Volunteer - The Heart of England Forest



Coronavirus and volunteering

These are challenging times for us all, and we hope that you are keeping well. We are extremely disappointed that the accelerating spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has led to our volunteer sessions being temporarily suspended. I know I speak for Jonathan and the wider team when I say how much we will miss seeing you, but your welfare is our top priority and we are taking all necessary steps to keep you safe. In the meantime, we are very aware that supporting the Forest by donating your time is important to you, and contributes to both physical and mental wellbeing. We also understand that many of our volunteers fall into vulnerable groups, and that some of you may be facing the idea of a long period of self-isolation with trepidation.

Microvolunteering options

We have been busy thinking of ways that you can still help us if you would like to, and have put together a list of alternative volunteering tasks. These are different to your usual tasks, but will still make a real difference to our work. If you are self-isolating then hopefully these activities will help you pass the time. We are delighted that our regular volunteers are the very people able to test out our new area of microvolunteering, and give us feedback on what works well, and where we can improve engagement with volunteers who may not be able to come to the Forest.

We know that people are more likely to volunteer if they can do so in chunks of time which are convenient to them. Microvolunteering offers a menu of tasks which can be done any time, any place, anywhere. The only requirements are that volunteers don’t need to go through an application process and don’t need to commit to regular times, or for the long term. Across all charities, the majority of microvolunteering takes place online, but this doesn’t need to be the case. Examples could include writing an article on the Forest’s biodiversity, putting together a series of posts for our social media channels, or doing some internet research to support our outdoor learning programmes. We really look forward to your feedback, and hearing about other ideas you have for supporting the Forest during these unprecedented times.

For more information about microvolunteering email volunteer@hoef.co.uk 

Taking care of your mental health

Looking after our mental health and wellbeing is extremely important at the moment. There is a vast amount of open space in the Forest, enabling you to observe social distancing but still get outside, so we would encourage you to continue to visit if you are able. The woodlands are a great place to clear the mind, get away from it all and keep fit and healthy. There are 1500 acres of public and permissive footpaths at Dorsington alone – perfect for rambles of all lengths without bumping into people! And if you can’t get out, then we are bringing the Forest to you via our social media channels – follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to get your Forest fix.

Thank you so much for all that you do for us. We are in a very fortunate position that because you were able to plant 22,956 trees this season across our 132 acres of Forest mosaic at Newnham, we will achieve our tree planting targets by the end of the season, in spite of coronavirus.

Stay safe, and we look forward to seeing you very soon.

Beth Brook
Chief Executive, The Heart of England Forest

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