Meet the volunteers at Secret World Wildlife Rescue, Somerset
PUBLISHED: 14:45 03 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:59 03 June 2019
Volunteering is a popular pastime; each month in the UK just under 12 million people give up their free time to help organisations and charities, like Secret World Wildlife Rescue
A team of volunteers at Secret World Wildlife Rescue cover a wide range of jobs at the animal charity in East Huntspill.
They give their time to help with animal care and rescue to administrative jobs, like covering reception, fundraising and helping with events.
The charity's head of volunteering, Claire Graham, says there are different reasons why people decide to volunteer, but the benefits to each individual are huge, from boosting self confidence and learning new skills to reducing stress and anxiety and meeting new people.
She says: "We are incredibly lucky to have so many people who go above and beyond for Secret World and the casualties that come through our doors, be it through caring for the animals directly or helping staff with the multitude of other tasks that contribute to the successful day to day running of the charity such as processing cash and food donations.
"Seeing volunteers who have never worked with animals before going on to rear orphaned hedgehogs or rescue a swan is fantastic."
Meet the volunteers:
Nicola and Euan Stanwix
Nicola, who retired after 30 years working in purchasing, says: "It was time to start doing what I wanted for a change and, as a life-long animal lover, I decided to get involved with a local animal charity. I started volunteering in May, during 'orphan season' and within minutes of my arrival I was cleaning out and feeding dozens of cute, fluffy ducklings. It was quite daunting but I loved it. Since then I have been fortunate enough to have hands-on experience with numerous other animals and birds. I have even had the privilege of releasing several different birds.
"Volunteering at Secret World has certainly been a varied, highly rewarding and a great learning experience. It has been fantastic to feel part of such a passionate and experienced team of people and to participate in the rehabilitation of our amazing British wildlife."
Euan also retired last year after 30 years working in procurement and supply chain.
He says: "Often away from home, quality time was becoming an increasingly scarce commodity and therefore we decided to retire early and 'give something back'.
"During last summer's heat wave we had 50-60 fox and badger cubs and over 200 herring gulls to care for, among others, so our work was challenging but in a very rewarding way. When a buzzard arrives in a poor state and four weeks later you release it, you get a real sense of satisfaction as it soars away into the distance.
"The best part of the role is undoubtedly the people with whom I work. You're working in an environment, seldom experienced in corporate life where everyone is genuinely working towards the same goal. In that respect volunteering at Secret World is certainly one of the most rewarding jobs that I've done."
"I used to visit Secret World many years ago when my children were young but only got involved personally more recently. There was always washing blowing on the lines which made me wonder what went on behind the scenes. Working in the laundry gives me a feeling of satisfaction, knowing I am helping to provide the animals with clean, comfy bedding. We wash hundreds of towels, sheets, vet beds, duvets etc and it is pleasing to see the shelves neatly filled up - if only for five minutes!
"In my response driver role I rescue or collect an assortment of injured animals so have more job satisfaction when they are 'mended' and released. I have been a volunteer for five years now and can thoroughly recommend it to anyone who loves animals and wants to help."
"I joined Secret World three years ago after retiring from a career in teaching in early years. I wanted to work with animals and combine my love of wildlife with an education element. My two roles fulfil these interests in a fun and rewarding way in which I feel I am helping to make a difference and have made some new friends at the same time.
"I help to look after the birds of prey and attend events in the community with them to talk about the work of Secret World. I also help to run a fortnightly under fives group which encourages young children to learn about wildlife through play and exploring the outdoors. I feel so privileged to be part of an amazing team of people helping to care for and preserve our wildlife, inspiring future generations to do the same."
"I am a retired teacher and I have been a response driver since September 2017. This role involves transporting sick and injured animals from veterinary surgeries or members of the public to the centre for treatment and care. I decided to get involved because I care deeply about wildlife and feel I am doing my bit to help. Effectively, I am 'on call', but there may be weeks or months between call-outs, so I do not have to commit to a particular day or time each week. The most unusual collection I made was last autumn, when I was asked to pick up a buzzard and a rabbit from the veterinary hospital in Bath. Thankfully, they were in different containers!"
If you would like to volunteer with Secret World visit secretworld.org/volunteer.