reference.
How do I nominate someone for a Volunteer Award?
The volunteer awards are presented at our AGM where we recognise outstanding individual, group and youth contributions and present lifetime achievement awards. You can find out more about our fantastic volunteers and how to nominate someone for a volunteer award here.
I can't see a volunteer role that I am interested in...
Our Volunteer opportunities page is updated regularly, so please do check back!
If you can't see a role to suit then please do get in touch. We can’t promise that we will always be able to create a role, as it has to fit with the Trust’s aims and resources available, but if you have certain skills to offer or would like to suggest something to us then we’ll always give it due consideration.