Hard-working Broads volunteers celebrated

This Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), we would like to celebrate the 115 Broads Authority volunteers who help to keep the Broads a special place for everyone to enjoy.

Volunteer Peter Cannell and Broads Volunteer repairing the Hoveton Boardwalk

Last April, the Broads saw a very welcome return of volunteers following several breaks and disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Volunteers take part in all areas of the Authority’s work, including assisting visitors at our Tourism Information Centres, helping people at our Yacht Stations and going on patrol with our Rangers. They also carry out practical work with the Maintenance team; survey wildlife populations and carry out conservation work with the Ecology and Design team, and help engage young people through a range of outdoor activities with the Education team.

Broads volunteers typically get involved because they love the opportunity to be outside to give something back to nature. They take pride in their work, they tell us that it’s lots of fun, there is a sense of comradery and that many long-lasting friendships have been made. Plus, being out in nature has many positive benefits for health and wellbeing.

Many volunteers stay long-term. When Peter Cannell completed 5000 hours of volunteering since 2013, he was awarded gifts and a certificate for his exceptional service. He is a great role model, using his many years of experience to help guide new volunteers and support them in their work.

It’s not just Broads Authority volunteers we are celebrating. Well-established conservation groups such as the Beavers have been volunteering in the Broads for many years, and Broadsword (Broads Society members) will soon celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Volunteers have an extremely varied remit. Recently they have been helping us to maintain our moorings, mow paths, install new signage, clean signs and even install safety ladders. They have also helped to make our water-plant cutting programme more efficient, input data from wildlife surveys, create engagement activities for the Norwich Science Festival and control invasive plant species.

Volunteer Peter Cannell awarded for 5000 hours

Volunteers Coordinator, Lottie Carlton said of Volunteer Week:

“We want to give a big shout out to our 115 volunteers and express how grateful we are for all their hard work here in the Broads.

“Some have been with us for many years but we’ve recently welcomed in a new cohort of keen volunteers. When we ask people why they keep coming back, usually it’s because they get such a buzz from working in nature and want to give something back to help protect the environment.”

George Cooper volunteers at Ranworth Visitor Centre, helping visitors to moor up their boats and advising them on things to do in the local area. He said:

“I have been volunteering with the Broads Authority for five years. I’m currently assisting at Ranworth on hot sunny days and keeping the areas around Potter Heigham mown and looking good.

“I love watching the boats go by and the colours reflected in the water.”

Julie Platts, has been helping with the Generation Green Project, part of the Education Programme, to help enthuse young people to care for nature. She said:

“Volunteering makes me feel like I am making a real difference.”

Glen Shreeve has been with the Operations Technicians team for over 7 years and says that he “loves it”. He said, ‘It’s really good to volunteer with other people and it provides great exercise.

 Volunteer Peter Cannell repairing the Hoveton Boardwalk

“I never know where I’m going to be in the Broads from week to week, and I enjoy the variety of tasks. Variety is the spice of life!”

Volunteers are always supervised, appropriately trained and will never replace members of staff. They allow the Authority to deliver additional benefits above and beyond its core statutory functions.

Please note that there are currently no volunteer vacancies at the Authority, but we are hoping to put on some Volunteer Action Days later in the year or you can check out our Microvolunteering webpage for ideas of things you can do on your own

For more information see the Broads Authority website: https://www.broads-authority.gov.uk/looking-after/how-you-can-help/volunteering

Volunteers' Week is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering.

Friday 27 May 2022